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Conflicting info from rangers

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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby Tom_H » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:19 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:We all seem to want something for nothing nowadays. How can we expect to have expert Rangers when we are not willing to pay taxes to support the agencies they work for?


Well said Daisy!



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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:14 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:We all seem to want something for nothing nowadays. How can we expect to have expert Rangers when we are not willing to pay taxes to support the agencies they work for?



If only they gave us choices of how our personal tax dollars were spent... there'd be a lot more education and wilderness preservation coming out of my tax dollars!
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby kingofthemountains » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:38 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
Wandering Daisy wrote:We all seem to want something for nothing nowadays. How can we expect to have expert Rangers when we are not willing to pay taxes to support the agencies they work for?



If only they gave us choices of how our personal tax dollars were spent... there'd be a lot more education and wilderness preservation coming out of my tax dollars!


x2 on that
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby Scouter9 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:57 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:We all seem to want something for nothing nowadays. How can we expect to have expert Rangers when we are not willing to pay taxes to support the agencies they work for?


No backpacker or outdoor consumer has cheaped-out on taxes for rangers. Our taxes haven't gone down. We're still paying full-pop retail and yet those with our cash have chosen to spend our money on other things. The better question is, "how can the agencies expect us to support them when they cut services?"
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:34 am

We're still paying full-pop retail and yet those with our cash have chosen to spend our money on other things.


Yes they certainly do:

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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby gdurkee » Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:40 pm

One of the main problems in getting good information is having experienced people at the other end of the phone or other side of the desk. Someone commented about being leery of "summer help." Well, you're almost certainly going to be talking to a seasonal worker. It's a job that has little chance of leading to a permanent/career position; there's no health insurance or retirement etc. And it's usually a GS 4 or GS 5 job ($13 - $15/hour). So add in rent & health insurance for a transient job where you have to move twice a year, there's not much reason to come back after 2 seasons or so.

The turnover for seasonals is close to 100% at 3 years. This is also true for seasonal law enforcement jobs, which pay better (though require extensive training). In addition, if you're working behind a desk, you're not out learning the terrain. So any specific questions would likely be beyond the knowledge of most people answering questions. Even if you ask for "the backcountry ranger" it's hit or miss that you'll be able to talk to anyone who knows anything. In Sequoia Kings, for instance, there's only two permanent employees (the backcountry sub-district supervisors) who have the level of knowledge to answer detailed questions. With any luck, the seasonal backcountry rangers are in, yep, the backcountry and beyond (we hope) the reach of phones and the metaverse.

It could be that the days of people like Mike & I -- who stay as b/c rangers for decades -- are over. I certainly hope not. I do think there are still people so dedicated to wilderness that they're willing to take a vow of poverty and chastity and mac & cheese to stay and learn about a place on the earth. It's getting darned hard to do though.

Hmmmm. Story: I had finished a backcountry ski trip in Sequoia and went by the visitor desk to report on conditions. They were utterly uninterested. Their interest (and all of the questions they got) only involved road accessible areas. Still, I would have thought a larger curiosity about the park might have sparked some glimmer of interest... .

This is not to criticize anyone in the offices -- they're answering phones and emails non-stop and doing the best they can. But there's definite limits on what they can know. I absolutely agree that "I don't know" should be used more often -- also "I'll try to find out" but I think that's human nature to a great extent.

In Sequoia (and I think the Inyo) backcountry rangers call out trail reports about once a week. It's pretty good information but often has to be interpolated based on experience, as does all information from whatever source.

Finally, back to the original question. I didn't realize the regulations were so ambiguous. I assumed that there was no group size limit in frontcountry trails (for Sequoia Kings. Whitney trails does have day-use limits now (??)). I've never heard of any limits being enforced if, say, you were to take a day hike with 20 people up to Mist Falls or something. And, hmmmmmm, again. I should look this up, but the limit is on people who get wilderness permits for overnight hikes. If there's no permit, I can't imagine there's a limit. A discussion for Talmudic scholars, I think.

g.
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:36 pm

Other then the special areas such as Whitney and Half Dome I don't know of any other areas that have limits on day hikes.

It makes sense that the turnover rate is high for these Rangers because among other things it also gets boring in one location. They are limited to the area with only 2 or 3 days off at a time to explore and they sit in the permit stations getting asked the exact same questions. Places like Cedar Grove are also very limited for what the casual tourist types can do so your stuck recommending the same 3 hikes all day long.
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby oldranger » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:48 am

Rogue

I spent 7 seasons at the same station, 2 previous stations in overlapping territory--boring not a word I would use to describe any of my time as a backcountry ranger. Every time up Cloud or Deadman canyons was unique from spring snow and new avalanche debris to fall colors and brisk weather. There are still nooks and cranies I left unexplored and remains of lost cow and sheep camps and the camps of native americans that are sinking into the duff but there to be rediscovered.

Maybe I'm just easily amused.

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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:53 am

Your key words are "backcountry Ranger". :D

I was referring to the front country Rangers stuck at the desk telling people all day to go to the same places.
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby oldranger » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:11 am

Whoops!

mike
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby John Dittli » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:55 am

There isn't much that I can add that George and Mike haven't already expressed. I'm not sure how the Wilderness offices work at SEKI or Yosemite, but I know for the most part the Inyo permit people don't get out all that much (at least not on the clock).

During my tenure as a backcountry ranger at North Cascades National Park, the Wilderness office staff were regularly scheduled for backcountry patrols to learn the park. This was actually a nice job, though low paying, for those wishing a mix of in/out time. People would return year after year to these jobs. This led to a knowledgeable front country staff that had credibility with the public. As well, the climbing rangers and roving rangers, when grounded in the frontcountry due to weather (which was often) would also work the permit office.

As WD stated, it is unfortunate that people can't say "I don't know". I just asked my wife (who ran the wilderness office at NOCA for ten years), what they did if asked a question they didn't know. She looked at me like "that's a stupid question" (a look that is reserved for me), and said they would find the answer!

But back to the OP, I've always assumed that the group size limit is just that, whether spending the night out or not. I'm surprised that Yosemite's is different for day use.
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Postby tim » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:42 pm

RoguePhotonic wrote:Other then the special areas such as Whitney and Half Dome I don't know of any other areas that have limits on day hikes.


Seems that Inyo National Forest impose the same limit on group size for (non-permit) day hikes as for overnight trips:
"Groups cannot be larger than 15 people (includes day use)."
http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsint ... ek%20Trail
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