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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Mon May 18, 2020 1:05 pm
by LMBSGV
What bothered me about being forced to get the permit in person was that it created unnecessary restrictions on timing. You have to pick it up by 10am for the day of I believe.

I'd like to be able to leave work at 3, get to the trailhead at 6:30, and hike in 3-4 miles for my first day, at least as an option.
Many times I've phoned the day before and requested a late pick-up.The only time there was a problem was when I requested a night-box pick-up in Mammoth and they forgot to leave it. Fortunately, a ranger was still there doing paperwork and she gave me a permit to fill out.

Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Mon May 18, 2020 7:35 pm
by Lumbergh21
SSSdave wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 12:22 pm
National Forest areas skipping the in person interview will probably adopt the process used for Desolation the last 3 years that allows submitting and then printing out a permit from a then sent email link in a day or two. That also provides the same information online as is presented by an in person interview.

That in person paper permit process is in any case somewhat ineffective because of one serious flaw. With groups, only one person goes in for the sermon but then the majority of those leaders never go over what was presented to the rest of a group. In fact among acquaintances that backpack together, there is a tendency for the same people to always get a permit so many people end up over years being seriously detached from reading policies. Thus a key reason why there is a lack of adherence to policies that IMO is increasing given our current culture.

Could easily be fixed by using the same online simple testing as is done for California annual fire permits where a short video is shown then a simple few general questions of a varying multiple choice test, and if failing a person has to view the video again and repeat taking the test, as long as that takes. If they pass, a permit is issued that needs to be printed out, signed, and brought with them on the trip. Such paper permits have policies on them so all adult backpackers have something to rely on versus the one buried down somewhere in Bob's pack. Another advantage is this would reduce the need for the in person sermon that might be replaced with a PC station in ranger stations that walk-ups would need to use. For the frequent backpacker, they might just need to take such a test once or twice a summer season as their name would in the system while trail specific information would just be within a hand out.

The other key part of improving permitting would be to have NF personnel randomly visit trailheads where at appropriate choke points a short distance up from trailheads, they actually check people for having the permits. Since people would know they might have to pull the permit out, they would have it ready at hand after leaving trailheads and those numbers that never bother with permits would be faced with the same reality we had decades ago when that was common.
This appears to be ideal to me in terms of ease of use, use of man power, and improving compliance with the regulations, which is probably why it will never happen.

Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Mon May 18, 2020 10:53 pm
by wildhiker
I'm definitely a fan of the Desolation Wilderness permits that you can print yourself at home. Then you can go straight to the trailhead at the time you like.
-Phil

Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Tue May 19, 2020 8:29 am
by dougfish
Well, I picked a helluva year for my first trip to the Eastern Sierra. We are planning a 2 man trip in SEKI, but entering over New Army Pass. Of course the Cottonwood Lakes permits got snapped up. I can get a wilderness permit. How dicey is it to enter/exit without an Inyo permit?

Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Tue May 19, 2020 4:02 pm
by tahoe23
I received this response (via Facebook messenger) when I asked the US Forest Service-INYO about walk-in permits for this summer.

"We are working on a plan with some software changes that will allow us to issue permits with a phone call check in to avoid people congregating in large lines at our visitor centers. Hopefully we will have the details of how this will actually work soon. We hope to resume issuing permits for backpacking trips in early June. This will include the traditonal walk in permits.
Thank you for your patience while we all work through this issue."

Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 2:26 am
by CarlRaillard
tahoe23 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 4:02 pm
I received this response (via Facebook messenger) when I asked the US Forest Service-INYO about walk-in permits for this summer.

"We are working on a plan with some software changes that will allow us to issue permits with a phone call check in to avoid people congregating in large lines at our visitor centers. Hopefully we will have the details of how this will actually work soon. We hope to resume issuing permits for backpacking trips in early June. This will include the traditonal walk in permits.
Thank you for your patience while we all work through this issue."
Hooray! Encouraging news! The Inyo Forest has always struck me as unusually responsive; they seem to understand WHY the American people have gone through the rigamarole of designating federal wilderness areas.

The thought: "That landmass looks so alluring; what lies on the other side of that hill?" is a very human impulse. We can be gripped by a need for freedom. People have waxed poetic about this matter. (e.g. Something lost, behind the ranges; or The mountains are calling, and I must go.)

I'm another backpacker who prefers using walk-in permits. Wanderlust is better served by a walk-in permit. If a trail is so busy that I need a reservation, I'm better off making bootprints elsewhere, I figger. Of course other users, such as those who live out of state, and who must travel hundreds of miles to reach the Sierra, they need to have a guarantee in hand, so that they can proceed with confidence. Dividing the quota 50/50 seems fair.

SEKI park's interim solution does not impress me. They've lost a few points with me, I'm afraid.

I shall continue to respect our men in uniform ... especially the fine people wearing the Inyo National Forest uniform, and the delivery guys wearing the UPS uniform.

Sincerely,
Carl Raillard

Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 11:18 pm
by rgliebe
For those interested in Yosemite, there is a draft plan circulating right now that has not been finalized. This plan would open the park to day use only and reduce the maximum number of cars allowed into the park by at least 50%. The concessionaire would not open any facilities, but some NPS staffed facilities might be opened. This means no bus service anywhere in the park except for YARTS. YARTS will post a new schedule on their web site if this plan is implemented. Bathrooms might or might not be opened, although I can’t see them stopping anyone from using the pit toilets along the roads very easily.

Since there is no overnight parking or camping under this plan, it would leave backpackers with two choices to get to a trailhead in Yosemite: dropoff/pickup by car or dropoff/pickup by YARTS if the trailhead is on a major highway. There is no estimated date yet for starting this on an experimental basis, but it is estimated that Tioga Pass will be ready to open by mid June.

The current situation in the forests around Yosemite is that no one is supposed to issue permits to take a backpacking trip into Yosemite, since the park is closed presently to everyone except residents and some essential NPS personnel. Anyone caught backpacking in Yosemite right now will be fined.

As to the forests, they have been overrun on weekends during the shutdown by people primarily from the LA area and Bay Area, many of whom do not follow the proper procedures for waste management that backpackers do. Because all the facilities have been closed, many of them pooped all over the place and dropped their trash, creating a mess in some popular areas that looks a lot like the streets of SF or LA. The forests are hoping to open some of their campgrounds and offices this summer, but there are no firm plans yet. Most of what will happen and when it happens hinges on what the state governor allows. He has been receiving reports from each jurisdiction almost daily and is fully aware of what is happening.

Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 8:26 am
by c9h13no3
rgliebe wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 11:18 pm
been overrun on weekends during the shutdown by people primarily from the LA area and Bay Area, many of whom do not follow the proper procedures for waste management that backpackers do
They're all wearing their home address stapled to their foreheads?

Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 9:33 am
by gary c.
Lots of campgrounds will be opening in Sequoia NF this week. They have implemented restrictions to dispersed camping and fire closures.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sequoia/ ... EPRD539396

I read from a reliable source that Kennedy Meadows (south) campground and the Fish Creek campground will be open today but that the Troy Meadows CG will not be ready in time for the weekend. I guess that is going to be a factor as to whether the FS has had time to prep the campgrounds for opening.

Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Posted: Fri May 22, 2020 6:54 am
by rightstar76
Took a bit of time researching the home and forest alert pages to figure this one out. For Eastern Sierra, most Inyo NF campsites are still closed. It's unclear whether Kennedy Meadows (south) and Fish Creek campsites are open. Sequoia NF which administers the portion of Inyo NF in Kennedy Meadows area does not list Kennedy Meadows (south) and Fish Creek campsites on the forest alert closure list. But it shows them closed on the forest campsite web pages. As for the rest of Sequoia NF, most campsites remain closed: Forest Orders No. 20-10, 20-11, and 20-12. Trailheads and hiking trails are open, but wilderness permits are currently not being issued.