Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

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thegib
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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by thegib » Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:13 pm

I finally got through to 760-873-2483 and was helped by a very friendly person. Don't give up hope.








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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by SSSdave » Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:45 pm

John Harper wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:36 am
...I called at least 40 times yesterday. Either got a message line was busy, or it rang and rang until it disconnected. I've only got so much patience and this is becoming ridiculous. I paid my money, and I'm going in either with or without a real permit if I can't get through. John


Unless the NF makes the system reasonably accessible, they have to understand enthusiasts will increasingly be going on their trips without proper permits. And that will spread across social media sites as being ethically acceptable. Probably not an issue with those on the other ends of the phone system but rather someone up in management that one can expect may complain that they don't have enough staffing and funds to expand their system. Thus they may have received push back in kind from higher up in the USDA management. Under the circumstances, I would expect someone is well aware phone lines continue to be clogged. It may be that someone is in the process of fixing it and that has taken some time to set up, however if so they ought at least post some news on the INF web site instead of leaving enthusiasts in the dark as that damages their customer relationships and trust especially the personal interest of users to use their system.

If anyone in the INF system is monitoring our site as they ought to, I will suggest they move to an email instead of phone based system that is apparently the choke point especially for those requests from users that are already in their computer system from previous seasons that are most likely to understand proper practices in the backcountry. It may be less than ideal but under the circumstances of the pandemic if staffing and phone infrastructure is the issue, it is certainly better than finding out by mid summer large numbers of groups have mutinied against their system and are now flooding the Sierra way beyond quota levels with no way to stop such with stories of abuse certain to rise. Consider if that happens, those employees are the ones likely to be in the cross hairs of criticism as such becomes public news.

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thegib
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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by thegib » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:23 pm

I imagine there will be a higher % of scofflaws than usual this year. But, given the also predicted 'permit hoarding', I think backcountry usage will probably even out to pretty close to normal - or lower.

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by sukhoi_584th » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:33 am

This morning I tried to get a walk-up for July 2 entry. Inyo has to be intentionally obfuscating the walk-up process to keep visitor numbers down. If I don't end up getting a permit I think I'm just going without one. Here's what happened this morning:
  • Constantly redialed and pressed 0 and got hung up on by the system from 8-8:08 AM until someone surprisingly answered.
  • He told me walk-up permits are on rec.gov, and I said there was nothing showing up on rec.gov. He said they appear randomly anytime between 8 AM - 5 PM.
  • I said per my readings on this website that people have been calling to have the ranger release a specific permit which the person then grabs on rec.gov
  • He tried to go into rec.gov to do that but his account did not appear to have access to release walk-up permits. Somewhere in here he told me I couldn't get the walk-up until 14 days ahead, which I pointed out is today.
  • I asked how I am supposed to get a walk-up permit and he went off to ask someone.
  • He said walk-ups for some unspecified period of time, including July 2, are being released on rec.gov sometime between 8 AM - 5 PM on Monday the 22nd.
  • I'm going to try calling again later this morning, and at 8 AM on Monday if necessary.
What a mess.

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by astrogerly » Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:44 am

That is the new process as of this past week. I tried calling on the 12th to get permits for the 26th. The person I spoke to told me they were manually loading them on Monday (15th in this case for me) for all walk-ups that particular week (22nd - 28th). They are doing this on top of their normal duties, so they do it when they can. Just check periodically - they do load them. We got the permits we wanted... and there were still some there the next day. They are trying to figure out what works best with the ever-evolving situation and quirks in the system they have been discovering.

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by SSSdave » Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:25 pm

INF is apparently too busy to deal with any wilderness entries that are not on the recreation dot gov site or with destinations not on their usual lake list, which is understandable given the phone in clog. There are of course numbers of more obscure places to park to start backpacking in as well as rarely visited destinations to hike to. Normally one goes into an INF office and they listen, then write something up.

Yosemite has done the same thing with me a few times in the past, especially once they understood I was experienced to do so.

Anyway will pack gear up this weekend and go into lower Hilton Creek via Crowley horse trails and will bring a txt sheet with the full 3 emails exchange I had with them, to show I went the distance trying to work with them and they just had bandwidth to respond with one terse canned copy and paste suggestion. In any case not likely to see any other people at all beyond unlikely day horse riders. Climbers are more likely to use some of the obscure starting points and suspect they are now likely to do so likewise. For instance climbing Mt Tom from Elderberry Canyon. Since these kind of things are not going impact any named trail or destination usage, one can expect they are wise to just ignore it and focus on processing the phone backlog.
Last edited by SSSdave on Thu Jun 18, 2020 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by c9h13no3 » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:04 pm

Yeah, I normally can't stand the Inyo traffic jam. Huge lines of clueless people asking about nice places to go. Seems I won't be wading back into it again this year. Plenty of other places to go.
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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by gosia2000 » Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:41 am

So it seems that Horseshoe Meadows Road remains closed at the forest boundary. Could someone confirm for me that the closed gate is just before the trailhead to the old cottonwood lakes trail?

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by SweetSierra » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:28 am

Inyo National Forest told me about a week and a half ago that the closed gate is at the junction with Horseshoe Meadows Road and the road to the Cottonwood Lakes Trail. They didn't say it was at the "old" trail (which I take it you mean the old trail much farther east on the road) but at the junction closer to the Horseshoe Meadows campground. I asked the representative if that was the closure place and she said yes. They also told me to check back nearer my entry date (June 24) to see if it has opened. The road to the Cottonwood Pass trailhead was closed because during the late spring because groups came into the hikers' campground routinely and left a lot of garbage.

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John Harper
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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by John Harper » Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:29 am

SSSdave wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:45 pm
John Harper wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:36 am
...I called at least 40 times yesterday. Either got a message line was busy, or it rang and rang until it disconnected. I've only got so much patience and this is becoming ridiculous. I paid my money, and I'm going in either with or without a real permit if I can't get through. John


Unless the NF makes the system reasonably accessible, they have to understand enthusiasts will increasingly be going on their trips without proper permits. And that will spread across social media sites as being ethically acceptable. Probably not an issue with those on the other ends of the phone system but rather someone up in management that one can expect may complain that they don't have enough staffing and funds to expand their system. Thus they may have received push back in kind from higher up in the USDA management. Under the circumstances, I would expect someone is well aware phone lines continue to be clogged. It may be that someone is in the process of fixing it and that has taken some time to set up, however if so they ought at least post some news on the INF web site instead of leaving enthusiasts in the dark as that damages their customer relationships and trust especially the personal interest of users to use their system.

If anyone in the INF system is monitoring our site as they ought to, I will suggest they move to an email instead of phone based system that is apparently the choke point especially for those requests from users that are already in their computer system from previous seasons that are most likely to understand proper practices in the backcountry. It may be less than ideal but under the circumstances of the pandemic if staffing and phone infrastructure is the issue, it is certainly better than finding out by mid summer large numbers of groups have mutinied against their system and are now flooding the Sierra way beyond quota levels with no way to stop such with stories of abuse certain to rise. Consider if that happens, those employees are the ones likely to be in the cross hairs of criticism as such becomes public news.
I finally got through on my 87th call! Glad I didn't have to be a "scofflaw."

John

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