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iRemeberToby
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 1:05 pm 
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Another thing to keep in mind is that the outdoors are simply becoming more popular across the board. Sure, there is a huge amount of interest in the Enchantments or the Wonderland Trail or the dozens of popular, "discovered" hiking spots...but let's not forget that usage is increasing even on lesser-used trails.

Imagine that you can't get an Enchantments permit, what are some alternatives? People often suggest Robin and Tuck Lakes or Jade and Marmot Lakes. The problem is that these hikes are now becoming super popular. So where do you go instead? I am aware of plenty of other Enchantments-like hikes that are less popular today (I won't post the names here), but what happens when those get popular?

The problem also isn't that:

a) A specific spot like the Enchantments becomes popular therefore
b) Traffic gets diverted away from other spots and towards the popular place

It's not just a matter of redirecting people, it's a matter of increased interest in hiking. More people hiking. More hikers who are hiking more often.

At some point we have to accept some combination of:

1) The trails we love are only going to get more crowded, and we need to accept this
2) More quota/permit/lottery systems
3) We increase the supply of trails (including, importantly, restoring old/lost trails) and/or campsites
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Randito
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 5:20 pm 
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Brian R wrote:
On the trail at MRNP

B/C Ranger: Hello, where you guys camping tonight? Can I see your back country permit?
Hiker: We're just out for a day trip.
B/C Ranger: But you're ten miles in. And you're carrying full packs.
Hiker: We're in training.

Yeah, some nitwits have tried that in the Enchantments , in MORA and in the Sierras.   It hasn't worked out well for them.   Rangers aren't idiots.

In high use areas they can even be picky about those free self issued wilderness day use permits.   I know folks that got $100 fines on the Snow Lake trail for not having free day use permits.

The top end fine for violation the camping permit rules are more severe at $5,000
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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 5:26 pm 
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5k will buy you 1000 lattes. I just have no inclination to try for the Chants anymore there are many similar areas in the Sierra and Rockies that have similar terrain. Even more in more obscure ranges in Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Just say no research the net, the truth is out there.

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themountainwhispers
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 5:27 pm 
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Just got our replies from the auto-daemon of early registration -- negative. I wonder if it was a very big year for submissions, Covid and all?

Thinking about walk-ups for the Wonderland.

Maybe a way the website and the ranger could both be right is if "walk-ups" will now be registered online, just max one day before?

Sounds like a recipe for some keyboard jockeying, but...

Any insight on this is welcome. OP, did you get in through the lottery?
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iRemeberToby
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 5:46 pm 
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Willis Wall, having seen the link you posted here, I checked out your website. What a fantastic resource. Thank you for sharing all of this information. If I have a question and you are kind of enough to answer, would it be best to PM you on this forum, or reach out to you through your website?
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williswall
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 8:02 pm 
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iRemeberToby wrote:
If I have a question and you are kind of enough to answer, would it be best to PM you on this forum, or reach out to you through your website?

Either is fine with me, hope I can help if a question comes up.

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williswall
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 8:19 pm 
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themountainwhispers wrote:
OP, did you get in through the lottery?

No, I have never done advance permits. Last year I planned on staying at Mowich Lake and White River, but I met a ranger on the way to Mowich and she said I could stay at the Mowich River camp if I wanted 'cause she knew it was open....so I did. Had the shelter to myself and nobody else was in the camp, in August. At White River I usually stay on the side porch of the ranger cabin but this year just used a picnic table. Consider that my days are long so I'm not bedding down until around 10 PM, and I'm getting up way before 6. So I just tell any rangers that ask exactly what I'm doing. It helps that my pack is tiny so anyone would assume I'm on a day hike.

One may argue that you are not camping....is it illegal to lay down or lean against a rock and take a nap along the way during the day? No. So for the last few years I haven't had a permit due to where I'm staying, having no tent and spending 4 or 5 hours napping. But I did get a permit last year for the Northern Loop Trail because I was hiking with a buddy and we planned on spending a night in a cross country zone. However, if you are schlepping a larger pack with a pad hanging off it your credibility of just resting for a few hours along the way is quite low. If you are going to play this permit and resting game you need to be able to cover large miles and spend most of your time on trail....upwards of 15-18 hours a day.  Being solo is almost a necessity. 2 or 3 people hiking together with obvious overnight packs just aint gonna cut it.

I'll just add that any permits I have procured since 2008 have been in cross country zones, not the backcountry camps. Having knowledge of the zones and where potential sites are is almost imperative, but not a necessity. And the rule still applies....anyone seeking a permit for the entire Wonderland cannot stay in cross country zones and must be in backcountry camps. Hope this all isn't too confusing.

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Brian R
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 8:29 pm 
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Randito wrote:
Brian R wrote:
On the trail at MRNP

B/C Ranger: Hello, where you guys camping tonight? Can I see your back country permit?
Hiker: We're just out for a day trip.
B/C Ranger: But you're ten miles in. And you're carrying full packs.
Hiker: We're in training.

Yeah, some nitwits have tried that in the Enchantments , in MORA and in the Sierras.   It hasn't worked out well for them.   Rangers aren't idiots.

In high use areas they can even be picky about those free self issued wilderness day use permits.   I know folks that got $100 fines on the Snow Lake trail for not having free day use permits.

The top end fine for violation the camping permit rules are more severe at $5,000

When rules become arbitrary and capricious, they get ignored. Still, the method I described above has worked for some when camping in XC zones, on high alpine traverses, or well away from designated campsites. While I would never support taking someone else's reserved campsite, I can understand why NPS/USFS rules are being scoffed more and more. Let's face it, "carrying capacity" always has been arbitrary. And I can't tell you how many times I've tried legitimate methods to book a site, unsuccessfully, only to find it unused on the night I requested. And if MRNP is going to let parts of the park become a friggin' race track for joggers, well, no, sorry Mr. Ranger, you can't see my ID. And I'm not required to carry it with me.
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Randito
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 8:43 pm 
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Brian R wrote:
well, no, sorry Mr. Ranger, you can't see my ID. And I'm not required to carry it with me.

That's true and it is also true that Rangers are law enforcement officiers and are authorized to detain you if you can't produce ID.

Someone I know is a LE Ranger at MORA -- during one of the goverment shutdowns  in recent years some scofflaws figured this would be a great time to poach some elk in the park -- he said the look on their faces as he pulled up to them on a snowmobile was priceless.    They faced some stiff fines.


If you look at the backcountry camping zones map for MORA there is quite a lot of areas that offer "unlimited" numbers of campers.    Most of these are thickly timbered and a good distance from the Wonderland.   

Realistically -- with 30% reserved for walk up permits -- it not really a problem for "locals" to do the Wonderland -- the online reservation system is more for people flying in to hike the Wonderland.
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Brian R
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 8:49 pm 
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Randito wrote:
Brian R wrote:
well, no, sorry Mr. Ranger, you can't see my ID. And I'm not required to carry it with me.

That's true and it is also true that Rangers are law enforcement officiers and are authorized to detain you if you can't produce ID.

Someone I know is a LE Ranger at MORA -- during one of the goverment shutdowns  in recent years some scofflaws figured this would be a great time to poach some elk in the park -- he said the look on their faces as he pulled up to them on a snowmobile was priceless.    They faced some stiff fines.

No, they can't detain you without cause. (And I would thoroughly enjoy my day in court. And the civil case that followed.) In any event, most back country rangers are not LE.

Poaching is a serious crime--and is a far cry from just going for a hike.  Consider this: would you tolerate a police officer demanding to see your ID, for no reason, while walking down a sidewalk in Bellevue?  "Your papers please." Of course not. Then why do we think it's ok in a national park? Are we somehow "less free" there?
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Brian R
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 9:10 pm 
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Malachai Constant wrote:
5k will buy you 1000 lattes. I just have no inclination to try for the Chants anymore there are many similar areas in the Sierra and Rockies that have similar terrain. Even more in more obscure ranges in Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Just say no research the net, the truth is out there.

Good point. The Cabinet Mountains will soon be my home range. How nice it will be to get away from all this.
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Randito
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 9:13 pm 
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Brian R wrote:
is a far cry from just going for a hike.

Your prior argument hasn't been about hiking, it has been about camping without a permit.   

Yeah if you are actively hiking a ranger is unlikely to stop and demand to see your permit.   But if you stop at some point and roll out your sleeping gear -- that's when a ranger could ask to see your permit and if you didn't have one -- demand that you pack up and leave or face a fine.      There have been a number of cases in the Enchantments of folks hiking out in darkness to avoid being fined. 

If you want to pull the "you can't make me show ID" thing or in general not respect the authority of the rangers -- it sounds like you are white and have no fear that a law enforcement officier might over apply a choke hold to subdue "a  dangerous man" that was resisting arrest.
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Brian R
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 9:44 pm 
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Randito wrote:
it sounds like you are white . . .

Assumptions are a funny thing, Randito/RandyHiker/Tvashtarketena. Comprendes? As for camping without a permit, well, all I can say is go for a drive and look around. You won't have to travel very far, I'll bet. A local park? The library sidewalk? Rules are rules. Right? But good on you! I think it's great we still have hall monitors out there.
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williswall
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 9:46 pm 
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Randito wrote:
Yeah if you are actively hiking a ranger is unlikely to stop and demand to see your permit.

Well every time a ranger has asked to see a permit I have been actively hiking (MORA).

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Randito
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PostThu Mar 18, 2021 9:58 pm 
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Brian R wrote:
As for camping without a permit, well, all I can say is go for a drive and look around.

Pretty typical for the  "inconvenience is oppression" crowd to equate their "outrage" at not being able to engage in their pleasure pursuit at the drop of a hat with the plight of people that have not the means for secure housing.
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