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self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

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self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby bheiser1 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:33 pm

I run into the same issue I've seen mentioned here before ... where it's very difficult to go backpacking on a weekend because of the permit system. I prefer to think of weekend backpacking as a spontaneous activity ... without weeks of planning ahead to submit a snail mail request for a permit. However given the time constraints of a weekend, and USFS ranger stations typically being closed on weekends (at least off season), it's almost impossible to get a permit.

I know some trailheads/areas allow self-issued permits ... for example, in the Trinity Alps.

I've searched and haven't found this: is there a current list somewhere of Sierra trailheads/wilderness access points where self-issued permits are possible?

Thanks!



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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby SSSdave » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:43 pm

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5207&p=32139&hilit=permit#p32139

situation sukks

don't think it will get better in most places as my suspicion is that some of those in policy positions with a monkeywrenching attitude use the current system to limit backpacking since they probably view any increase in backcountry visitations as resource destructive
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby gary c. » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:20 pm

With the exception of the Whitney and Cottonwood trails I think that the rest of the GTW is unlimited self issue.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby cahiker » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:31 pm

No wilderness permit is needed for Granite Chief Wilderness or the rest of Tahoe NF. You only need a campfire permit (available on-line) if you plan to have a campfire or use a stove. Maybe not the most spectacular scenery in the Sierra, but still very nice mountains and lakes and forests, and a reasonable drive from the Bay Area or Sacramento (so long as you avoid rush hour...)

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/tahoe/recreatio ... ndex.shtml
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby richlong8 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:45 am

Here is a link to Inyo National Forest that has some good info on quotas, self issue permits, etc;

[web_site]
http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsint ... n%20Passes[/web_site]

The permitting system is ridiculous- a bureaucrat's job security. SSS dave's post has a link to previous posts that discuss it. I usually reserve permits months in advance to make sure I get to go where I want to go, because the system seems designed to keep people out, not allow them into "their" wilderness areas. However, because of life's demands, I usually have to change plans a few times, and just lose the money I pay for myself and whoever else goes with me. They will send you a confirmation letter after you pay, but not the actual permit. You still have to stand in line when the office opens to get your permit, and listen to the lecture. You mean to tell me that in this computer age, they could not just look at your info when you advance reserve, and see that this customer has had 20 permits in the last 5 years. We can just send him the permit, he knows about bearboxes, camping by water, etc; and all that info is on the written permit anyway. It is either incompetence on their part, or deliberate policy to make things difficult, and keep people out, because of their elitist, enforcement points of view.
And these same types of federal bureaucrats are the people I will trusting my health and my family's health to in the years to come- thanks to ObamaCare. Taking an extra day off to stand in line for a wilderness permit won't be an issue- I will be standing in line all day to go to a crummy doctor, if they allow me to.

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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:26 am

The permitting system is (sometimes) inconvenient, but it's also necessary (in some form) to manage the crowds. I'm prepared to accept a little inconvenience for the good of the wilderness.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby tim » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:01 am

After late September, SEKI is self-registration. Same in Yosemite from October/November (depending on where you're going).
However, if you are going to have quotas, then I think that unfortunately picking up permits in person (or using night boxes, which you can do in the National Forest areas) is the best way to go. Otherwise, a lot of the permits that people book in advance will simply go to waste, because the cost of making a reservation is so low, and there are no refunds. If you don't pick up the permit then they can give it to someone else instead. Otherwise as in Desolation Wilderness (where they will send you the permit by mail), I bet half or more of the pre-reserved permits are never used.
I tend to make several bookings early in the year, and just decide nearer the time which ones to use.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby richlong8 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:47 am

I agree there should be some kind of system in place. The system has changed a lot since it was first put in place, and I do not think for the better. There are so many things people are doing to try and make the system workable for them, that it is apparent to me the system needs a lot improvement. If this was a private business based on consumer satisfaction, they would be out of business. I think the night/reservation box makes a lot of sense. If the permit is not picked up by a certain time, it becomes available to someone else.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby SSSdave » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:35 pm

As noted in the earlier thread, policies in quota areas are most reasonable in Stanislaus NF's with Inyo and Sierra nearly so. But even at those, as noted, I would like to see the policy of allowing backpackers to pick up Saturday starting unreserved permits for popular TH's on Friday changed to Saturday morning that otherwise penalizes the vast majority of people working m-f 8-5. If that one policy were changed many of us would more frequently weekend backpack. The Stanislaus policy is even more ideal. A person can phone in for a permit on Friday and SNF will put the permit into a nightbox that we working people can then grab late at night and continue on to the trailhead. At the trailhead we can start night hiking that evening or early the next day at dawn. A huge benefit for photographers that wish to be at some location for dawn/sunrise light.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby richlong8 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:59 pm

My recent trip to Red Mt. Basin, they put the permit in the nightbox for me, so we could leave early the next morning without red tape. But I had it reserved for several months.
Last edited by richlong8 on Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby lambertiana » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:51 pm

There have been a couple times during the middle of the quota season when I was able to call the ranger at Mineral King and have them leave a permit in the box outside for me to pick up on a Friday night. But the last time I tried they wouldn't do it. It depends on which ranger you talk to.

They seem determined to give the whole minimum impact and wilderness rules talk every time. As someone else has said, they could look me up on their computer and see how many permits they have issued to me over the years, and realize that I could give that talk better than they can.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby richlong8 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:32 pm

Certainly, it must be that the personnel are following some sort of policy set down by Department of the Interior, National Forest, SEKI, etc; Is there anyone employed in the permit offices,or otherwise who would care to comment?
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