Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

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Charley
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Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by Charley » November 16th, 2018, 12:39 am

There's a lively discussion over here. . .

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=27890&view=unread#unread

. . . about the wisdom or effects of the proposed restrictions on hiker access to Central Oregon Wildernesses.

One question has arisen that I believe is worthy of its own thread:

Are similar restrictions coming to the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness or Mt Hood Wilderness? The reason I think this is a useful question is that, for us Portlanders, the Central Oregon Wildernesses are relatively distant. We visit them, say 1-5 times a year. As Jessbee pointed out, many of the soon-to-be-regulated 79 trailheads comprise the most easily access wilderness trailheads outside of Bend: they're near, their roads are paved, and they provide access to terrific trails.

If these trails are too crowded and require these onerous restrictions, can someone please give me a justification of why the many trails in our own backyard would not qualify? In other words, for legal and managerial consistency, wouldn't every single trailhead on the Oregon side of the Gorge qualify for similar protections?

In that case, how would you feel if you had to pay $10 on recreation.gov to hike up Angel's Rest? What about filling out a permit to ski above the Palmer lift building on Mt Hood? How do you feel about paying $5-10 per person per day every time you'd like to snowshoe of White River Canyon? Every single time, mind you. As regards the Gorge, your access would be have to be mediated by recreation.gov, because there's no ranger station out there! This ain't like the NW Forest Pass.

Feel free to point out to me why this is different. I can't see a reason, myself. If Bendites deserve no better access than this plan allows, certainly we 2 million residents of the Portland Metro area are no different. I think this discussion among us mostly Portland resident needs to have that emotional honesty.

It's easy to be okay with imposing restrictions on a distant group of citizens. If that's the case, we should not, in turn, be surprised when we lose access next.

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adamschneider
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Re: Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by adamschneider » November 16th, 2018, 12:52 am

I'll be shocked if the prices in the Central Oregon project are $5+ for day hiking. Dog Mountain permits are $1.50; they're limiting access and covering their costs, not making a profit.

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jessbee
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Re: Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by jessbee » November 16th, 2018, 7:00 am

adamschneider wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 12:52 am
I'll be shocked if the prices in the Central Oregon project are $5+ for day hiking. Dog Mountain permits are $1.50; they're limiting access and covering their costs, not making a profit.
I won't. The pretend numbers used by the FS rangers in the meetings were usually between $5-10 per permit for day hiking.

They are specifically talking about making a profit because:
A. Most of the $$ goes to rec.gov, not the FS
B. They are taking about raising enough money to pay for enforcement, education and other positions.

I really do think that if more of you lived out here in Bend you'd be as fired up as I am.
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adamschneider
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Re: Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by adamschneider » November 16th, 2018, 7:30 am

jessbee wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 7:00 am
adamschneider wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 12:52 am
I'll be shocked if the prices in the Central Oregon project are $5+ for day hiking. Dog Mountain permits are $1.50; they're limiting access and covering their costs, not making a profit.
I won't. The pretend numbers used by the FS rangers in the meetings were usually between $5-10 per permit for day hiking.
Yikes. Well if that's the case, that would truly suck. Their Draft Decision PDF makes no mention of pricing.

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Charley
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Re: Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by Charley » November 16th, 2018, 7:50 am

adamschneider wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 7:30 am
jessbee wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 7:00 am
adamschneider wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 12:52 am
I'll be shocked if the prices in the Central Oregon project are $5+ for day hiking. Dog Mountain permits are $1.50; they're limiting access and covering their costs, not making a profit.
I won't. The pretend numbers used by the FS rangers in the meetings were usually between $5-10 per permit for day hiking.
Yikes. Well if that's the case, that would truly suck. Their Draft Decision PDF makes no mention of pricing.
It think we've been underestimating the fees. The following is from a footnote (hidden/downplayed in a footnote on page 128!) in one of the planning documents:
3 The fee associated with a permit is to be determined through a separate process pursuant to the Recreation
Enhancement Act. The total cost of a permit will be dependent on the administration cost charged by Recreation.gov
and if the Forest Service chooses to add additional fee for management purposes. Some fees associated with other
outdoor recreational activities for comparison purposes are: Three-day pass to Newberry National Volcanic Monument
$10; Crater Lake National Park one day pass $15 per car; Mt. Saint Helens climbing permit $22; Mt. Whitney climbing
permit $15.
That whole document is here (reminder, you'll only find this if you scroll through to a footnote on page 128):

So, $10-$20 is the ballpark. And again, if you live in Bend, for almost the entire hiking season, you'd be charged this amount every single time you went hiking in this area, unless you've got the kind of off-road vehicle capable of accessing alternate trailheads. This is not like another NW Forest Pass.

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Charley
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Re: Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by Charley » November 16th, 2018, 8:07 am

The whole process for filing an "objection" at this point is an absurd, Kafkaesque exercise; it may be that the only way to change this plan is for a concerted "no" vote on the fees.

If the public objection to the cost of this uniquely punitive quota and restriction scheme requires them to set the price low enough, it may be impossible for them to afford, especially since most of that money would just go straight to Recreation.gov, instead of the Wildernesses in question. As much as I want the FS to gain more funding and spend more money on trails, education, access, and whatnot, a single resident of Bend shouldn't have to pay $100 a year to go hiking 30 miles from their house 5 times a year. It's just absurd.

So, I think that's a useful strategy: the social justice argument may or may not be useful in Trump's Federal Government, but I think it might be useful with every single one of Oregon's Federal legislative delegation. If they can't charge the exorbitant amount they expect, this whole scheme might be unworkable.

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Bosterson
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Re: Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by Bosterson » November 16th, 2018, 9:34 am

jessbee wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 7:00 am
adamschneider wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 12:52 am
I'll be shocked if the prices in the Central Oregon project are $5+ for day hiking. Dog Mountain permits are $1.50; they're limiting access and covering their costs, not making a profit.
I won't. The pretend numbers used by the FS rangers in the meetings were usually between $5-10 per permit for day hiking.

They are specifically talking about making a profit because:
A. Most of the $$ goes to rec.gov, not the FS
B. They are taking about raising enough money to pay for enforcement, education and other positions.
$5-10 is my expectation as well. Dog Mountain isn't a good comparison; it's a temporary safety solution to address a parking (not overcrowding) issue. A better comparison is the Enchantments, which used to be $5/person/day and is now $10 I believe. Obsidian is $6, so that seems like a very likely number for the new permits... unless they decide to go with a higher fee and raise Obsidian to match it! I would be surprised if they tried to institute a "climbing" level permit fee (a la MSH and Mt. Whitney) just for day access to all these THs. That would be pretty nuts.
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Water
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Re: Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by Water » November 16th, 2018, 9:47 am

talk to someone 20 years ago about a permit to go climb north sister in early june or camping in late october around jeff park.. they would call the proposal we're facing today ludicrous and unbelievable. "you're saying I have to make a phone call, check if there's availability, punch in the dates I want, give a credit card number, and pay for my effort to 'backpack' there? And 20 years ago isn't that long.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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Re: Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by olderthanIusedtobe » November 16th, 2018, 12:47 pm

Bosterson wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 9:34 am
A better comparison is the Enchantments, which used to be $5/person/day and is now $10 I believe.
But there is currently no quota or additional fee beyond parking for day use of the Enchantments. Fees/quotas only apply to overnight users. That is a large distinction.

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Guy
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Re: Permits coming to the Gorge? Mt Hood?

Post by Guy » November 17th, 2018, 10:16 pm

jessbee wrote:
November 16th, 2018, 7:00 am
I really do think that if more of you lived out here in Bend you'd be as fired up as I am.
Yeah we all need to be fired up by this or it will be in the Gorge and Mt Hood before we blink. I've left followup comments but to to be honest I think that's pretty futile. They are going to do what they want unless they get political pressure.

Also left messages with my congressman and senators. No replies or acknowledgement from any of them yet :(

I'm totally pissed off by this.
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