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Favorite Non-Quota'd Trailheads (pre Labor Day special)

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Re: Favorite Non-Quota'd Trailheads (pre Labor Day special)

Postby balzaccom » Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:31 am

We've never missed a trip because of quotas, but we usually aim at lower use areas anyway, or off season/mid-week.

To add to your list, there are no quotas for Emigrant Wilderness, and Leavitt Meadows is not only no quota, it's also self register....

One reason for the apparent disconnect between full quotas and empty parking lots? Some people reserve trailhead permits, then don't show up to take the hike. We always notify the correct authority when our plans change...and we often get a sincere note of gratitude from the permit office that we've put the permits back in play.

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Re: Favorite Non-Quota'd Trailheads (pre Labor Day special)

Postby SSSdave » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:51 am

This is an old dredged back up 2008 thread but worth revisting as issues about wilderness permits ought be at the top of our community interest and have our voices heard seeking improvements for.

Would be useful for someone to dig up current quota information for national forest trailheads beyond Inyo NF that actually has a web page. I've noticed some of that information that once was posted on web pages a decade ago no long is. Rather annoying obtaining wilderness permits on NF's that are not on the recreation.gov system because one typically cannot phone in a permit but rather must either walk up at a ranger station or for a reservation send in a request via US Postal Service mail. Thus one has no information on trailhead quotas or whether a trailhead even has a quota, or if a trailhead quota is already filled. The national forests could very easily all post such information on their usda web sites but apparently prefer the status quo of keeping all we customers in the dark.

Making extensive researched plans to visit some area only to be blocked by quota issues can be a trip disaster. The NF management controlling this seems to have the attitude that we all ought be happily content making alternative plan on any days one visits a ranger station. Oh don't have the correct set of topos. Why we will sell you some... Like I said a disaster in planning thus very unsatisfying situation that the user community ought make noise about.

I would also like to see some information on reserved permit no shows that I suspect is rather high. That impacts walk up permits by forcing people to wait till 11am at ranger stations instead of say 8am when they open. Or even better reserving the now released quota permit days beforehand and using a night box the evening before in order to get on a trail at a preferred cool early time after sunrise instead of mid morning. Permit fees are so impractically low that some people have already figured out it is trivial to spend $100 bucks or so in March reserving a half dozen permits for the summer with the intent to only actually use a couple. Just consider how in many places one cannot even find lodging for a single night for less than 3 figures. The solution is not to raise permit fees (recreation.gov) but rather track those requesting permits that would be very simple and then penalize those obviously abusing the process by reducing the number of permits they would be able to reserve in the future.

So if someone reserved 10 permits and just used 3, the next year instead of being allowed to submit unlimited permits they might only be allowed to reserve 5 permits all that summer. If one requested and received 12 permits in March but cancelled most of those say 3 months before use then no penalty. If one cancelled at short notice, say a week before, then a moderate penalty. If one was a no show for a permit pick up that never bothered to cancel at all then a full penalty per above.
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Re: Favorite Non-Quota'd Trailheads (pre Labor Day special)

Postby rayfound » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:29 am

Yeah, I was thinking about the no-show problem. I wonder if a deposit system is actually what would help. I don't want any system that would favor people with greater funds (like raising the overall cost of access) - but there needs to be something to discourage the reserve-and-see problem. Same goes for "I'll reserve for 8 just in case, but maybe only 3 or 4 people can actually come".

Maybe simply a fine for failure to pick up a reserved permit would help. I just wish people would think about more than themselves on the permit system.

Also, all NF and NPs should get online with recreation.gov - the days of faxing permit requests or mailing is long gone.
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