Wilderness Permit Information

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Mike M.
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Re: Wilderness Permit Information

Post by Mike M. » Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:08 pm

Also, note that the recreation.gov site is poorly designed and cumbersome to use, especially if you are planning on reserving a permit for a multi-week hike. The site requires you to identify each of your likely nightly destinations. These are available to choose from a drop-down menu, but the menu is poorly organized; instead of displaying place names alphabetically, the site shows them in seemingly random clusters (displayed alphabetically within each cluster). If your itinerary is ambitious and involves a lot of miles, you could find yourself spending an hour trying to find your nightly destinations in the drop-down menu. Better just to fake it and get out with you reservation before someone snatches it up ahead of you.








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OutdoorRandy
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Re: Wilderness Permit Information

Post by OutdoorRandy » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:30 am

I agree with the nightly destination selections. I just booked a permit for 7 nights. I selected the first night's destination from the options. My trip is largely cross country and I just free-form entered the locations. The permit was accepted.

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larry553x
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Re: Wilderness Permit Information

Post by larry553x » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:22 pm

I logged on the Recreation.gov site at 11:35 pm last night (Pacific time; I live in the Bay Area) in hopes of securing a permit for three for the Bishop Pass Trail for August 13. The system never opened up for reservations and I logged off at 12:30 am, frustrated. I hoped that perhaps the system was back to opening up at the historic 7:00 am Pacific time. Logged on at 5:30 am this morning and all but one of the Bishop Pass reserved permits were taken. Very frustrated at this development. I was able to secure a permit for the River Trail into the Minarets but still, what's going on with this system? I just now spoke with a friendly person at the Inyo NF wilderness permit office, who kindly listened to my questions. She confirmed that the reservations are opening up randomly at all hours of the night. She stated that it is supposed to open up at 12:01 am Pacific time but based on the phone calls Inyo NF is receiving, the system is not functioning properly. My humble permit advice: log on at midnight and then stay up all night until the system eventually opens up. Otherwise, you're out of luck.

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Mike M.
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Re: Wilderness Permit Information

Post by Mike M. » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:19 pm

Larry, that sucks. The system sucks. I wonder what caused the outage?

Fortunately, I've never had the problem you describe (the system never opening up).

For those looking to secure a permit, make sure you are logged in before beginning a session. Then enter the number of members in your party, the date you wish to hit the trail, and check the box that says you are not a commercial party. When you enter these three things, the system should "open up" provided your selected date is no more than six months out. For most popular trailheads, the system will tell you that only walk-in permits are available, unless you are fortunate enough to get into the system just after midnight of the six-month window opening up.

If it's any consolation, for most dates, there are still many available permits for less popular trailheads, especially Monday-Thursday dates.

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TurboHike
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Re: Wilderness Permit Information

Post by TurboHike » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:04 am

In response to Inyo NF's statement about resupply (see the post above by Maverick), the Mt Williamson Motel is/was recommending to JMT hikers to reserve a Kearsarge Pass permit. The Kearsarge Pass permit, in the motel's opinion, could then be used to re-enter the backcountry on a specific day, just in case there was a crackdown on resupply at Onion Valley.

Here is the link:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... efox-b-1-e

This is the cached link. The original has been taken down as far as I can tell. This is incredibly selfish in my opinion, that JMTers, who already have a permit, would reserve a permit and take those away from regular backpackers. It is also short-sighted since those regular backpackers give a lot of business to the communities of Independence, Lone Pine, and Bishop.

Maybe this is why it seems so difficult to get an east side permit this year? I mean, why should a JMTer reserve only Kearsarge Pass for resupply? Why not reserve Bishop Pass too? And who knows if this type of selfish behavior will persist in future years?

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Robmannn
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Re: Wilderness Permit Information

Post by Robmannn » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:17 am

I logged in for a permit yesterday at 7:30 am Phoenix time and my trail choices were filled. In 2018 dates opened at 10 AM EST. I'm assuming the gate opens at 12 AM Pacific now. I'll know in another 40 minutes.

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Robmannn
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Re: Wilderness Permit Information

Post by Robmannn » Wed Feb 19, 2020 1:27 am

Permits opened up at 12:02 AM Pacific. I got permits. Wah hoo. River Trail at 12:19 AM has 2 remaining.
We arrived at this trail in 2018 and got smoked out. Still managed to get walk ins for Cottonwood Lakes and enjoyed that.
I'm glad I remembered to come back to this site and this thread. I did not know what was going on with the permits. Thank you.

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Re: Wilderness Permit Information

Post by rightstar76 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:57 am

My .02 cents: The JMT resupply debacle is the product of incompetent wilderness management. The effect has been to pit JMT hikers against everyone else while nearby businesses are blamed for trying to survive on slim profit margins. Meanwhile, movie biz and social media have made a fortune by convincing everyone to put the JMT on their bucket list. Millennials living with their parents coming in droves as well as wealthy older folks tapping into their home equity. So the best management can come up with is to make everyone get a new permit whenever they leave the trail to resupply. Completely unrealistic and ineffective. There has to be a better way to manage the JMT!

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Re: Wilderness Permit Information

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:49 am

The current popularity (the new "in" trend) of "big name trails, difficulties dumbed down by technology, magnified by social media and abetted we, the backpackers, who buy into the trend, has played havoc with MANY trails, not just the JMT. I would not place all the blame wilderness area management. They have been blind-sided as well as under-funded to deal with this. The PCT organization seems to be working with them; not sure there is a similar organization that represents the JMT. As with all public access, it takes time for all stake-holders to negotiate a solution. Be careful of what you wish for; you may end up with a very restrictive permit system (such as is in the Canadian parks) where you are restricted to specific campsites, and pay an arm and leg for each night.

With the Muir Ranch, Edison, Reds Meadow I really do not see why JMT hikers have to do walk-out resupply at other trailheads. If you cannot carry a few extra days food, perhaps you should not be doing the routes. I am against allowing them to get new permits, because their sheer numbers would put a big dent in the available permits for everyone else. I would rather that JMT and PCT permits simply "black out" walk-out resupply at over-impacted trailheads during the main backpack season. They could still be open to PCT hikers or early JMT hikers who need these trailheads due to closure of the other options.

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