Forum Index > Trail Talk > Recreation.gov for ONP wilderness backpacking reservations starts 03-18-2019
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Ancient Ambler
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PostSat Mar 02, 2019 5:56 am 
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Olympic National Park News Release

March 1, 2019
For Immediate Release
Penny Wagner      360-565-3005

Transition to Recreation.Gov for Wilderness Backpacking Permit Reservations to Launch March 18

PORT ANGELES, WA – The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC) will transition to an online reservation system through Recreation.gov beginning at noon on March 18, 2019. The new online reservation system will allow backpackers to check the availability of sites in real time, plan their trip and receive immediate confirmation, and streamline the park's wilderness permit reservations.

In addition to the online option, wilderness permit reservation requests can be submitted in person at a park Wilderness Information Center during business hours. A third option for phone reservations will be functional by late April. This option will allow users to call the Recreation.gov call center at 1-877-444-6777 to obtain a reservation. The call center will be available for assistance with navigating the website beginning March 18. For new users to Recreation.gov, we recommend you create an account and get familiar with the new site which was launched on October 1, 2018. 

“The new online system is more efficient, convenient, and allows more time for our wilderness information specialists to answer questions and assist with trip planning,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.

The fee for online, phone, or in person reservations will be $6.00 in addition to the regular permit fees. Wilderness Permit fees are $8.00 per person, per night for individuals 16 or older. Annual Wilderness Passes are $45.00 per person (annual flat rate) which covers regular permit fees for the pass holder.

Reservations are strongly encouraged when planning trips that include one or more nights to quota areas and group sites:

Quota Areas
Ozette Coast (Yellow Banks to Point of the Arches)
Royal Basin/Royal Lake
Lake Constance
Upper Lena Lake
Flapjack Lakes (including Gladys Divide)
Grand Valley and Badger Valley
Sol Duc/Seven Lakes Basin
Hoh Lake and CB Flats
Hoh River Trail group sites
Upper Hoh River Trail sites (Elk Lake, Glacier Meadows, Martin Creek)

Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) permit holders and Special Use Permit (SUP) holders will be required to have a Recreation.gov account which will be set up and administered by WIC staff.  All current CUA and SUP holders will be contacted by WIC staff with their account information shortly before March 18.

For more information about wilderness permits and backpacking in Olympic National Park, please visit the park website at www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-trip-planner.htm.

--NPS--

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 418 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
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reststep
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PostSat Mar 02, 2019 10:34 am 
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Thanks for posting AA. I had not heard they were converting to recreation.gov.

I went to the recreation.gov website and could not find a page for backcountry permits for Olympic National Park so maybe it is has not been put online yet.

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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yorknl
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PostSat Mar 02, 2019 7:56 pm 
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I also appreciate your post of this information, AA.

The statement from the NPS doesn't address something, which I suspect answers my question in advance but I'll ask anyway in case anyone knows for certain.  If one makes an online reservation, does the system's $6 of additional efficiency and convenience include no longer having to visit a WIC in person to pick up the permit and receive the speech about water / food storage / fire / sanitation for the eleventy-eighth time?

Cheers-
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BigBrunyon
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PostSun Mar 03, 2019 1:37 am 
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If ya slide a few ones at 'em 'cross the counter they usually let ya go without sitting thru the speech. "Money talks" if ya know what I mean

Gotta bring that fixer cash! Kinda like the time share guys, slippin' bills'll get ya by

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i ALWAYS camp at the upper lake!
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hbb
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PostMon Mar 04, 2019 10:35 am 
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This is good news. I am pretty sure the only time I've touched a fax machine in the past 10 years was when I was faxing a reservation request into the WIC.
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JVesquire
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PostMon Mar 04, 2019 4:44 pm 
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Is there a quota year-round now at Ozette? I couldn't find information otherwise.
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reststep
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PostTue Mar 12, 2019 12:53 pm 
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The backcountry permit page for Olympic National Park is up now at recreation.gov. They are not taking reservations yet but that is supposed to start on March 18.

https://www.recreation.gov/permits/4098362

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reststep
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PostTue Mar 12, 2019 1:12 pm 
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Quote:
You must print your email confirmation and bring it with you to pick up your permit at an Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center

The above quote is from the new webpage at recreation.gov so it looks like, as of now anyway, we will still have to go to a wilderness information center to pickup our permits.  I was hoping that we could print them out ourselves.  I think that is what they are doing now for the Enchantments permits.

There is still not much information at the webpage but they are still working on it as far as I know.

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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Brian R
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PostTue Mar 12, 2019 4:51 pm 
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Looks like they've expanded the former Glacier Meadows quota area to include all "Upper Hoh River trail sites" including Elk Lake and Martin Creek? Seems like the control freaks in PA tighten the noose with each passing year. (And how did we get from $3 to $8 anyhow?) Aldo would roll over in his grave.

Not sure how much longer I'll be complying with ONP's wilderness program rules.
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kiliki
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PostThu Mar 14, 2019 7:09 pm 
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I'm really happy to hear about this. It sounds a lot easier than filling out the paper form with first choice, second choice, third choice…

In terms of picking up permits in person, I've been successful emailing and asking very nicely if they could send me my permit via email, which I then printed out. I've usually indicated why – – for example that going to the WIC is quite a bit out of the way. And they very kindly have.
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reststep
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PostMon Mar 18, 2019 1:08 pm 
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The backcountry permit website is open now for making reservations. I noticed that there are some campsites that are not listed. The 2 I noticed that were not listed are Thousand Acre Meadows and Cedar Lake and there are probably more. Considering the infinite number of places to camp in Olympic National Park it would be near impossible to list all of them.

I talked to someone at the Wilderness Information Center and permits for the areas not listed will still have to be made either by phone or in person at a WIC.  They also told me that there is no more 50 percent discount on backcountry permit fees for golden age passport holders. I was not aware of that.

kiliki, thanks for the info about getting the permits by email.  I will give that a try.

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markweth
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PostMon Mar 18, 2019 2:23 pm 
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reststep wrote:
I noticed that there are some campsites that are not listed. The 2 I noticed that were not listed are Thousand Acre Meadows and Cedar Lake and there are probably more. Considering the infinite number of places to camp in Olympic National Park it would be near impossible to list all of them.

Might be an intentional way of discouraging use of those areas. Not an altogether bad thing, I suppose. Since neither destination is on official trails, I can see where they wouldn't want to list them along with the other sites.
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coldrain108
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PostMon Mar 18, 2019 2:38 pm 
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markweth wrote:
reststep wrote:
I noticed that there are some campsites that are not listed. The 2 I noticed that were not listed are Thousand Acre Meadows and Cedar Lake and there are probably more. Considering the infinite number of places to camp in Olympic National Park it would be near impossible to list all of them.

Might be an intentional way of discouraging use of those areas. Not an altogether bad thing, I suppose. Since neither destination is on official trails, I can see where they wouldn't want to list them along with the other sites.

The Ranger at the WIC said only those campsites listed on their "trip planning" map are available for rec.gov reservations.  I got the specific ones I wanted over the phone today.  He also said to just reserve a rough estimate for unlisted camps you want in the unlimited, non-quota areas and then work it out later.  ie  Dose Meadows = 1000 Acre meadow.

I like that they now refund your $$$ if you cancel 7 days in advance, you only lose the 6$ filing fee.

They have always sent me my Royal basin permits via email...as that would be a huge backtrack to go all the way to PA to pick those up.

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"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing"  - Albert Einstein
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Brian R
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PostMon Mar 18, 2019 11:31 pm 
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Went online at noon today and booked for early September OGS-->Olympus-->Queets Basin-->Bailey Range-->Return via Hoh Lake and OGS loop. While I was able to book all the "Hoh" campsites, Queets Basin and the entire Bailey Range have no sites designated for online booking. Ditto the Cal Tech site and Camp Pan on Olympus.  I guess this makes sense as these areas are wilder than the rest. Still, not sure if I should just add these in person to the reservation and pay upon arrival at Hoh RS--or whether I should call PA tomorrow and give a more detailed itinerary.

In any event, I just checked the website again and it doesn't appear to be a Wonderland Trail or Enchantments type free-for-all just yet.  I see no sites completely booked out anywhere on any summer dates.  That said, there is a fair amount of booking activity going on this day one.
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BigBrunyon
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PostTue Mar 19, 2019 8:13 am 
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These days you have to figure out ALL yer hikes by mid march and have dates planned!!! Can't just wait till summer and take off on fridays unplanned. It really caters to this crowd of older weekend warrior types who buy nalgenes with the straws built in!!!! Those dumb ones you have to suck like a baby bottle!

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