Can we or can't we - go backpacking???

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michaelzim
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Can we or can't we - go backpacking???

Post by michaelzim » Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:52 pm

This paste below in italics, is an extract from rlown's post today on Yosemite re-opening and illustrates my "dilemma question":

Cann, who worked at Yosemite for 18 years, including as deputy superintendent, said that Yosemite can open when it wants with or without California’s permission because it is federal property. The Trump administration has been slowly pushing national parks to reopen, and has reopened Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and other famed parks in recent weeks. But Yosemite officials and county leaders have worked together to come up with health guidelines to reduce political friction and to reduce the chances of an outbreak of COVID-19 which could force the park to close again.

“They are ready to go any time after June 10th or 11th,” Cann said. “The superintendent says they want to get a couple of days in before a weekend. That makes total sense.”

State health officials have not said when or whether they might grant approval for the gateway communities’ hotels and campgrounds to reopen. In recent weeks, however, Newsom has allowed churches, barbershops, dine-in restaurants and summer camps to reopen.

“Everybody is waiting for the state to give us the green light to open lodging and we’re not getting it,” said Stacy Corless, chairwoman of the Mono County Board of Supervisors. “People are coming anyway. And you can’t blame them when you think of the mental health impact and the solace and peace people find in the mountains, on their public land. People are coming and we need to be able to accommodate the visitation.”


Seems like there are some differing views about opening things up again for humans. Meanwhile the mosquitoes are no doubt doing their thing, somewhere near the first phases of "hatch" and subsequent mass harassment for back-packers. I had been hoping to get up into the peaks before they got too bad and time is running out for that.

So, one problem I see for any wilderness permits, be it Yosemite or NF Wilderness areas, is that we may well be able to get a permit or do a "self-permit" (as I was advised could be done by SNF/Clovis if all the permit information is displayed in the vehicle left at trail-head), but that permit would clearly show that one may have traveled from a great distance to get to the trail-head! Seeing as leisure (non essential) travel is not OK c/o the state of California, but the authorities are opening up National Parks/Forest areas...Ummmmm, if not a local, how does one get to Yosemite or NF Wildernesses to use that Wilderness Permit??? Yosemite and NF service areas opening up to visitors seems to blatantly contradict the CA state travel orders and supposed fines for that = Catch 22.

I have no problem wondering if I am able to keep excellent social distancing from my front door until return (absolutely yes), but I do wonder about advertising long distance "camping travel" to state or federal agencies...Anyone have any clearer understanding of this issue?

Thanks much ~ michaelzim








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zacjust32
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Re: Can we or can't we - go backpacking???

Post by zacjust32 » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:12 pm

michaelzim wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:52 pm
but that permit would clearly show that one may have traveled from a great distance to get to the trail-head! Seeing as leisure (non essential) travel is not OK c/o the state of California, but the authorities are opening up National Parks/Forest areas...Ummmmm, if not a local, how does one get to Yosemite or NF Wildernesses to use that Wilderness Permit??? Yosemite and NF service areas opening up to visitors seems to blatantly contradict the CA state travel orders and supposed fines for that
Seems like it's just a weak suggestion from the state. I don't see it being a real problem, no one who can write a ticket for that is going to.

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Re: Can we or can't we - go backpacking???

Post by nhrpolitic13 » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:40 pm

michaelzim wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:52 pm

So, one problem I see for any wilderness permits, be it Yosemite or NF Wilderness areas, is that we may well be able to get a permit or do a "self-permit" (as I was advised could be done by SNF/Clovis if all the permit information is displayed in the vehicle left at trail-head), but that permit would clearly show that one may have traveled from a great distance to get to the trail-head! Seeing as leisure (non essential) travel is not OK c/o the state of California, but the authorities are opening up National Parks/Forest areas...Ummmmm, if not a local, how does one get to Yosemite or NF Wildernesses to use that Wilderness Permit??? Yosemite and NF service areas opening up to visitors seems to blatantly contradict the CA state travel orders and supposed fines for that = Catch 22.


Thanks much ~ michaelzim
Michaelzim: You can indeed go backpacking -- in fact, I went for three days a week and a half ago, fully permitted. With that said, whoever told you that USFS Fresno/Clovis was doing "self-permitting" told you wrong. They are, in fact, issuing permits through the ranger station, they're just doing it remotely via call-in to either the Prather station (559) 855-5355 or North Fork/Bass Lake offices depending on which station handles permitting for the trailhead you're looking at. You call the number (or you can email the ranger at Prather, at jaime.neville@usda.gov.), tell them where you want to go, etc., and they will go through the permitting process with you; then you pick the permit up from the box outside the office door on your way out of town.

When I called North Fork about two weeks ago the Ranger there did ask "ahh, where are you coming from?" before she told me they would give me a permit, but in general I don't think they're enforcing anything. There is no restriction on backpacking in the National Forest/wilderness. Until recently, Yosemite was ENTIRELY closed to backpacking -- and the ranger in North Fork expressly told that they would not issue me a permit to go near the boundary, and that I'd be fined if I was caught inside the boundary, but it appears that Order is now expiring. Per the linked article https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/art ... 237940.php , Yosemite will now be allowing at least those with permits already in hand to enter beginning this Friday, June 5th:

"Yosemite National Park will allow people with existing wilderness permits and Half Dome permits to begin entering the park on Friday, officials said Tuesday. The move is the first phase of plans to slowly reopen the park after it shut down March 20 because of the coronavirus outbreak. The next phase of the reopening has not been announced."

I don't know what that means for getting a *new* permit issued, but it seems to me if they're letting people in at all, there won't be that much quibble, at least for much longer.

Hope that helps.

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Re: Can we or can't we - go backpacking???

Post by michaelzim » Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:08 am

Thanks for the responses above...and yes, it does appear to be a bit of a "who you talk to = the answer you get" when trying to get it straight with the ranger stations. That "self-permitting" advice from phone-call with Clovis station seemed a bit iffy to me (though she had me on the line for a while and phoned someone at Prather to check too) so I was going to put the ranger's name on my permit in vehicle if it came to that. However, the late May storm put the kibosh on plans for that departure date though.

So in conclusion, it looks to me like there is enough confusion about things to assume there will not be heavy repercussions or getting turned back by anyone if show up at a trail-head with a permit. So now it is in the hands of the mosquitoes!!!

Thanks again ~ michaelzim.

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Re: Can we or can't we - go backpacking???

Post by rlown » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:33 am

call before you go. ask about parking, tickets, etc. Leave a copy of your permit in your vehicle with an approximate itinerary.

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Re: Can we or can't we - go backpacking???

Post by Broot » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:11 pm

I’ve got a permit starting out of reds meadow road at the end of the month, any word on weather the road will be open? I know they don’t want to do the shuttles but you’d think they would allow people with permits to enter or something.

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Re: Can we or can't we - go backpacking???

Post by bobby49 » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:22 pm

Here is one idea, in case things get totally unmanageable. Start walking at Horseshoe Lake early before dawn.

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