Conflicting info from rangers

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AlmostThere
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Post by AlmostThere » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:49 pm

You'll excuse me for saying so but it isn't just one incident . It's been very consistent over time that nobody who answers the phone understands half the rules . I am trying to get myself and my group in compliance not only with leave no trace but with the park regulations and this is becoming ridiculously difficult .

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oldranger
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Post by oldranger » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:39 pm

Almosthere

If I understand you your specific question is, is there a group size limit for day hikes into the wilderness? If so I can understand your confusion with SEKI regs as I cannot find anything that specifically addresses that question. However it is clearly stated that group size limits in the wilderness are 15 (with some stricter restrictions for off trail hiking in some areas). On the other hand it also states that dayhiking does not require a permit which may imply that the group size restrictions don't apply or ???? A strict interpretation would say a 15 or less restriction. Yosemite clearly states a day hike limit of (omg!) 35 but not SEKI.

As to front country distinction, that is valid and that would encompass any part of the park not designated wilderness. You can find a poorly detailed map if you google "Sequoia Kings Canyon Designated wilderness." But the long and short of it is that most of Grant Grove, Cedar Grove and the Lodgepole/Giant Forest areas are not in the wilderness and consequently the trails that weave thru those areas (until you get to a wilderness boundary sign) are not restricted to wilderness regulations.

Anyhow due to the ambiguity noted in the first paragraph and the fact that new regs or rules may be implemented (but not yet, for example I have heard a rumor that bear containers may be required park wide) in the upcoming season (which may conflict with posted regs and rules and result in different knowledge base of people you talk to) I can certainly understand your frustration and confusion. I hope this helps a litte.

George please step in here if I have muddled things up!

Mike
Mike

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yosehiker
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Post by yosehiker » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:32 pm

Look at the SEKI Compendium at

http://www.nps.gov/seki/parkmgmt/lawsandpolicies.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

That's the law of the park. They don't have it saved as a searchable pdf unfortunately. Doesn't appear to be a day use limit in general though there is a limit of 15 when in wilderness.

There is one line that may or may not be applicable to you: "[Permit needed for] Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades and other public expressions or views in groups exceeding 25 people."

You may find other answers you were looking for in there as well.

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AlmostThere
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Post by AlmostThere » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:54 pm

I am tending to recommend to people who are organizing hikes with my group that they follow the wilderness group size as posted . Because there are a lot of people in my group who do very long day hikes such as the one to moose Lake (that is 20 miles round-trip of a lot of cross country) I find the smaller group sizes to be wiser in general . However it has come up with one organizer who has organized hikes in this area for many years outside my group that she believes the group sizes for day trips are larger . I would like to get everybody on the same page with this issue .

thanks for your input, oldranger.

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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Post by 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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AlmostThere
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Post by 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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kingofthemountains
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Re: Conflicting info from rangers

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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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