Desolation wilderness permit process changed

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sirlight
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Desolation wilderness permit process changed

Post by sirlight » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:59 pm

Looks like they will no longer accept reservations by phone, fax or mail now. The site is not quite ready yet, but the plan is to now run permit applications through the National Recreation Reservation Service.

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/recrea ... so/permit/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.recreation.gov" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Looks like you will still be able to apply in person though.

Anyone who has used the NRRS site for permits, how smooth (and fair) was the process?








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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Desolation wilderness permit process changed

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:43 pm

There is no mention of cost. I sure hope it is not like the America Reserve system where they not only charge for the campstie, but also have a $7 non-refundable reservation fee.

I have no issue with internet reserving as long as they keep the costs the same as now.

Does this mean that you still have to pick up the permit in person? Does this mean that if a permit is not picked up by 11AM the spaces are then available? Are they going to change the portion of reserved vs first-come permits? Lots of questions.

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Re: Desolation wilderness permit process changed

Post by oldranger » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:23 pm

If you have problems now wait until the reservation person who knows nothing at all about california yet alone Desolation Wilderness tries to answer a question. :angry:

m
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Re: Desolation wilderness permit process changed

Post by Hetchy » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:05 pm

If you hike 500 miles or more on the PCT (which passes through Desolation wilderness) you can get a thru-hiker permit for the length of the trail(from Mexico to Canada.. one single piece of paper). Valid in all National parks, wilderness areas, and national forests along the way.
The Pacific Crest Trail Association coordinates this permit.

The permit even has a space to reserve a Whitney endorsement if you plan to go over the East side and come back up. Most PCT'ers climb Whitney from Crabtree meadows(you don't need a reservation to climb Mt. Whitney from the West side), using Trail pass or Kearsarge to resupply in that area.
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Re: Desolation wilderness permit process changed

Post by balzaccom » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:48 pm

It can only be a move for the better. The old system was crazy--they had a single day start for all permits for all summer long. And it meant that everyone tried to fax in their reservations at the same time to the same number. Idiotic, and there was no need for it.

I've used the NPRS for a few things, and it generally works pretty well. The whole secret will be to see if they can really get all the information you need on the website, so that you can pick and choose from what's available.
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Re: Desolation wilderness permit process changed

Post by sirlight » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:56 am

Everything I read seems to indicate the amount of permits available for reservation would remain the same.
In most cases, I consider the internet to be the easiest way of doing things. If the new reservation process goes smoothly and does not cost ANY more, it will be an improvement. Still, having the internet as the only option other than visiting the ranger station might not be entirely fair for some people. I am very tech savvy (software engineer), but some people are not. How is that 75 year old guy who has never used a computer going to get his permit?

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Re: Desolation wilderness permit process changed

Post by tim » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:46 am

The new system on recreation.gov opened for reservations (for the whole season) this morning.
It works very smoothly - we've already got our permit for Labor Day weekend. Costs are the same as before, except for the $6 additional reservation fee.

You can now also cancel your permit and get a refund up to 15 days in advance, which is definitely a positive, because I would assume many of the mailed out permits were wasted in the past. On the other hand, the sheer user friendliness of the system (including online search facilities for available dates) means that Desolation Wilderness might actually be busier this summer.

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Re: Desolation wilderness permit process changed

Post by rrivera » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:37 am

I also used the new online system yesterday and I thought the user experience was great and much more convenient than try to get through to the permit office. Yes the service charge isn't great but I'm willing to pay it given the ease of getting the permit.

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Re: Desolation wilderness permit process changed

Post by Pietro257 » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:18 pm

Tim--

Thanks for posting the news that the office is open. They told me it would open April 1. I raced over there and got the permit I wanted, but many spots were taken. So thanks again for posting the news.

As for the permit process, it went very smoothly for me. But next year I'm going to find out for certain when the start date is.

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