Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

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Lumbergh21
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Re: Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

Post by Lumbergh21 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:26 pm

michaelzim wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:00 pm
What we need (and quickly) is a step by step outline of how to alleviate over-booked permits and get a handle on the “wasted” No Shows. I know some suggestions have been made, like hefty deposits, but unless there is a “physical appearance” or signature required at a ranger station going in, I still don’t see how anyone knows if overbooked permits are used or not. Am I missing something???

Best ~ Michaelzim
I don't remember who it was, but someone had a great suggestion for how to demonstrate that you actually showed up for your hike, you drop off a copy of your permit (or some sort of reciept) at a ranger station in the forest that you are starting at, e.g. the Bishop office of the Inyo NF. This will be no more of a hassle or delay than when you hike trails without quotas and drop of your permit with itinerary at a ranger station. Somebody suggested a $1,000 fine for no shows, which is exessive in my mind, but $100 sounds reasonable to me. All you need to do to avoid the fine if you can't make it is cancel at least 24 hours in advance, kind of like a hotel reservation.








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Re: Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:56 pm

I really prefer to be legal with permits and will try to work with whatever system is put in place. But with the few backpacking years I have left, and it being unlikely I could ever compete with 20-something's fast fingers on getting reservations, if the current suggestions hold, I am going to backpack regardless. It is 100% likely a quota spot is available as a no-show reserved spot.

Why is the FS not required to have public meeting(s) regarding this change?

If it is really a COVID thing, then this summer would at most be the last season it would apply, and should actually be COVID safe for those who have vaccinations, plus wear masks and distance in the process of picking up permits. My goodness, not difficult - hundreds of other businesses do this every day.

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Re: Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

Post by maverick » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:28 pm

My goodness, not difficult - hundreds of other businesses do this every day.
Exactly, no excuse.
We do it at our school, they been doing at hospitals, retirement homes, grocery stores, and many others companies that were deemed essential have continued on during the pandemic.
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Re: Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:01 am

I just looked through the comments regarding this on the Whitney Portal website and interestingly, they had more comments against the old walk-up system than for it. It occurred to me that there really are two types of walk-up permits- the 40% set aside from the reserve permits AND the no-show/same day permits. I do understand some objection with 40% set aside, perhaps this could be dropped to 25%.

The difficult issue is "no-shows". You have to be able to physically count those who actually use their permit- and the "old" system did pretty good job because you had to actually show up and get the permit, an inconvenient for some, perfect for others. Small dollar incentives to cancel permits are not likely to work. No-show permits, because they are same-day, are simply a very good way to utilize permits that would otherwise not be used. I cannot see how anyone would object to that!

It reminds me of the COVID vaccine situation right now. Limited supply, high demand and a "product" that HAS to be used in a set time frame. The end-of-day no-shows or extra doses of the COVID vaccine were at first thrown out. Providers came to their senses, and these were allowed to be given on a first-come basis. AND there was the shutting out of those who are not internet savvy; phone appointments did not work due to overload. Those who were quick with fingers (believe me, the application was a lengthy document) got appointments, that were quickly gone. A really stupid system that was supposed to target those over 70, the exact demographic with slow fingers!

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Re: Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

Post by michaelzim » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:11 am

@Lumbergh21

This is a good idea! I agree that $1,000 is excessive but even $50 could work.
Can you send this suggestion to Sierra NF??? Alex Olow is the PR guy at Clovis. Here is his email address: alexander.olow@usda.gov
Lumbergh21 wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:26 pm
I don't remember who it was, but someone had a great suggestion for how to demonstrate that you actually showed up for your hike, you drop off a copy of your permit (or some sort of reciept) at a ranger station in the forest that you are starting at, e.g. the Bishop office of the Inyo NF. This will be no more of a hassle or delay than when you hike trails without quotas and drop of your permit with itinerary at a ranger station. Somebody suggested a $1,000 fine for no shows, which is exessive in my mind, but $100 sounds reasonable to me. All you need to do to avoid the fine if you can't make it is cancel at least 24 hours in advance, kind of like a hotel reservation.
Best ~ Michaelzim

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Re: Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

Post by Snowtrout » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:32 am

My wife and I signed the petition.

Question that keeps popping up is what happens to the reserved permits that are never used. Seems that the walkups get screwed on this.

An idea: 2-3 days before the permit is to be valid, the person who reserved the permit must call the FS to confirm the permit. Then the FS will release the permit in an email. If no contact is made with the FS within 24 hours of the permit date, the permit is cancelled and those spots are made available for walk ins.

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Re: Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:08 pm

There are two kinds of "no-shows", not doing the trip at all and doing the trip, but with less participants. Solo permits are all of the first kind and perhaps financial incentive would work. For group drop-outs financial incentive are likely too little to work because you still keep the permit. I do not know if I just have flaky friends, but I ALWAYS had people who were gung-ho at permit reservation time, then bailed out, some just never showing up at the trailhead.

How to count actual bodies entering the trailhead? FS is not going to have someone full time sitting at the trailhead checking permits. And in reality trailhead quotas are pretty stupid- no taking into account where the person(s) are going or how fast. Multiple day's permit quota people can clog in one spot or on one trail. I will say that the Desolation Wilderness system's daily quotas per sub-area take this into account, but really puts restrictions on your trip. It is appropriate because Desolation is so small and so heavily used, but makes little sense in larger areas.

The easiest method I can see is to keep the walk-up allocation, assume the reserved permits are over allocated, exaggerate the total quota number a bit, and in the end you likely get the desired quota. And what does it really matter if a few extra people are let in? Otherwise you have to use overly complicated intrusive tracking of backpackers, or turn your head at discriminatory access and underutilization. I am a fan of KISS- keep it simple, stupid. Perhaps an education campaign also to encourage us to be more responsible, altruistic; less greedy, lazy.

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Re: Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

Post by rlown » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:20 pm

Pretty sure we aren't the irresponsible people here. If masks work so well and walmart, target and Safeway is open, the NFS should buck up and we wear the masks on check-in. Rec.gov only enables those that have internet. Some do not. I almost get that some of the NFS just don't want to work. Sure they could backfill those positions fairly quickly.

I'm so done with this because of fear.

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Re: Petition To Change Back To Pre-Covid Walk-in Permit System

Post by maverick » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:42 pm

I just looked through the comments regarding this on the Whitney Portal website and interestingly, they had more comments against the old walk-up system than for it.
The few that did make comments on that thread, only Bob was making noise against it vehemently, and that's only because the new system suits his needs, forget about the rest of us who it doesn't, real sympathetic stance.

Again, those who don't want to go back to the pre-covid system, have never made any noise about being dissatisfied with the pre-covid system in-place, there was no outrage. How would they feel if all the permits were changed to in-person, without any questions or input, shutting them out from being able to reserve on-line, which they have been relying on for decades?

NF and NF need to do a better job in communicating their ideas, get input from their customers, especially when in impacts a large amount of their tax paying customers!
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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.

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Update 2/23

Post by maverick » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:56 pm

Called the Pacific Southwest Foresters Office back today, to inquire about why they have not called back yet. Received a call back not to long after. Had a conversation with the Director of Public Services for Forester Randy Moore, a Jim Bacon. Explained our side of this issue, he said they have meetings with all the decision makers on Wednesdays, at which time he will present our concerns to them, and see if they can come up with a solution of all parties, and then get back to me. Covid seems to be their main concern.
Will keep you updated.
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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