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self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:56 pm

Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Hike in less than 1/4 mile and sign the register - no names, just where you are from and how many people.

southern region of the Los Padres NF - no wilderness permits, free parking with an Adventure or Interagency pass. Same with the northern region, tho you will be paying for parking most of the time, they do not take passes in Monterey District.

I have never had any trouble whatsoever with permits, even in Yosemite. I reserve when I have to and do walk ins for everything else. I never go in from Happy Isles, however.



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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby balzaccom » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:15 pm

Hoover Wilderness, at Leavitt Meadows, you just self-register at the trailhead.

Emigrant Wilderness is a no fee, no limit, permit...and they will leave the permit for you in the box outside the door for your pickup...

The more people on the trail, the more likely you're going to have to register and work within a system...
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:36 pm

One change that would help weekend backpackers would simply to open the permit offices earlier Saturdays. If they cannot afford to pay for more hours, then simply close the office similarly early on Sunday evening. Not many people get permits on Sunday afternoons anyway.

I also agree that if you are a frequent user, you should be able to skip the "beginner's" talk and simply pick up your permit in a night box. How about a Wilderness "Frequent Flyer" program? I am in the computer system in Yosemite and lately when I have picked up a permit, they look at the database and just say "I guess you know the rules".

As much as the permit system has flaws, I still am a proponent of trail quotas and permits.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby bheiser1 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:40 pm

This is some great feedback, thanks everyone.

I'm not in disagreement with the need for a permit system. It would just be nice if it were geared more toward the needs of its users. I guess I can understand the mindset that says we need to be instructed on proper use with each issuance of a permit. But why can't it be like most other permit-enabled activities ... and require the instruction once and then issue a seasonal (annual) permit. Then just have trailhead self-issued "use" permits.

Anyway it is what it is ... it'd be nice to have a list of locations where self-issued permits are possible. I'm thinking a wiki might be good for this :)
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby Herm » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:29 pm

Not a self-issue permit, but .....
When I obtained my permit in Bishop for entry on Piute Pass Trailhead, ranger entered my name, saw that I had done the permitting several times, and therefore did not go through any long, detailed talk about restrictions. He asked a few simple questions, and quickly issued a permit for entry the same day. In total, I spent about 5 minutes in the ranger station on a Friday morning.
Easy.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby bheiser1 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:31 pm

Actually I had a similar experience in August in Yosemite. The ranger asked if I'd had a permit before in Yosemite (I hadn't, though I've been doing this kind of thing for ... well, a long time). So I said "no", and she went thru the whole process. I was under the impression that if I'd been a frequent applicant she might not have had to go thru the whole schpeal.

My concern isnt' with the schpeal. It's with the fact that you need to be there ... in person ...

Here's an example. Say someone in the Bay Area wants to go to the Hoover Wilderness. The USFS sites indicate to get a permit there, you need to personally visit the USFS ranger station in Bridgeport. How's that practical on a weekend, given that the real purpose is to spend as much time as you can in the wilderness in just < 2 days? Even if they issue the permit via phone, and leave it in a "night box", you're still talking about many extra miles to drive over to Bridgeport ... for the sole purpose of picking up the permit ... after which you'll just turn around and drive back the trailhead.

Once again, it's not that the Permit system is a problem, it's that the logistics of it just don't work for most people that want to use it.

Hence why I'd like to create a list of areas where we can go in via self-issued permits.

I'm not sure why self-issued permits should be an issue. Whether the ranger gives me a lecture as they're issuing the permit, or whether I sign the document without the schpeal at a trailhead ... I'm still equally responsible for my own actions and adherence to the rules. ](*,)
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:11 pm

For Yosemite, you need to be there in person so they can tell you the day before or the day you go that trail conditions have recently changed, that there is a fire burning near Harden Lake and closed that route so do you want to reroute (real example), there is a fire closing the road to Crane Flat/Tioga Road so you cannot go on your hike (real example, shut down the hiker bus and canceled a backpack last year for me and we ended up with a permit for the southeastern part of Yosemite instead), you cannot go without a bear can (repeated real example, I have heard people arguing and arguing that they do not need bear cans, for some reason they think Yose bears are not as bad as they are). People flock to Yosemite in droves and herds - they must get the permit in person and after hearing the stuff they try to get away with, I agree with that procedure.

In Sierra NF they have a night drop box - you call the day before, they put the permit in. But they aren't Yosemite with all the non-backpacking backpackers. Most of the time, the system in place evolved to meet a need.

In most places where you have to get a permit in person, it seems you can do so the day before you start hiking.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:26 pm

And if you want to visit the Hoover Wilderness out of Leavitt Meadows, you don't need to do anything except pick up a blank permit form at the trailhead, fill it out, and go on your hike.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby bheiser1 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:52 pm

That's good info. My original question was to find out if there's a list online of all the self-issued-permit access points. Seems like we're on our way toward having one (I'm working on it :) ).

I do see the point, btw, with special restrictions and requirements in an area like Yosemite that's so extremely heavily used. So I guess that wasn't a good example for me to use :).

But in almost any location (and the main reason for my original question) ... picking the permit up "the day before" ... is not feasible for those of us who work on weekdays. Hence why self-issued-at-trailhead solution is so desirable for weekend trips...
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby rlown » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:04 pm

bheiser1 wrote:That's good info. My original question was to find out if there's a list online of all the self-issued-permit access points. Seems like we're on our way toward having one (I'm working on it :) ).


It would be nice if those that hand out permits were consistent in process. But they're not. Even when you compile the list, there's no better recourse than to call and talk with the ranger in the area you want to go. Sometimes they're nice and do things like leave your permit under a rock in the parking lot or the drop box, and sometimes, they, well, just aren't nice.

Personally I try and arrange my trips well in advance and secure the permit. Yes, I still have to check in. That will continue to suck.. That doesn't mean i get special treatment at check-in, but lately, the more i go, the quicker the process is. High use areas will always get more scrutiny.
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:30 am

bheiser1 wrote:
But in almost any location (and the main reason for my original question) ... picking the permit up "the day before" ... is not feasible for those of us who work on weekdays. Hence why self-issued-at-trailhead solution is so desirable for weekend trips...


This is where you have more control... now that you have your list of locales and permit requirements, when you have limited time and need to get to the trailhead at 2 am, pick a location where they will do night drop, or self registration, or no permit at all. When you can get off early on Friday, reserve a permit in Yosemite and pick it up before the wilderness office closes for the day. Stay in a backpacker's campground and enjoy some frontcountry sights, start hiking in the morning. Work that system! \:D/
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Re: self-issued permits at wilderness access points?

Postby bheiser1 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:26 pm

Yup, that's the idea ... basically a list to serve as a menu of places to go when there's no time to go anywhere but the trailhead on the way in :).

I had this idea of creating a wiki where anyone can add their knowledge about specific self-issue permit trailheads. Stay tuned :).
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