Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekends

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drm
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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by drm » March 8th, 2018, 9:09 am

It's all about the parking situation. The way people walk along the side of the road from the better part of a mile, in sections where there basically is no shoulder, is just crazy.

They could also solve the problem by pesticiding all the flowers and killing them. :o

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arlohike
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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by arlohike » March 21st, 2018, 11:54 pm

It looks like the new permits are needed for the lower Augspurger Trail, too. That was on my to do list for the coming weeks, so I just made a reservation for April 1 to try out the system. Here's a more direct link:

https://www.recreation.gov/tourParkDeta ... kId=158592

It will be interesting to see how this works and if the idea spreads to other crowded trailheads. Personally I wouldn't mind a modest fee and some advance planning in exchange for a better shot at parking. Wondering if I've left to late to find a parking spot is often an anxious prelude to a hike for me. The Oregon Gorge trailheads are full by 11 am on rainy winter weekends; I can't imagine what it's like hiking there in the summer, because I haven't even tried. On the other hand, I've found the Washington side hikes to be surprisingly uncrowded this winter. Maybe that's just because I keep going on lousy weather days.

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retired jerry
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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by retired jerry » March 22nd, 2018, 5:10 am

Catherine Creek is nice

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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by Bosterson » March 22nd, 2018, 8:54 am

arlohike wrote: It will be interesting to see how this works and if the idea spreads to other crowded trailheads. Personally I wouldn't mind a modest fee and some advance planning in exchange for a better shot at parking. Wondering if I've left to late to find a parking spot is often an anxious prelude to a hike for me. The Oregon Gorge trailheads are full by 11 am on rainy winter weekends; I can't imagine what it's like hiking there in the summer, because I haven't even tried. On the other hand, I've found the Washington side hikes to be surprisingly uncrowded this winter. Maybe that's just because I keep going on lousy weather days.
The "modest fee" you suggest is one more layer of bureaucracy in between people and access to public lands, not to mention the "pay to play" aspect for access to land that we are all supposed to be able to access for free. If you are anxious about finding weekend TH parking (at 11am...?), the solution is.... to get there earlier. Even Angel's Rest has parking spaces at 6am. If the popular THs are too crowded.... go somewhere else. There are more than three trailheads in the Gorge (usually... right now that's probably accurate...).

The WA side has already been slammed on nice weekend days due to the fact that nothing on the Oregon side (even areas east of the fire closure) has been reopened. This will only worsen as the weather improves. This Dog permit system does nothing to address that, and, I would guess, will make it worse. While some people may be incentivized to reserve a permit up front (like you did), and others who show up and realize they can't just park and hike will be willing to drive back to Stevenson and take the shuttle (presuming they only want to hike during its limited hours), I will hypothesize that depending on how well they enforce the Dog permits, a lot of Dog hikers will actually just bail and go to other nearby THs (eg, Catherine Creek). The upshot is that rather than concentrating hikers on Dog (please! do this! the more people at Dog, the less everywhere else!!), the permits will "reduce crowding" at Dog by increasing it elsewhere... especially if the FS is unwilling to open the undamaged or easy to fix trails in the near future.
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Water
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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by Water » March 22nd, 2018, 9:40 am

preach it!!!

advanced planning. For your sake I hope April 1 isn't a lousy day. But for those who think advanced planning jeff park or obsidian or msh etc is to their ultimate benefit, i present to you the weather, the snow pack, and other variables you cannot know in advance. Myself, if I want advanced planning I prefer to advance plan myself, and have some backup dates in case conditions or whatever variables might be in play point to a less than ideal trip, than be forced to plan an outdoors excursion months and months in advance all other variables be damned.
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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by Guy » March 22nd, 2018, 10:26 am

Bosterson wrote: The WA side has already been slammed on nice weekend days due to the fact that nothing on the Oregon side (even areas east of the fire closure) has been reopened. This will only worsen as the weather improves. This Dog permit system does nothing to address that, and, I would guess, will make it worse. While some people may be incentivized to reserve a permit up front (like you did), and others who show up and realize they can't just park and hike will be willing to drive back to Stevenson and take the shuttle (presuming they only want to hike during its limited hours), I will hypothesize that depending on how well they enforce the Dog permits, a lot of Dog hikers will actually just bail and go to other nearby THs (eg, Catherine Creek). The upshot is that rather than concentrating hikers on Dog (please! do this! the more people at Dog, the less everywhere else!!), the permits will "reduce crowding" at Dog by increasing it elsewhere... especially if the FS is unwilling to open the undamaged or easy to fix trails in the near future.
Amen!

Also this first year there is a good chance this will make the Dog Mt trailhead and SR14 more dangerous.

I'll bet real money a lot of people will show up to hike and not know about the new rules.

Drive to TH which is full
Park on SR14 walk to TH
Ranger says no permit no go
Walk back on SR14
Drive back to White Salmon
Fight crowds for a bus
Give up drive to another trailhead.

There is a potential for a lot more driving time waiting and just general and faffing around!!
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arlohike
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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by arlohike » March 22nd, 2018, 2:56 pm

Guy wrote: There is a potential for a lot more driving time waiting and just general and faffing around!!
This could cause confusion and redundant effort in the short term, as with any new system or process. But as people learn about the system, it should reduce the kind of chaos you're describing, which is currently happening not due to the permits but due to the overwhelming demand.
Bosterson wrote: The "modest fee" you suggest is one more layer of bureaucracy in between people and access to public lands, not to mention the "pay to play" aspect for access to land that we are all supposed to be able to access for free.
If there literally isn't enough room at some trailheads for all the cars that people want to put there, then what's a better system:

1) Everybody gambles and if they don't score a spot, they park illegally, or keep driving from trailhead to trailhead until they find something.
2) People make reservations and then they'll have a better idea of whether their plans are realistic or if they should research other options.

The same number of cars are parking there either way, which means the same number of people are hiking either way. It's just a matter of how much uncertainty and improvising everyone has to deal with to get on the trail. If we're all about access for all, why is #1 better than #2?

Sure, buying a day pass adds a step, but to me that feels easier and more accessible than trying to squeeze my car into a questionable spot at a crowded trailhead and then spending my hike wondering how I'll get home if my car gets towed.

Please note that my comments are based on a hypothetical idea of how this could work, not how the system actually works, because it hasn't started yet. I was curious to give it a try and the reservation process was pretty easy. Ideally it would have a similar benefit as those red and green lights in the parking garage at PDX, where you can look down the row and see if a parking spot is empty, rather than driving up and down all the rows, or like the info signs on the interstate that tell you which of two routes is currently less congested.
Water wrote: Myself, if I want advanced planning I prefer to advance plan myself, and have some backup dates in case conditions or whatever variables might be in play point to a less than ideal trip, than be forced to plan an outdoors excursion months and months in advance
I didn't say advance planning is a benefit; on the contrary, I'd rather not have to. But compared to the uncertainty of whether or not I'll actually be able to hike from the trailhead I'm driving to, it's the lesser of evils IMO.

I guess different people are stressed out by different things. Online reservations don't stress me out, but overfull parking areas do.
Last edited by arlohike on March 22nd, 2018, 3:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Guy
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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by Guy » March 22nd, 2018, 3:12 pm

Yet from this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=26417

The words of Stan Hinatsu USFS Recreation Manager in the Gorge:
Stan Hinatsu had this to say regarding some of my concerns about the limited permits causing people to be turned away.

"That said, people with permits to hike on the trail system will not be turned away. Some of them may end up parking along SR-14 where it is legal to do so. It is unlikely that people who make a reservation and drive to the site would choose to leave because they have to park along SR-14. There may be a small amount of parking lot overflow, but the permit system will greatly reduce the amount of overflow and the distance people will need to walk to access the trail, thereby addressing some of the associated safety concerns."
I see a extra steps & added complication but I don't see how it reduces problems with parking and traffic on SR14.
Just my 2 cents though :)
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arlohike
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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by arlohike » March 23rd, 2018, 12:37 pm

BTW, was this sign another attempt to reduce the crowds? LOL...
IMG_4741_smaller.jpg

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Re: Dog Mountain now requires permits on peak season weekend

Post by adamschneider » March 23rd, 2018, 2:11 pm

arlohike wrote:BTW, was this sign another attempt to reduce the crowds? LOL...
Some variation on that sign has been there for a long time. Makes no sense to me... I think the choices should be labeled "boring" (left) and "scenic" (right).

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