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HST Permit vs fines

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HST Permit vs fines

Postby expertnovice » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:48 am

Good morning all,

I am curious as to what fines someone may incur if they were caught out on the HST without a permit. [-X Obviously that is not my plan, but this year I don't have the luxury of submitting secondary & tertiary date choices. The vast majority of my time is spent in the NF to the South (where rangers and permit checks are mythical concepts) but each time I have forayed into the NP, I have been checked for a canister and permit.

So, what are the repercussions of being caught without a permit? Is there a fine and if so, is it comparable (doubtful I know) in price to what one pays for a permit to begin with?

I have already had to postpone my HST hike once, and would hate to have to do it again because of my stringent availability of dates. Any help is appreciated.



//Nick



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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:58 am

You could be escorted off the trail by a ranger. Happened to a friend of mine before. Three days of hiking with a ranger - not fun - and handed a fine and instructions to the leave the park. The fine for Yosemite is $75 - the fine for SEKI is probably comparable - and the rangers probably know that it isn't much of a deterrent, but I have seen it happen on a number of occasions that the hikers get escorted out without delay, for that or for having a dog. It's up to the ranger you run into, really.

Get the permit. Walks ins work. I would depart from Wolverton anyway - I have never failed to get a permit for the Alta trail.
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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby cslaght » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:15 am

Are you coming from the East of the West? If it's the west, there shouldn't be much of a problem getting a permit, especially with the date opening March 1st (If I recall). From Whitney Portal however, that will be MUCH more difficult and heavily enforced. Like AT's comment, leaving from Wolverton on the Alta Trail then dropping at the cutoff just south of Mehrten Meadow works very well. Of what I remember, there's a pretty generous quota (compared to other TH in Seki) for the HST.
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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:57 pm

The fine for Yosemite is $75 - the fine for SEKI is probably comparable - and the rangers probably know that it isn't much of a deterrent, but I have seen it happen on a number of occasions that the hikers get escorted out without delay, for that or for having a dog. It's up to the ranger you run into, really.


Thought it was a 6 months jail and/or $5000 fine, of course this is up the discretion of the ranger, has this changed?
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:59 pm

you're thinking of the fine for not having your food in an approved bear canister.


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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:47 pm

Spoke to the Law office in Yosemite, the fine for going into the backcountry without a permit or bear canister is $250, but this amount is up to the discretion of the ranger. There are 3 possibilities that can occur, Forfeiture of Collateral, Forfeiture of Collateral Schedule, and Excluded Offenses, the max fine a judge can give someone in these cases is 6 months and/or $5000 fine.

More info here if your enjoy reading the legalese: http://www.caed.uscourts.gov/caednew/in ... -schedule/ and then lick on: Collateral Forfeiture Schedule (General Order No. 543) Effective April 4, 2014 link.

PS Welcome to HST Nick!
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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: HST Permit vs fines

Postby rlown » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:56 pm

Sent a message as well to Yose and got this back today, much in line with what Mav got back:

Hello,
Legally, you're subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail. A ranger will also require you to end your backpacking trip early.

You can find information about how to get a wilderness permit at http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm. It's not that hard to do for most trailheads.

Jeffrey


National Park Service
Yosemite National Park
http://www.nps.gov/yose/



Just get the permit!! I've had friends who showed up without one escorted out by a ranger on horseback. (Glen Aulin)

Russ
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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby oldranger » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:56 pm

Spoke to the Law office in Yosemite, the fine for going into the backcountry without a permit or bear canister is $250, but this amount is up to the discretion of the ranger.


The amount is not up to the ranger. There is a fixed bail schedule, which you can choose to forfeit instead of going before a magistrate. Just like when you get a speeding ticket. The ranger's discretion is whether or not to write a citation and what that citation should be for. But the ranger cannot fill in a bail amount.

Mike
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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby Hobbes » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:19 am

I guess I'm missing something, but what's the big deal about getting a permit? First of all, a certain % is held back for walk-ins: 40% for Inyo and 25% for SEKI. Secondly, the key is getting in, not out, so why not find a TH with an available permit? So what if it costs you an extra day (just walk faster)?

This is what's going on with the four THs out of Horseshoe (Trail, Cottonwood, NAP & OAP) for people who want to do the JMT. It adds an extra day or so+, but it's practically a 100% guaranteed dunk shot you can walk-in and get a permit any day of the week.

To add extra emphasis to the odds of scoring a walk-in permit, even for Whitney, Steve C over at the WhitneyZone posts annual permit statistics. I think last year only one day had zero permit availability. Every day during the summer, there has been at least 1 permit available due to cancellation or misc; many times double digits - for Whitney.
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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:33 am

Unless I have a compelling reason to do so, I rarely reserve any more. Holiday weekends can be a reason to reserve. So can small quotas. But there are numerous ways to get to the HST -- going over from Mineral King is a crazy scenic route, as compared to wandering in trees for miles after the views of the first few miles from Crescent Meadow. Going in from Lodgepole over Silliman and across the Tablelands to Lightning Pass then descending to the Elizabeth Pass trail, and gradually to the junction down there at the Kaweah from which you ascend to Hamilton --- WOW. Lots of gain and loss, but SO MUCH ALPINE AWESOME.

There really is no reason at all, to not have a permit.
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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby tim » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:54 am

Hobbes wrote:This is what's going on with the four THs out of Horseshoe (Trail, Cottonwood, NAP & OAP) for people who want to do the JMT. It adds an extra day or so+, but it's practically a 100% guaranteed dunk shot you can walk-in and get a permit any day of the week.


In fact it is 100% guaranteed since Trail Pass is non-quota
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Re: HST Permit vs fines

Postby htrout » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:31 am

This is a fascinating thread. I've never had an issue getting permits but I usually go during the shoulder seasons (don't mind the cold).

But this year I'm wanting to go during a busier time. I really don't have a preference where I go, but if I were to show up at a permit station (say, in Bishop or Mammoth or Lee Vining during peak season, would there be a permit for something available? I know it isn't a guarantee, but I've never taken the chance since I drive over from the geographically impossible Central Coast to the geographically impossible East Sierras. The earliest I can realistically get to a station is 3:00 pm and I'd want to hike out the next morning. And I usually start my hikes mid-week and end on a Saturday (drive home Sunday). I guess I have the same question for SEKI - easier for me to get to, but been-there-done-that my whole life... All I need on my hikes is water and open air... and a fishing spot is always nice. :)
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