At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

DuPont considers entry fees

Visitors to DuPont State Recreation Forest could have to pay an entrance fee in the future following Gov. Roy Cooper’s ratification of Senate Bill 390. 

The bill, which passed both houses unanimously and was signed on June 12, directs the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to study the forest’s finances and operating model and to plan for “a sustainable income stream that will help preserve and protect the Forest.” 

An entry fee is to be part of that plan, the bill states. Such a fee must favor North Carolina residents and require out-of-state visitors to pay for the forest’s sustainable operation. The plan must include a financial model based on data from other models, both inside and outside the state; a list of capital projects and operational changes needed to improve the safety of park visitors who now park on the road; and a recommendation for legislative action to ensure that entry fee proceeds are used only for the forest’s capital, maintenance and operational needs. 

The law requires the department to report its findings and recommendations to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources and the Fiscal Research Division on or before Aug. 1, 2021.

Receive our FREE Friday Xtra newsletter

Go to top