Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Always
17
25%
Yes, if there's a form left in the box
39
58%
Only if it's a busy trailhead
0
No votes
Only if I'm backpacking
3
4%
Rarely, it's too much trouble
3
4%
Never, it's too intrusive
0
No votes
Never for protest or political reasons
5
7%
 
Total votes: 67

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drm
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by drm » August 7th, 2019, 9:24 am

Guy wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 7:30 am
drm wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 7:08 am

But I would add that surveys done by the FS showed very strong support for those regulations.
Hi Dean, I'm sure the surveys done by the forest service did show strong support, I bet that was a forgone conclusion and easily achieved by how and what you ask.
And this is based on what? Do you even know one single solitary FS ranger at a personal level that you can comment on what motivates them? It's one thing to disagree with their policies and process, but I see a lot of attacks on people here. I happen to know quite a few of them, camped out on Mt Adams with a group of rangers recently on a trip to monitor campsite conditions in the backcountry. It's very convenient to think there are conspiracies against you when in actuality there are just other people who simply disagree. There is a lot of that going on these days. But I'm not going to get into that any more. I'm outa this conversation, I made my point. FS folks may be wrong, but they are not evil or against you. Their job is virtually impossible.

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kepPNW
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by kepPNW » August 7th, 2019, 10:23 am

drm wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 7:08 am
I saw a Forest Service presentation that showed that the number of visitors in those Central Oregon locations had increased by a factor of five over just five years, and that did contribute to the move to the new regulations. So those concerns are true. I do not know if those numbers are based solely on permits or not.
This recollection is what drove me to go searching in the first place. Somewhere, here on this board, is a post that dives into those numbers, and compares them to actual conditions on the ground. The hypothesis presented in that post was that the comparisons were rather cherry-picked, with the "low" base year numbers occurring in very high snow years with late melt-out, and the "high" numbers occurring in a year with virtually no snow at all which allowed far greater accessibility for most of the permit season. Not making accusations this was fully intentional, but such choices left non-normalized would certainly lead to rather inaccurate assessments of the "overcrowding" issue.
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Water
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by Water » August 7th, 2019, 11:22 am

drm wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 7:08 am
I see this a lot, it's the same wrt bathrooms at trailheads for example. People with different use patterns have very different priorities with what they want from the FS, but have a hard time accepting that other people feel differently.
With respect to your trip reports, contributions, and participation here and online, which I appreciate. And I'm sure I have certainly bristled you with my talk 'against' the Forest Service, so I am sorry if it feels personal. But as an institution, it's like dogging on Walmart, there is plenty of criticism to go around, and when speaking about the institution it is focused at higher levels than at field workers and rangers. The FS has an immense degree of culpability for all sorts of 'problems' they have today that are due to their own policies of the past and decisions gone forward. But it sure seems to externalize them to factors beyond their control.

I mean they've gotten rid of trails and free campgrounds etc along roads, in the same time frame that usage increases, then they say people don't disburse enough. It's totally ludicrous. Look at an old map of Gifford Pinchot to see all sorts of abandoned trails and campgrounds. That's not the only FS district with that issue.

Secondly you've said the surveys show people like TH bathrooms multiple times. To question how this information is arrived at doesn't mean I think there's any conspiracy or agenda against people who 'just want to hike'. It's statistics and marketing 101, the framing and context are extremely important. You can't take umbrage to ask that an actual example of one of these surveys would go a long way to validate that the FS has actually independently arrived at that a significant user base of National Forests want a bathroom at the TH as their #1 priority when they step out of bed in the morning and think about the national forest trip they're about to take. I am sure there are some people. But if it is framed in the context of 'what amenities do you value at a TH' - or people have a selection of 7 options and other with a notes field isn't one of them..etc you're going to get skewed responses. It doesn't have to be a malicious agenda that they'd get this response. It could span any mix from pure incompetence to having their hands tied/narrow directive due to statute or management aims.

I have no doubt someone could put together a survey with certain framing and options that if you reviewed my responses I'd sound like I'm hugely in favor extreme permitting and regulation for all public land. It wouldn't even have to be malicious or aiming for that result so to speak. If someone just wanted information about how people interact about permits and had no options to say 'no to permits' you could get there with responses from me.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most 1 being least:
"how bothered am I if I find someone in an area which I have a permit for but they do not" 10
"it is important to me that I can reschedule my permits if I need to" 10
"being able to buy a permit online ahead of time to schedule my date is important to me" 10

etc etc etc.

Like the central oregon permit debacle that looks for input on a system in which people will be PAYING to enter the wilderness, but any comment on the impacts of cost is 'outside of scope'. Rarely have a seen such a consequential, infuriating, and grossly incompetent example of putting the cart before the horse. Whether that is entirely congresses fault for the guidelines which the FS must operate under or the DS supervisors going on the sequence they want to, I don't know, but it's totally backwards.
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Guy
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by Guy » August 7th, 2019, 1:37 pm

drm wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 9:24 am
And this is based on what? Do you even know one single solitary FS ranger at a personal level that you can comment on what motivates them? It's one thing to disagree with their policies and process, but I see a lot of attacks on people here. I happen to know quite a few of them, camped out on Mt Adams with a group of rangers recently on a trip to monitor campsite conditions in the backcountry. It's very convenient to think there are conspiracies against you when in actuality there are just other people who simply disagree. There is a lot of that going on these days. But I'm not going to get into that any more. I'm outa this conversation, I made my point. FS folks may be wrong, but they are not evil or against you. Their job is virtually impossible.
Hey Dean, my criticism is not against you or individual forest rangers, my apologies if that is how it came across. That being said I've taken those trailhead questionnaires both on Mt Hood and the Strawberry Mt Wilderness. In every case the questions were framed in such a way that it was easier to get answers that would make it look like you were supporting less people on the trail even if you were not.

I was also involved in the protests against the Mt Hood District when they tried to introduce a permit system some 15 to 20 years ago. Then too they tried to argue that people were overwhelmingly for it which simply was not true. the USFS Building in Sandy was overrun with people when they held a public meeting on a Saturday & nobody there expect the USFS employees were for the system.
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jessbee
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by jessbee » August 7th, 2019, 2:07 pm

drm wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 9:24 am
Guy wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 7:30 am
drm wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 7:08 am

But I would add that surveys done by the FS showed very strong support for those regulations.
Hi Dean, I'm sure the surveys done by the forest service did show strong support, I bet that was a forgone conclusion and easily achieved by how and what you ask.
And this is based on what? Do you even know one single solitary FS ranger at a personal level that you can comment on what motivates them? It's one thing to disagree with their policies and process, but I see a lot of attacks on people here. I happen to know quite a few of them, camped out on Mt Adams with a group of rangers recently on a trip to monitor campsite conditions in the backcountry. It's very convenient to think there are conspiracies against you when in actuality there are just other people who simply disagree. There is a lot of that going on these days. But I'm not going to get into that any more. I'm outa this conversation, I made my point. FS folks may be wrong, but they are not evil or against you. Their job is virtually impossible.
While I agree the the FS' job is impossible, I do feel like the public input process regarding the Central Oregon Cascades Wilderness permit system was absolutely decided ahead of time with little regard for public input.

I attended all the meetings and was one of the 40 people who bothered to follow through in the objections process.

The public meetings were not designed to facilitate discussion or garner feedback, they were basically telling us what they were planning on doing. And the strategy they used to make us feel like they're doing us a favor by "only permitting 19 trailheads for day use" was to threaten to lock them all down. Then, "backed off" to the current plan.

That's psychology 101 stuff. They weren't there to listen.

There were plenty of people sharing objections for various reasons. And those who didn't seemed blissfully unaware of the unintended consequences such a permitting system is certain to have.

I've been volunteering at Green lakes trailhead all summer and I've learned a LOT about the people who use it.

Like hardly anyone researches anything before showing up. Few people understand that they're entering a wilderness area. They're not even sure how to fill out a free permit at the trailhead, let alone plan ahead and buy one online.

You think all those people are just going to wise up and figure out (and buy into) the system next year? Without significant enforcement? No way!

A bit of a side rant, I know, but the people who will suffer most in the limited access model are the frequent users. The people who care the most about the wilderness.
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Bosterson
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by Bosterson » August 7th, 2019, 2:51 pm

jessbee wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 2:07 pm
While I agree the the FS' job is impossible, I do feel like the public input process regarding the Central Oregon Cascades Wilderness permit system was absolutely decided ahead of time with little regard for public input.
I will second this. In all the meetings and comment discussions we did, it always seemed like they were only "listening" to fulfill a legal requirement, and the outcome was already a given. On the conference calls for objectors, people would describe their objections for many minutes and then the FS people (mainly John Allen, if I recall) would respond with why that was untrue, how their (at that time only proposed) system would work, etc. No one ever said that an objection was reasonable or a good idea or that the FS was overstepping. And as Matt noted, all objections raised about problems with fees, how fees would be administered, etc, were dismissed as being "outside the scope." That objection process wasn't quite on a Kafka level, but it was about as pointlessly bureaucratic as it gets.
jessbee wrote:I've been volunteering at Green lakes trailhead all summer and I've learned a LOT about the people who use it.

Like hardly anyone researches anything before showing up. Few people understand that they're entering a wilderness area. They're not even sure how to fill out a free permit at the trailhead, let alone plan ahead and buy one online.
Sigh.
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retired jerry
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by retired jerry » August 7th, 2019, 3:15 pm

The forest service employees are fine people

Some of them have bad ideas, at least I disagree with them

They are being financially squeezed which makes things more difficult

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kepPNW
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by kepPNW » August 7th, 2019, 4:41 pm

retired jerry wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 3:15 pm
The forest service employees are fine people
As are most people, in general, yes! Only takes a few royal you-know-whats, especially when put in positions to make decisions, to really foul things up. (Need I point to the example-in-chief?)
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retired jerry
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by retired jerry » August 7th, 2019, 9:36 pm

usually there are decent people, then complicated circumstances that lead to a ridiculous seeming solution. If you knew the circumstances leading up to it, it would make more sense.

There is a fundamental difference of opinion. If the Wilderness gets crowded, do you restrict usage or try to manage the crowds acknowledging you're losing some of the wilderness ambience. I agree with the latter but restricting usage is an honest opinion.

There are some people though I'll agree aren't decent.

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drm
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Re: Do you register when entering a wilderness area?

Post by drm » August 8th, 2019, 6:49 am

First of all, I did not mean to suggest that I took FS criticism personally against me. I was defending the bulk of FS personnel who are doing that impossible job. Yes, statistics can be constructed, intentionally or unintentionally, to mean many things. I was responding to the claim that it was a foregone conclusion.

Regarding whether to limit visitation for crowded areas, note that part of the definition of wilderness in the Wilderness Act includes "has outstanding opportunities for solitude." So I think it is a valid position to say that proper regulation of wilderness limits access when a part of any designated wilderness gets really popular. I completely acknowledge how complicated this gets in the real world, and that how you actually do that if you do is important, there are many ways to do so. I would add that the previous effort to limit access in central Oregon lasted, what, two years? They saw it just wasn't working and dropped that plan. Now they are trying something new. Maybe it won't last either. It wasn't my intention to defend the system they are putting in place or the process to how they got it.

I'm really only trying to say that we leave the personal motivations of people out of it, and I know that is hard. I'm a very political person. I work in campaigns, I sometimes have been a campaign manager at the local level. One of my rules is not to guess at motivations of my opponents because whatever I can do, reading minds is not one of them. But it's a rule I don't always succeed at following. So I get that.

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