Penalty for not adhering to entry point

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SSSdave
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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by SSSdave » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:28 pm

They could have you hike out to where you came from and then visit the closest ranger station. If you did not show up they could fine you. In this era they can now easily take offender pictures and also record all vehicle license plates at trailheads.

Sometimes as an offtrail hiker, I don't park at nor start hiking from designated trailheads but rather at pull outs along roads. If so, I have the permit person record the approximate location I will park along so and provide my license plate number so patrol people understand why a car might be parked so overnight. Trailheads are thus more properly policy map zones. Although one may declare the Tuolumne Meadows trailhead, that is actually a map area that one may start from any road location within the map zone though very few do so and such is not publicized or encouraged. Very common to park so west of Pothole Dome at pull outs then hike down the cheater shorted distance towards Glen Aulin along the west side of the Tuolumne River. Same thing with the disgustingly direct short route up to Lower Cathedral Lake.








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dave54
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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by dave54 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:12 pm

SSSdave wrote:...Sometimes as an offtrail hiker, I don't park at nor start hiking from designated trailheads but rather at pull outs along roads. If so, I have the permit person record the approximate location I will park along so and provide my license plate number so patrol people understand why a car might be parked so overnight...
I have done similar in non-quota areas, except not parking in turnouts. Too many chances of a break-in. Instead, park in a safe location and bike to the starting point. Carry the bike 100 yards or so into woods, lock to a tree, and throw a camo tarp over it (a couple yards of camo cloth from the Walmart fabric section). The odds of the bike being discovered and taken are nil.
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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by rightstar76 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:43 am

Here are some potential penalties that come to mind:

1. Fined and/or walked out by ranger
2. Stern lecture from ranger
3. Anxiety about being caught by ranger
4. Extra impact on the trail and surrounding environment because of breaking trailhead quota
5. Guilt

Not worth it in my opinion.

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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by AlmostThere » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:42 pm

6. A lot of grief from people who are tired of people who show absolutely no guilt for overusing, trashing and ignoring LNT in the wilderness.

Even the groups that overtly say they care about wilderness stewardship -- Boy Scouts, Sierra Club -- pretend sometimes that the rules don't apply to them. Camping too close to lakeshores and trails - yep, I've seen big groups do that.

If you think it's no big deal, remember that if enough people think it's no big deal, it becomes a really, huge, terrible big deal. Overuse leads to closures of trails and areas to let them recover from people pretending it's no big deal. It can lead to permits for day hikers (see: Desolation Wilderness, Mt Whitney, Half Dome) and legal group size reductions. It can lead to a wilderness full of ugly trash -- everyone thinks it's not a big deal, I packed out 15 lbs of glass, cans, shotgun shells and foil from ONE FIRE RING today.

You make your choice. No one can do that for you. Don't think about the penalties you'll maybe suffer. Think about other people and the consequences to them, the wilderness and the consequences to it when 10,000 people each individually think it's no big deal.

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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by rightstar76 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:23 am

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Last edited by rightstar76 on Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by AlmostThere » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:58 am

To answer your original question, in part... there used to be a $75 fee for being caught in the backcountry without a valid wilderness permit in Yosemite (it is probably different in other jurisdictions). Meaning, you either have a permit and you are not where you are supposed to be, starting at the wrong trailhead or way off your itinerary such that it looks very much likely to the ranger you are cheating, or, you have no permit at all. They will walk you out and your trip is done, and you have a fine.

That fine is much bigger now. People were ignoring the rules and considering the fine part of the cost of the trip. Sort of like the base jumpers and so forth, illegally leaping off the rim into the valley floor. They'll do it anyway and if caught just pay the thousands of dollars in fines.

The rangers get real tired of people ignoring rules that are there for good reasons.

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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by phenocryst » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:58 pm

When I was writing permits at the Mt Whitney district, long ago, one of the most common questions we would get was “what’s the fine for not having a permit?” Yes, many people just factor in paying a fine as part of the cost of their trip. (They may not factor in being escorted out, etc.) People sometimes don’t see the big picture (eg. the factors that have led to limits on visitation) when their personal convenience is threatened. What difference does a couple more hikers on the trail make?

The permit system restricts backpackers to a specific entry point and entry date. In most of the Sierra (not including heavily impacted areas like the Whitney zone), that’s all it does. Once you have hopped thru that bureaucratic hoop, you are free! No assigned campsites, no required itinerary, no requirement to exit when or where you said you would. Since most hikers do mostly the same things, the quotas work. They DON’T work when people get permits for dates or trailheads they, intentionally or otherwise, aren’t going to adhere to.

If the Friday quota is full, you can’t reserve a permit for Thursday thru Sunday and then start on Friday, even if you still plan to exit Sunday. If that’s ok, when Thursday is full, why not Wednesday, or Tuesday? Where do you draw the line? For the quota system to work, it needs to be enforced. So no, you can’t start someplace else, no matter how close. If you can’t use your permit as issued, get another one. I know, maybe not so easy. But you’re not the only one out there, and if you don’t have to follow the rules, why does anyone else?

I know from experience that plenty of things can happen to make it hard or impossible to use a wilderness permit you’ve been issued, but if you are asking this question ahead of time, why don’t you just get one for the trailhead you really want?

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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by dave54 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:55 pm

This thread is why I do not like going to places that need permits. If you need itinerary approval, assigned campsites, specific times to start hiking from the trailhead, et al, with no deviation allowed, the place no longer should be called a Wilderness. May as well stand in line at Disneyland.

Too many other areas where you can just hike on your own schedule without worrying about deviating from your approved plan.
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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by Obsidianpumice » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:18 pm

dave54 wrote:This thread is why I do not like going to places that need permits. If you need itinerary approval, assigned campsites, specific times to start hiking from the trailhead, et al, with no deviation allowed, the place no longer should be called a Wilderness. May as well stand in line at Disneyland.

Too many other areas where you can just hike on your own schedule without worrying about deviating from your approved plan.
I think the red tape can get a bit aggravating. For instance, I recently learned the process for getting into Hoover Wilderness - apparently you have to send permit requests via mail (yes, mail, as in by paper through what is called the "post office").

Sometimes things can come up too. Let's say someone gets a permit for Tuesday and out of nowhere their car has an issue and needs fixed. The trip they've been planning for six months must be delayed, and the "real" start date is a day later on Wednesday. Why ruin the trip? My understanding is that that is where there is some leniency, thankfully.

As the OP to this thread I should clarify - I agree with honoring the system. A person in my group raised the possibility of starting elsewhere nearby in order to do a specific route. I adamantly oppose the suggestion and wondered what, hypothetically, would happen, since it doesn't seem to be documented anywhere.

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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Post by rightstar76 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:29 am

Solution to stuff coming up on day of trip is Plan B. Easy in the Sierra Nevada if you're flexible and willing to give up spectacular scenery for nice scenery.
Last edited by rightstar76 on Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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