New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

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maverick
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by maverick » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:47 pm

Here it is:
Dear Yosemite Hiking Community,

I wanted to take this opportunity to share information with you about the John Muir
Trail (JMT) within Yosemite National Park. Over the last several years, Yosemite
National Park has seen a significant increase in demand for permits to hike the JMT.
During that time, there also has been an increase in the number of impacts related
to JMT hikers along the trail corridor. Last summer, for example, there were 31
reported bear incidents in the Yosemite Wilderness; 30 of which occurred along the
JMT. In addition, popular backcountry camps have seen a sharp increase in overnight
users which is affecting the quality of the visitor experience. The increased demand
for JMT permits has also lead to some hikers skirting the traditional permit system,
which has made it more difficult for non-JMT hikers to obtain wilderness permits for
other trails within Yosemite National Park.

The National Park Service is working with its neighboring agencies to develop an
interim solution that will protect natural resources, provide for a quality visitor
experience, and maintain hiking access throughout Yosemite—including the JMT.
Implementation of an interim solution will be communicated to the public and
the hiking community.

The National Park Service will continue to work with social media sites to ensure
current, accurate, and up to date information is shared. We look forward to a
solution that enables access and protects the park resources that attract JMT hikers.

Finally, I would like to apologize for any confusing or mis-information that has
reached the Yosemite (John Muir) hiking community. I understand and appreciate
your support for Yosemite’s Wilderness and invite you help us protect its truly
unique qualities.

Sincerely,

Ed Dunlavey
Wilderness Manager, Yosemite National Park


Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org






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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by SoCalCPA » Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:41 pm

30 of 31 incidences? - I'm a little skeptical that this was caused by JMT traffic - How many of the incidences were in Little Yosemite Valley? How many at Sunrise High Sierra Camp or Tuolumne? - Not to criticize because the hiking traffic in Yosemite is really off the hook but my experience with hikers that were doing long distances on the JMT has been that they were pretty savvy with the rules with bears - as I am too - I have to wonder if those incidences were from hikers that were not through-hikers.

Maybe special preference can be given to those that are hiking larger portions of the JMT regarding permits which probably only makes up a small percentage of the overall permits given out in Yosemite

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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Saltydog » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:38 pm

I spoke with Ed Dunlavey today and received the same message Mav did. I was hoping the communication would include the express reassurance that the rules have not changed and that permits will be issued on the basis of the present rules as stated in all of Yos Wilderness Office docs. In the absence of the express statement, however, I take Ed's communications to mean just that. I am also a a little disappointed that this does not include a commitment to put any interim changes out for public comment before implementation, but there may be sufficient private consultation and information gathering to serve the same purpose.

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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by maverick » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:42 pm

My conversation with Inyo yesterday ended with, if Yosemite plans any changes that
would effect Inyo in any way, they would request these changes to be implemented in
2016 so Inyo could make their own adjustments, in other words, this whole thing may not
happen till 2016 Salty, but we will see what comes out of this meeting between the two
in the next several days.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Hobbes » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:48 pm

JWreno wrote:It is very easy to get a northbound permit out of Horseshoe meadows (Cottonwood Pass) and you can pick up the permit at the Mono Lake visitors center instead of dealing with Yosemite. I got my Cottonwood entry pass reservations within 2 weeks of departure, vs. the 24 weeks out of Happy Isles.
Entering from a low use/high quota TH is the key to any popular trail, whether it's the JMT, Whitney, etc. I never bother with reservations, knowing I can always get a walk-in entry permit. I hate the idea of planning, and prefer to get out based on conditions, desire, etc.

CW pass is a slam dunk; if all else fails, you can try Trail, which doesn't even have a quota. Once you've got a legit entry pass in hand, you're pretty free to go to whatever exit suits your fancy. Sure, you have to have a designated exit at the time of receiving the permit, but sometimes sh!t happens on the trail requiring, shall we say, a different exit plan.

As long as it's a logically continuous part of the trail/route where you haven't obviously jumped, then it's all good. For example, what do you think the demand is for CW pass to Sonora pass? Who's to know that you left the trail @ Tuolumne?

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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Saltydog » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:27 pm

Actually, SoCal, exactly the opposite is under consideration. One of the proposed rules is to limit to 30 per day permits stating an exit trailhead south of Red's, while imposing no quota on permits with exit trailheads up to Red's. How that is supposed to ease use of the most heavily travelled portions of the trail escapes me entirely.

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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:01 pm

I would not object to some more limits on the JMT. I do not feel it matters if you are on the JMT as a thru-hike or as part of any other hike. Hikers, regardless of the reason they are there, make the trail terribly crowded. There are so many great trails in the Sierra, no need for everyone bunching up on the JMT. I feel the same about bear cans and the JMT or PCT hikers. Same rules for everyone. You should not get a free pass just because you are on a thru-hike. Last year I also saw a ton of illegal camping along the JMT. Where are the rangers when they are needed?

One thing I think is needed, is a permit and limit for day hiking on the JMT, at least on its more popular section. It is becoming popular with trail runners, who usually do not get permits because they can cover 20-30 miles easily in a day, yet they impact the trail and the wilderness experience, just like any other backpacker.

I also think a dog should be counted as a person for permit purposes. (Hey, my dog thinks she is a person!). We even had to get a 3-"man" tent to handle the dog.

The authorities need to send out some college researchers - get some real "on trail" data to see exactly how many hikers there are and exactly how they become dispersed as they progress down the trail. I hate to see regulations imposed base on hear-say. In fact my own opinions may be way off- perhaps I just have been on the JMT at unusually busy times.

Although I agree that some limits need to be imposed, I would like to see proposed regulations made public for comments. I am not against regulations per se, just would like to see regulations that clearly address a real verified problem.

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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Saltydog » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:29 pm

My latest information, direct from the YOS Wilderness Manager, is that they do NOT intend to wait until 2016 for interim measures, that a draft will be submitted to the Superintendent on Monday, and that NOW is the only opportunity to weigh in on the proposed interime changes: limiting JMT access to HI and Tuolumne trailheads and limiting permits with any exit Th south of Red's to 30 per day.

Please participate in this survey By John Ladd. Yos is receiving comments on this issue only until Monday, and has no plans to make any proposed rule changes public until after it has enacted them. Let us know what you think of this procedure.

Link is here
Coment Period Poll http://bit.ly/JMTCmtPeriod" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Steve_C » Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:51 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:I would not object to some more limits on the JMT. ... Hikers, regardless of the reason they are there, make the trail terribly crowded....
One thing I think is needed, is a permit and limit for day hiking on the JMT... they impact the trail and the wilderness experience, just like any other backpacker.
...In fact my own opinions may be way off- perhaps I just have been on the JMT at unusually busy times.
THIS ^^^ type of attitude makes me just want to scream in anguish! Hikers asking for other hikers to be banned.

Two points:
1. All you need to do to find "wilderness" is walk ten minutes at a right angle to the trail. The wilderness act does NOT require wilderness managers to guarantee any sort of "wilderness experience" to anyone walking down a popular trail. I feel it is wrong to think otherwise. The wilderness act only requires the opportunity for solitude. Those opportunities are there!!

2. Hikers spend hundreds (some thousands) of dollars on hiking gear and transportation. There should be an appropriate fee charged to hikers to enable hiring enough rangers to patrol and enforce the LNT rules. Doing that, rather than limiting numbers further, would go a long way protecting the wilderness.

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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:08 pm

Hikers deserve a wilderness experience. The fact is that the JMT is in the wilderness. It is NOT in a "recreational area". At some point, too many hikers damage the very environment we go in the mountains to enjoy. As a "hiker", I agree with limitations, including limits that would restrict myself. Limits on the JMT do not mean limits on hiking - it just spreads out the use to other trails and trailheads that get less use.

The NP does not restrict hikers just for the sake of restricting people from enjoying the wilderness - they do it because they see damage and particularly are looking ahead to future damage. I am perfectly willing for "delayed gratification" and would rather wait a few years to get a JMT permit than get a permit any time I wish to go and end up seeing 50-100 people a day.

We backpackers do not have the "right" to unlimited access simply because we spend hundreds of dollars on equipment. This "entitlement" attitude, to me, is a problem.

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