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Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

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Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby Ken M » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:32 pm

Permits, as we all know, are required for overnight recreation trips into the wilderness on most forests.

However, trips that are not done for recreation, such as trail maintenance, Ranger activities, other Agency official activities, SAR operations......do not require, and should not require such permits. I do believe that a permit is generated for administrative use, but that is behind the scenes.

As I read about the effort to search for Larry, and the hassle involved with the permits, I ask "why?"

Is the Inyo being disingenuous about this?



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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:08 am

No one wants to be the one to sign their name onto paper that is technically a violation of the standard law. All it takes is a single irate person to say "why do THEY get to break the law!" to open a whole can of worms.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:45 am

How are you going to issue a permit for a search group that doesn't even hit a trailhead?

If I'm helicoptered to a meadow 50 miles out, we may hit the trail from there. But there are no permits for hiking on the middle of a trail.

If we go out from cp we may be jeeped out on nf roads for miles and go cross country from wherever they can get us to. No permits for that. If we go from a trailhead we're only on trail til we aren't. It's just a shortcut to our search area. We're not going to camp anywhere fun, and we're not going to be out there all night if we are in national parks - SOP is to pull volunteers out of the field and base camp them. In Yosemite the few times I've been, that's a HSC and Camp 4. In national forests we don't spend the night anywhere unless we just can't proceed, in which case we drop our pads wherever we are, and that's just not anywhere YOU would want to camp.

The people on this forum who are searching for Larry are NOT on an official search, not affiliated with any law enforcement agency as search teams are, and should therefore pull a permit. As I would have to do if I went - even though I am a sworn member of a county search team that would not be counted as a search and the liability insurance we search under would not apply. I would be a civilian because I was not deployed by the sheriff's office so at that point I am not a searcher.

I don't think the folks going to search for Larry are wrong in doing this, and applaud their determination to find him. But I understand why they need the permits. Agencies cannot recognize them as anything but backpackers, officially.

Further - if a search team needs a permit, and the trailhead quota has been filled, are we supposed to then delay the search until a permit can be obtained? For a live subject delay could be fatal.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby Ken M » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:07 pm

I reiterate: This is NOT a RECREATION activity, why should it require a RECREATION permit?

The Wilderness act does not require it

Forest regulations do not require it

No regulation that I can find requires it.

The Forest should be a supporter of such activities.

As for SAR, tell me about pulling permits for your hasty searches.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:54 pm

It is an activity being taken by a group of civilians who are not official search teams. Therefore, it's not a search - unless all the people involved are deployed by an agency, this will continue to be true.

It is a search because the civilians have decided to do it, not because anyone "official" deemed it so.

If you are transporting someone to a hospital in your car, you are held to the speed limit because you aren't an ambulance - why would you get special dispensation for going 70 mph in a school zone? I can't slap a light on my car and decide to be an ambulance. I can't put on an Inyo SAR shirt and declare myself a searcher on their team.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:58 pm

Ken M wrote:As for SAR, tell me about pulling permits for your hasty searches.


I already did. Tell me about climbers in Yosemite spending the night for free on big walls who can break all kinds of rules backpackers have foisted upon them. No permits, and no apparent regulations about digging a cathole or not being a certain mileage from any road or trailhead. But, there they are.

Search teams are paraprofessionals working at the beck and call of the law enforcement agencies. A bunch of backpackers looking for, say, the guns belonging to the hunter who was lost in the Dinkey Creek area some 11 years back who is still missing, in hopes of getting the big fat reward the family is offering, are not official searchers and therefore should adhere to regulations imposed on the general public.

You are asking for a special exception to regulations for a group of people who do not meet criteria for any of their "boxes." Something to take up with the administrative level, not the line staff or the people on backpacking forum. In order for what you want to happen, the searchers looking for Larry need to fit in a different box. I doubt very much you will get any agency to buy into the idea that they should be granted special status on the basis that they are looking for their friend, much as anyone would like that to be true.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby rlown » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:11 pm

Although a good discussion, a moot point as Maverick is correctly working with the volunteers and Inyo/Seki on permitting appropriately to their rules.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:35 pm

That's what I figured.... But we are sometimes asked about it, as well as food storage issues. We also don't carry bear canisters. On a preventive SAR outing I do carry a can or hang regardless of where I'm going.

Yosemite SAR personnel who spend the night in the field, carry the park's Garcia canisters.

I have had experiences too with arguing about the nature of the hiking group - we are a social network of hikers but at times we have been challenged and asked for liability insurance or to pay for special use permits. Since we're not a Sierra Club chapter or nonprofit or operating special events, it turns into a stalemate where nothing is decided and we keep hiking anyway.

What an agency decides you are vs what you decides you are, is not an unfamiliar challenge for me.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby Ken M » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:19 am

AlmostThere wrote:
Ken M wrote:As for SAR, tell me about pulling permits for your hasty searches.


I already did. Tell me about climbers in Yosemite spending the night for free on big walls who can break all kinds of rules backpackers have foisted upon them. No permits, and no apparent regulations about digging a cathole or not being a certain mileage from any road or trailhead. But, there they are.

Search teams are paraprofessionals working at the beck and call of the law enforcement agencies. A bunch of backpackers looking for, say, the guns belonging to the hunter who was lost in the Dinkey Creek area some 11 years back who is still missing, in hopes of getting the big fat reward the family is offering, are not official searchers and therefore should adhere to regulations imposed on the general public.

You are asking for a special exception to regulations for a group of people who do not meet criteria for any of their "boxes." Something to take up with the administrative level, not the line staff or the people on backpacking forum. In order for what you want to happen, the searchers looking for Larry need to fit in a different box. I doubt very much you will get any agency to buy into the idea that they should be granted special status on the basis that they are looking for their friend, much as anyone would like that to be true.


I don't know why you insist upon ignoring the primary issue: recreation.

You are contriving a bunch of scenarios that have no relation to the situation.

when I asked about "hasty searches", where a SAR group starts at a trailhead, then goes up the trail, then goes off the trail (a good description of climbing Whitney by the Mountaineers Route), you refer back to your previous post where you admit that you do exactly that.....without a RECREATION permit.

You make the case that you are "connected" to agencies, and that gives you special privileges to do what you do, in your NON-RECREATION pursuits, I am advocating that the USFS have enough grit to do the same with a group of people going out for what is almost certainly a body recovery, and for that exact purpose.

I do non-recreational work on that, and several other forests, and I'm never asked to get a RECREATONAL permit to do my work.

But the real tone of your post is that you guys are "special", and others are not, and should not get "special" treatment. I've never seen SAR people make that argument before.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby Ken M » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:25 am

rlown wrote:Although a good discussion, a moot point as Maverick is correctly working with the volunteers and Inyo/Seki on permitting appropriately to their rules.


Perhaps I've misunderstood.

I've seen posts that refer to emails that are apparently confusing people about entry dates, so as to comport with RECREATION permit regulations.

For example, the limit on group size for RECREATION permits is 15. However, I've gone on SCA backcountry workshops with 50 participants.

Some of those have lasted in the backcountry for 60 days, in spite of the limitation for RECREATION of usually 14 days.

I post because people generally don't understand these issues, so they don't know to ask the agency for appropriate dispensation, or that them might be able to work out an arrangement acceptable and convenient to all.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby gary c. » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:04 pm

Obviously Maverick is working with the appropriate agenies to allow the search to take place. Rather than argue about what can or can not be done it would probably be better to let this thread die. Not everything that is happening has been posted here and I'm sure for good reason.
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Re: Why the hassle for recreation wilderness permit for search?

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:02 pm

Gary C. wrote:
Rather than argue about what can or can not be done it would probably be better
to let this thread die.

100% agree! It could do more harm than good, no matter how well intended, especially
at this junction of my negotiations with SEKI.

Not everything that is happening has been posted here and I'm sure for good reason.

Also 100% correct!
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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