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Pahoehoe
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 4:57 pm 
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I dont think so.  I mean, sure, things get trampled... but it's really not that wide of a corridor.

Sorta like Paradise.  There are signs every 3 feet in all different languages that say stay on the trail but people still HAVE to get that picture sitting in (on) the wild flowers.

It sucks but the reality is that it's just a small zone just off the trail.

May as well just put up a bunch of signs, hire more rangers and start up a shuttle system.

Can we blame the millennials?
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 5:27 pm 
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I gotta say it.  For all of the "blame everything on the millennials" talk...who raised them?  Don't they get some of the blame too?  Kids don't appear out of nowhere and they don't exist in a vacuum.
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gb
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 6:23 pm 
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Pahoehoe wrote:
I dont think so.  I mean, sure, things get trampled... but it's really not that wide of a corridor.

Sorta like Paradise.  There are signs every 3 feet in all different languages that say stay on the trail but people still HAVE to get that picture sitting in (on) the wild flowers.

It sucks but the reality is that it's just a small zone just off the trail.

Well, it happens there are rare plants not far off the trail, including one, Packera cymbalaria, that is not known elsewhere in Washington. At 7500', significant areas of the upper Enchantments are very fragile. The number of people visiting is way overboard if we have such a problem with parking.
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Pahoehoe
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 6:49 pm 
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gb wrote:
Pahoehoe wrote:
I dont think so.  I mean, sure, things get trampled... but it's really not that wide of a corridor.

Sorta like Paradise.  There are signs every 3 feet in all different languages that say stay on the trail but people still HAVE to get that picture sitting in (on) the wild flowers.

It sucks but the reality is that it's just a small zone just off the trail.

Well, it happens there are rare plants not far off the trail, including one, Packera cymbalaria, that is not known elsewhere in Washington. At 7500', significant areas of the upper Enchantments are very fragile. The number of people visiting is way overboard if we have such a problem with parking.

Are those rare plants only near the trail, though? I'm not suggesting that it's ok to trample plants or we shouldn't try to educate people.  I'm saying that it's a small corridor of heavy impact.

Those heavily impacted places are often the gateway places that get people hooked.  And then they learn.  And they see the difference when they visit a more pristine place and they become advocates...

Its public land.  The public has the right to access it.

Are there any other national forest or park areas that you need a permit to day hike into?  I don't really see that going over very well.
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Pahoehoe
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 6:53 pm 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
I gotta say it.  For all of the "blame everything on the millennials" talk...who raised them?  Don't they get some of the blame too?  Kids don't appear out of nowhere and they don't exist in a vacuum.

I was joking... although I take no responsibility because I havent raised anyone.
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 7:06 pm 
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Pahoehoe wrote:
Are there any other national forest or park areas that you need a permit to day hike into?  I don't really see that going over very well.

Yes, for example Half Dome in Yosemite and Mt Whitney both require day permits.  The demand is far beyond the quota,  so a lottery is used to allocate the day permits.   Mt St Helens is another example of an area where a daily quota is imposed on day hikers.

Looking further , large swaths of wilderness areas in  California have quotas and permits.   The PNW is more of an outlier in terms of easy access, lack of red tape and uncrowded conditions.
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joker
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 7:40 pm 
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Yes - you  also need permits for day outings at places like Coyote Buttes and Paria Canyon (northern AZ and southern  UT border area), the Subway as well as the upper  Narrows at Zion, the Fiery Furnace in Arches, etc etc
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Pahoehoe
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 7:49 pm 
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I forgot about Mt. St Helens, but that's a climb.  An easier one, but still a climb.

Besides St. Helens, are there reservations? A lottery?  First come?

I'm curious how it works.

One thing I dont like about the Enchantments permit lottery is that everyone starts fresh each year.  I feel like every year a person enters and doesn't get a permit, their odds should improve.

I don't like the way it's nearly unobtainable although I have been there enough times I'm good, the first time really is amazing...

I still think condensing the people in a few places, especially the masses of day hikers is better than spreading them out...

I wonder how many are vacationing in Leavenworth and want to hike nearby versus people specifically heading to Colchuck for a day hike...
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 8:09 pm 
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gb wrote:
Well, it happens there are rare plants not far off the trail...

That's what I was told by the USFS as well, when we were back in there doing trail work.

Also, the heather that was trampled to death in the 60's - 80's still hasn't recovered despite several attempts to revegetate large areas. The growing season is so short. We were shown very large patches of hardpan dirt - not soil - dead dirt - as a result of unregulated, over -use - tent cities.  Branches and bark hacked off of larch trees, and whole trees sawn off at the base all for firewood...

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 8:32 pm 
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Pahoehoe wrote:
I was joking... although I take no responsibility because I havent raised anyone.

Didn't mean to single you out.  Blame the millennials is a common rallying cry on this board.  I also haven't raised anyone so it must not be my fault either.  rolleyes.gif
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Pahoehoe
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PostMon Sep 23, 2019 10:08 pm 
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Kim Brown wrote:
gb wrote:
Well, it happens there are rare plants not far off the trail...

That's what I was told by the USFS as well, when we were back in there doing trail work.

Also, the heather that was trampled to death in the 60's - 80's still hasn't recovered despite several attempts to revegetate large areas. The growing season is so short. We were shown very large patches of hardpan dirt - not soil - dead dirt - as a result of unregulated, over -use - tent cities.  Branches and bark hacked off of larch trees, and whole trees sawn off at the base all for firewood...

Still, though, how do we really stop that beyond education?  The permit system limits camping... Day hikers doing the whole loop dont really have a lot of time to trample off trail or chop down trees.

And again, this is a small zone in a big area.  Most of the Cascades rarely see feet.  Would it really be better to spread all those feet out more to trample more plants or condense them where they are?

I get that its unattractive and it takes a long time (if ever) to heal, but there are vast stretches that arent impacted.  Its it really a huge conservation issue or an aesthetics issue?

We cant keep everyone (except ourself) out and people are going to people.
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gb
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PostTue Sep 24, 2019 5:06 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
Pahoehoe wrote:
Are there any other national forest or park areas that you need a permit to day hike into?  I don't really see that going over very well.

Yes, for example Half Dome in Yosemite and Mt Whitney both require day permits.  The demand is far beyond the quota,  so a lottery is used to allocate the day permits.   Mt St Helens is another example of an area where a daily quota is imposed on day hikers.

Looking further , large swaths of wilderness areas in  California have quotas and permits.   The PNW is more of an outlier in terms of easy access, lack of red tape and uncrowded conditions.

Here is another one: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/willamette/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5358688

And there has been a lot of noise on crowding and permits in the Three Sisters Wilderness.
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gb
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PostTue Sep 24, 2019 5:25 am 
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Pahoehoe wrote:
Kim Brown wrote:
gb wrote:
Well, it happens there are rare plants not far off the trail...

That's what I was told by the USFS as well, when we were back in there doing trail work.

Also, the heather that was trampled to death in the 60's - 80's still hasn't recovered despite several attempts to revegetate large areas. The growing season is so short. We were shown very large patches of hardpan dirt - not soil - dead dirt - as a result of unregulated, over -use - tent cities.  Branches and bark hacked off of larch trees, and whole trees sawn off at the base all for firewood...

Still, though, how do we really stop that beyond education?  The permit system limits camping... Day hikers doing the whole loop dont really have a lot of time to trample off trail or chop down trees.

And again, this is a small zone in a big area.  Most of the Cascades rarely see feet.  Would it really be better to spread all those feet out more to trample more plants or condense them where they are?

I get that its unattractive and it takes a long time (if ever) to heal, but there are vast stretches that arent impacted.  Its it really a huge conservation issue or an aesthetics issue?

We cant keep everyone (except ourself) out and people are going to people.

Yes, it is a small zone in a big area, but that small zone is also where the rare plants are found. The trail in the upper Enchantments follows a very narrow plateau of which much is vegetated between areas of higher and more barren terrain. For the most part the rocky barren terrain is not that much at risk. There are not a lot of areas like this high plateau in the Cascades, mainly in the Pasayten - and that may or may not have the same rare plants. They haven't been recorded there. As Kim says, with a short growing season and with generally dry summers, these areas are fragile and don't regenerate well at this elevation.

The mid to lower zone is mainly at risk in areas where woody plants like fragile huckleberry and heather can be found.

You are right about one thing for sure, that people will be people - and as such tend to be careless - not intentionally, but careless, nonetheless - they go off walking through heather not thinking about impact.

As to spreading people out, at present that still would work, as there are many, many trails and areas that don't get much use. And in low use areas, the heather and other plants will regenerate, although it takes time. When I travel off trail, to the greatest extent possible I avoid walking in heather, low bush huckleberry, and in wet, mossy areas. I usually walk from stone to stone. How do you educate people to do that? At one time I thought about writing a guide book that would delineate perhaps a dozen cross-country routes and complement that with conversation about how to travel off trail in the mountains with environmental conscientiousness. But I decided such a book would do more harm than good.
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Pahoehoe
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PostTue Sep 24, 2019 6:42 am 
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Every reasonably traveled area will get social trails.

How many boots does it take to turn a spot to dust?  The 1000s in the enchantments are mostly stepping on someone else's preexisting impact.
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Cyclopath
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PostTue Sep 24, 2019 7:38 am 
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gb wrote:
When I travel off trail, to the greatest extent possible I avoid walking in heather, low bush huckleberry, and in wet, mossy areas. I usually walk from stone to stone. How do you educate people to do that?

Tell everyone how great light trail runners are and how boots have gone the way of the dodo.  You should see me tap dance across creeks trying to keep my feet dry.

I don't think you'll be able to convince many people to care about plants.  People are taught that human wants and needs come first among the community of life.  Some people begrudgingly accept that cute furry animals have a right to exist, but plants are a stretch.  Especially heather, you can see that in people's gardens.  I'm not saying this attitude is right, I'm saying it's a steep uphill battle.

But boots keep your feet dry in wet mossy areas, and have better grip.  My 6 oz Merrells take a while to dry out, and it's easier to walk around.

The reason I felt compelled to hike the Chants is everybody (especially on this forum) speaks like it's the best place in the state, probably in the PNW.
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