Forum Index > Trail Talk > Time for a permit system in areas of the Cascades?
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 5:05 pm 
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ree wrote:
Certain places in the Cascades are getting overrun.† Impact and crowding is becoming more evident

Yogi Berra wrote:
Nobody Goes There Anymore, Itís Too Crowded

The Robins are a location that has gotten a lot of "Enchantments refugees" folks that got skunked for a overnight permit to the Enchantments.

The differences in the trail between Tuck and Robin was quite notable between my trip in the '90s and my trip in 2015.  More amusing was the cluster of 20 tents camped tightly along the shore and creek between the two Robins.   I chose to walk another 1/2 mile and had an isolated camp with a great view of Mt Daniel.

Social Media does create intense usage at precisely those locations that are "Instagram famous"    However it is my observation that very little independent thinking is required to avoid the herd mentality.
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 6:57 pm 
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Public land is one of the best ideas America ever had.  Available to all.

I don't think being denied for permits to their birthright is going to encourage the next generation to care to preserve it.  If you can't get a permit that means it's not for you, it's for someone else.
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 7:11 pm 
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ree wrote:
Think of a long 10 mile hike in to a gorgeous alpine lake and finding SEVEN rafts floating on it.

It's happened to us!

This sounds like that time I drove to work, and other people were on the freeway too!

Those other people have as much right to enjoy that lake as you and I do.  And it's ok for them to enjoy it with rafts instead of only by hiking.

I don't think it's ok to say now that other people are enjoying the place too, we need to shut it down.
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Bosterson
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 8:39 pm 
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ree wrote:
Certain places in the Cascades are getting overrun.  Impact and crowding is becoming more evident.  Social media has definitely increased popularity of areas of the Cascades.  (Alpine Lakes Wilderness in particular.)  What do you think of a permit system?

Besides ameliorating impact, think of hiking 10 miles into a place, and finding only the crappiest camp left... If you find one at all.

Think of a long 10 mile hike in to a gorgeous alpine lake and finding SEVEN rafts floating on it.

It's happened to us!

So what do you think of a permit system? Yes/No/Maybe?

ree wrote:
I say yes.

Rec.gov does a good job of it in the Sierras.

I think it should be cheap, so as not to impact people in poverty.

I could really go on a big tirade about permits in North Cascades, but they should give it up to rec.gov too.  Their permit system is for the birds.

Alpine Lakes is long overdue for a permit system.  That place has been loved to death for years and everyone just stands by watching it happen.

I saw your other post about the TR you didn't write about this, and it was the Robin Lakes? I thought everyone knew that was a popular spot, and I don't even live in Seattle. When I went there in 2014, there were no free campsites by the lakes, but you can find other ones farther away (towards Trico) that are perfectly nice and zero people. The Granite Mtn Potholes look quite nice as well, didn't see anyone that way either. Instagram hordes don't really have the creative thinking to disperse, so they're easy to avoid.  wink.gif

Permit systems reduce access. Once they get instituted, they are a source of revenue for the FS and the systems are hard to undo. The FS is underfunded, but the solution is to elect better representatives rather than create "pay to play" permits. A great example of how this would play out is the Central Cascades thing in Oregon: they thought there might be an annual permit (like with the NWFP), but now they think not; all overnight use in all the wildernesses requires you to pay even if you're going somewhere where their quota isn't close to being met; even off trail users are supposed to pay, even if they're not going to the crowded spot. The fees add up quickly, and there's not much recourse for low income people except they might be able to apply for some "subsidized" permit to cement that they're lower class citizens. It's completely unclear what % of the permits will be reservable and what will be walk-in. The FS asks for "input" that they then ignore. Pretty much no one likes these permits except the FS leader who enacted them last year and then retired.

It doesn't sound like you actually encountered any real "loved to death" environmental degradation at the Robins; it's just crowded? (Ten miles is not enough distance to keep crowds away. Maybe suggest they barricade the road back down in Roslyn? Long approaches are a great disincentive.) Places have been crowded for a long time. I agree with others that crowds should be concentrated in the most popular areas to spare the overflow from everywhere else. Spreading people out via permits just makes other areas crowded, the end result being everywhere is crowded. (Permits also creates fake scarcity - look how extra popular the Enchantments are since only a tiny proportion of those that want to can go there these days.)

Rec.gov is also easily gamified by bots - note that now all permits for all sites in the Enchantments are booked for the entire season when the permits go live each spring. I went to the Enchantments in 2009 and back then you had to mail your piece of paper to the Leavenworth Ranger station and maybe call them on the phone. People with disposable income can easily reserve a permit they don't end up using; first come, first served (especially by having to show up) works well to incentivize those who really want it. But most lands need to be free and accessible. There are certainly problems with overuse, and people who learn about the outdoors from the internet and don't know about or practice LNT (that said, plenty of non internet people subscribe to the 1970s ideal of the rugged outdoorsperson who builds a fire whenever they go outdoors, so LNT training is really needed for everyone), but the first thing that could be done is to fund the FS properly and require them to build and maintain additional trails. A huge proportion of trail miles have been lost in the last 20-30 years. Fewer trail miles means fewer places for people to go.

So, no to mass permit systems. The FS will not enact the fair and equitable system you might hope for, and then you're stuck with paying $$ for permits you won't even be able to get. (Think the Enchantments system for the whole AL.) If you really want to cut back on the crowds, encourage the FS to close access roads - that 10 mile road walk approach will thin out the herd. Otherwise, it's easy to avoid crowds by going somewhere else.  smile.gif

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BigBrunyon
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 9:46 pm 
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A lot of people who don't get permits will just stay home and not go. They literally do not know that there are hikes outside of the Enchantments and other locales named in this thread! I've had conversations that prove this!! Like the guy at the gym who told me in April he was gonna be training all summer at the gym for an Enchantments attempt in September. And that he planned to ho back once or twice every summer for an annual hike to the same location. This was his idea of "getting into hiking". I know I joke about this a lot but it is true!!

This site is an echo chamber of people who actually know what the deal is. Every day Joe's do not know what the deal is outside of like 3 locations (two mentioned in this thread and the other being named "white lake" in spanish). I told him that the Enchantments are the only place to really see alpine scenery without requiring military level navigation skills.

Most people think there are three hikes in the cascades outside of north bend! And I'm lookin' to keep it that way!

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i ALWAYS camp at the upper lake!
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BigBrunyon
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 9:47 pm 
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Maybe 4, the other being a lake with a four letter name that starts with j.

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i ALWAYS camp at the upper lake!
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 9:53 pm 
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BigBrunyon wrote:
I told him that the Enchantments are the only place to really see alpine scenery without requiring military level navigation skills

😆
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 9:54 pm 
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Bosterson wrote:
Rec.gov is also easily gamified by bots

Federal campsites in and around SFO are already scooped up by bots.  Its pretty much impossible to obtain a site as a human.
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Sky Hiker
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 5:36 am 
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BigBrunyon wrote:
Maybe 4, the other being a lake with a four letter name that starts with j.

SHHHHHHHHH lol.gif
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Dharmabum
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 11:45 am 
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If you are smart and inconspicuous you can pretty much backpack and camp anywhere without a permit.
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nickmtn
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 12:30 pm 
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Can someone explain to me the rush to add a bureaucracy between us and some of the last truly free places on earth?

No permits now, no permits forever!
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Doppelganger
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 1:10 pm 
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nickmtn wrote:
Can someone explain to me the rush to add a bureaucracy between us and some of the last truly free places on earth?

Because some people keep trashing them. I think we would all prefer to self police, and the overwhelming majority of us are capable and responsible enough. So when the lowest common denominator keeps screwing things up for everyone else, do you just kick them out or (since we're a society and don't kick anyone out) just penalize everyone with the same permit system?
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BigBrunyon
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 2:11 pm 
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Dharmabum wrote:
If you are smart and inconspicuous you can pretty much backpack and camp anywhere without a permit.

Yup! I've always said: invest in some decent camo gear and the Enchantments are your oyster! Key here is to get two sets. Evergreen woods type color scheme for the approach and then change into a more gray/white/blue type deal behind one of those rocks at the base of asgaard for the core zone.

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Damian
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 2:28 pm 
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down.gif  Worst possible solution.
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Cyclopath
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 3:51 pm 
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A mountain goat Halloween costume is great camouflage.

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