New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
Post Reply
User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by CharlieW » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:28 pm

Assuming things happen as stated, what do folks think will be the actual effect on JMT traffic this year? Less total traffic once once past Tuolumne? Same traffic with more section hikers?

[Edit: deleted earlier post based on misunderstanding.] So if I understand correctly, the 30 slots are for each entry date. The new rules just formally define a "thru-hike" (i.e., going past Reds) and put a limit on that. Do we know how many of that 30 are from 24-week advance reservation and how many are walk up?








User avatar
Saltydog
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:47 am
Experience: N/A

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Saltydog » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:22 pm

The new rule would not expressly define a through-hike. It would eliminate Glacier Point and possibly other TH permits from access to the JMT and would put a cap of 30 per day on permits stating an exit TH south of Red's. No such limit on hikes ending at or before Red's. This is according to a reliable report of a conversation with a Wilderness ranger. No one outside Yos admin has actually seen the draft rule nor does the WO apparently plan to release the exact language of the rule before it is implemented.

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4986
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:27 pm

I can see that on longer trips, whether PCT, JMT, or whatever, it is more difficult to predict hiker locations as time goes on. The potential for "bunch-ups" is higher. Particularly if hikers slow down, which may happen quite often. Subsequent entering hikers then can catch up. Very similar to a highway congestion problem. Too many permits from "feeder" trails to the JMT can also cause crowding. Whatever the reason, I personally have witnessed this bunch-up effect on the JMT, and more so recently than 10-15 years ago. I can sympathize with the park service. Seems like something has to be done. The Whitney zone hit this point long ago. Sad to see that Yosemite is facing the same.

User avatar
Steve_C
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:13 am
Experience: N/A
Location: Fresno
Contact:

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Steve_C » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:43 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:
> Hikers deserve a wilderness experience
While hiking on the most popular trail in the Sierra? You've got to be joking!

LEAVE the JMT, and go find that wilderness. It's out there, and people shouldn't be trying to limit other's access to the trail. Hike off trail. Take a little-used trail. There are plenty of opportunities for solitude, without clamoring for more restrictions.

> 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.

How does asking that Yos NOT reduce quotas equate to "unlimited access" or "entitlement" attitude??? The two ideas are miles and miles apart. Please stop asking for more restrictions. Nobody is asking for fewer.

User avatar
Saltydog
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:47 am
Experience: N/A

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Saltydog » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:42 am

A large part of the problem with the proposed rules is that they are not very carefully thought out to accomplish the goal of relieving pressure on the JMT. The Glacier Point restriction would eliminate hikers, like me, who want to avoid an entire stretch from HI at least to the Evelyn Lake junction. My total mileage on the JMT would be about 7 mi out of about 40, and I would not camp along the JMT in Yosemite at all. Most JMT through hikers I know who have already done HI to Donohue feel the same: never again. So the GP ban would eliminate one group least likely to contribute to the impacts that are prompting the rule. The exit Th quota is even worse in this regard. In cutting down on through-hikers departing from Yos, they are reducing the group most motivated to spend the least amount of time in the Park, and who are most experienced and motivated to avoid the high impact areas, and encouraging such things as more overnight trips just to LYV to do Half Dome, and similar short stretches in and out of Tuolumne. Further I do not believe that YOS has any business at all regulating its own access based on exit trailheads outside the Park. Sure rules directed to the impacts themselves, such as restricted camping areas, fine. But these indirect regulations are way overbroad and affect benign and benefical activity as much or more than the impacts they purport to address.

User avatar
cloudlesssky
Topix Regular
Posts: 163
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 4:19 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by cloudlesssky » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:21 am

It's really hard for me to believe that JMT through hikers contribute significantly to the problem being addressed. I've done the JMT in peak season and also frequently traveled subsections while on shorter outings. Anecdotally, the vast majority of the people I've encountered on the trail are NOT doing a through hike. And the places I've seen with the most impact (anywhere inside yosemite, thousand Island lake, woods creek crossing, charlotte lake, whitney zone) are (not surprisingly) located close to access trailheads or on other popular loop routes.

It seems that the "problem" needs to be clearly stated and then the proposed solution needs to be validated as addressing the problem. As someone noted, this would make a great research activity for some grad students. Heck I wonder how many people take a permit and actually complete the entire through hike. I've met quite a few who exited early and some who were back on the trail trying to finish the section they previously missed. I wonder how this factors into the thinking.

I wonder how this is going to affect my planned Tahoe to Mammoth trip this summer. Maybe not at all since I'll be exiting at Reds?

User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by CharlieW » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:24 am

I can't decide if I'm in favor or opposed to this. Looks like it may be a done deal anyway, although those opposed should at minimum participate in the poll linked by Saltydog above: http://bit.ly/JMTCmtPeriod" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. Some random thoughts:

1. What percentage of "Yosemite JMT corridor" campers are actually thru hikers? Does anyone really know or have a guess? It's a bit weird to target thru-hikers specifically if they are a minority of campers in the "JMT corridor" area.

2. But are they minority? Are there so many thru-hikers (or wannabe thru-hikers) that they are swamping the permit system and preventing overnight backpackers? If so, it's a multiuse issue rather than impact issue ... which is contrary to Ed Dunlavey correspondence above, but I still wonder if it is a factor in the rule. It shouldn't be impossible for Dad and Son (or let's say Mom and Daughter, wish it were true) to overnight backpack to LYV simply because 1000000 people saw Wild and then Mile… Mile & A Half (not to mention YouTube videos of JMT being used as a jogging trail) and want to do JMT thru hike. [My apologies to self-help and fastpacker aficionados ;-) ]

3. Following up on point #2, I wonder if they are worried (or have some idea from early permitting) that there will simply be too many JMT hopefuls this year due to movies and such. Folks that are serious will keep trying from year to year and be happy enough to do JMT to Red's or non-JMT trip if they lose the permit lottery this year. Those that simply give up and don't go backpacking were probably better weeded out at this step rather than clogging LYV and HSC.

4. The rule isn't targeted at Saltydog or unusual itineraries. It is targeted at the mass of hikers. I'm not trying to take away from the fact that it will have undesirable collateral effect.

5. It seems to me that the rule does provide a reasonable (if approximate) working definition of southbound JMT thru hiker (that is, anyone starting in Yosemite and hiking past Red's). And it targets and limits that class of hiker. Experienced backpackers that are not doing "JMT thru hike" avoid JMT (or at least I think so). I happen to want to do iconic JMT this year, but if I am unsuccessful in permit lottery then I will still backpack somewhere but not on JMT. My train of logic here is that: a) the rule will reduce traffic on JMT and b) if I should be so lucky as to win the permit lottery this year, I will have a more enjoyable experience.

6. The poll requesting a 3-week comment period is, in effect, asking for the rule not to be implemented in 2014, since the 24-week advance permits are just getting going right now. (Just saying... From a "fairness" point of view it really shouldn't be implemented in 2014.)

User avatar
Saltydog
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:47 am
Experience: N/A

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Saltydog » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:18 am

Remember: Answering the poll is NOT a substitute for getting comments in today or early tomorrow. There is only a small likelihood that any comment period will be opened up, meaning that the decision will be made entirely on the record of what is received now.

SUbmit comments to:

Don L Neubacher
Office of the Superintendent
Yosemite National Park
209-372-0496
YOSE_Superintendent@nps.gov

Kevin Killian
Chief Ranger
Yosemite National Park
209.372.0211(O)
209.631.7748 (C)

"Kevin Killian" <kevin_killian@nps.gov>
"Mike Gauthier" <mike_gauthier@nps.gov>

Ed Dunlavey
Wilderness Manager
Yosemite National Park
W-209-372-0501
C-209-201-7846
<Ed_Dunlavey@nps.gov>

User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Posts: 2407
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Mammoth Lakes and Tuolumne Meadows

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by markskor » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:03 am

Sent today -
Sir,
As someone who has done the MUIR numerous times, I agree something must be done to curtail the explosion of hikers doing the trail SOBO, starting from YNP...quite the zoo!.
However, some outside discussion (being transparent) is warranted before making up any new set of rules.
Suggest a public comment period - 1 month? - so we can see what is actually planned and give many the chance to respond before anything is done...PLEASE?
Thanks...
Mark Papanek
aka markskor, admin HighSierraTopix.com
Mountainman who swims with trout

User avatar
Saltydog
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:47 am
Experience: N/A

Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Post by Saltydog » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:43 am

Marskor, cloudlesssky, others, great comments. Please get them in to the addresses Ihave posted today. Just cut n paste to email and send.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Harrison, KTH, stephen_sd and 14 guests