Here is a second document which I can't find on Inyo's website:Inyo National Forest - Wilderness Permit Reservations - Changes for 2012 - Talking Points and Frequently Asked QuestionsTalking Points
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the National Recreation Reservation Service or NRRS?
- Due to changes in computer server capability, as well as national contract obligations, the Inyo National Forest moved the Wilderness Permit and Reservation program to NRRS on December 9, 2011.
- ReserveAmerica is the contractor that handles the online and call center reservations for the NRRS.
- The starting point for obtaining an Ansel Adams, Golden Trout or John Muir Wilderness Permit reservation, including Mt. Whitney reservations/permits, is Recreation.gov.
- The Inyo National Forest will no longer accept permit reservations over the phone, through the mail, or by FAX.
- The existing Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit office will be staffed to provide wilderness information and night box issuing service, as well as provide trip planning and current condition information. They will continue to issue wilderness permits and reservations for commercial outfitter guides and pack stations. The Wilderness Permit Office employees will be the conduit for information from the Inyo National Forest to ReserveAmerica and thus Recreation.gov.
- The process for converting a reservation into a permit will remain the same as in past years with wilderness visitors picking up their permits at local visitor centers.
- The move to the NRRS will enhance public service and customer convenience in the following ways:
- Online reservation service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Call Center is available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Time in the summer and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Time in the winter.
- Increased customer convenience and security through a user-controlled application process.
- The NRRS Call Center, the Wilderness Permit Office, and Forest Service visitor centers are available for assistance.
- Forest Service staff on the Inyo National Forest are still available to provide local information and trip planning.
- The fees associated with making an Inyo Wilderness Reservation have changed:
- Reservation fees were $5/person and $15/person for the Whitney Zone. These fees will remain the same; however a $6/permit transaction fee will now be assessed to cover the cost of processing online reservations.
- Fee for adding to group size remains the same and is $5/person or $15/ person for the Mt Whitney Zone. Customers can cancel reservations and receive a refund of fees, as long as the cancellation occurs at least 22 days prior to the date of entry, except that no refunds will be issued for changes to reservations on the main Mt. Whitney trail for either overnight or day use.
- Reservations can be changed in less than 22 days prior to date of entry but fees will be forfeited.
- The reservation fee ($5/person, $15/person Whitney Zone) will be used for on the ground wilderness management, wilderness education, and wilderness information and trip planning at the visitor centers and Wilderness Permit Office.
- The $6 transaction fee will go to the NRRS to cover their processing fee. This is not refundable.
The NRRS is part of the E-Gov Recreation One-Stop Initiative and offers one-stop shopping to the public for a wide range of federal recreation areas, facilities and opportunities involving campgrounds, cabins, parks, and tours of national sites, historic homes and caves. Participating agencies include the Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Records and Archives Administration.
This multi-agency approach for one-stop shopping for federal recreation site reservations, provided under a contract administered by the Forest Service, capitalizes on designing a convenient, flexible, secure and responsive service to provide recreation reservations.What is Recreation.gov?
Recreation.gov serves as the Federal Government's on-line recreation and trip planning portal for a variety of recreation information and reservations on public lands. There is a large amount of recreation data, information and assistance available through Recreation.gov. It will be the main link to the reservation for an Inyo Wilderness Permit. This includes John Muir (including Mt. Whitney zone), Ansel Adams, and limited entry quota trails accessing Golden Trout Wilderness. Who is ReserveAmerica?
ReserveAmerica is the contractor the NRRS will be using to provide customers with Inyo Wilderness Permit Reservations. What is the benefit to the public in moving Inyo Wilderness Permit Reservations to the NRRS?
Through the NRRS the public will be able to make advanced reservations on-line (www.recreation.gov
) 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Those without Web access, or who prefer not to use the Web, have the options of either using the NRRS Call Center or visiting a designated Forest Service office on the Inyo National Forest. Anyone who needs extra assistance for trip planning will still be able to contact the Forest Service for more information. The new system will also allow for changes to group size online, through the call center and in person at Forest Service visitor centers. All other changes (entry date or trail and Trail Crest exit) are accomplished by canceling and re-booking the desired space. Refunds will be allowed for non Mt. Whitney trips as long as the changes are made at least 22 days prior to the date of entry. Changes can be made 21 days or less before the trip, however there will be no refund when you cancel and re-book.
Security measures are in place to streamline the procedure and reduce handling of funds by numerous employees.How reliable is this new program?
The NRRS has been managing reservations, lottery, and permitting programs for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and 4 Rivers Permit Lottery with a great deal of success and customer satisfaction. The NRRS has been managing reservations for campgrounds, cabins and tour centers throughout the country for many years. In Region 5 the Desolation Wilderness Reservation and Permit program has recently transferred to NRRS and in the future you may see many other wilderness areas using this system for overnight permitting.Is my personal information I enter on Recreation.gov kept confidential?
The NRRS will be able to utilize state of the art technology to offer online services computer capability to handle a reservation system which will no longer be available on the Inyo National Forest due to a change in computer server capability.What were some of the concerns with the old permit reservation system?
Visitors wanting to make a reservation were only able to call, FAX or mail a request to the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office. Permit Reservations were only processed during business hours. The Wilderness Permit Office has not offered internet permit reservations.How do I find Inyo National Forest Wildernesses and Trails on the Recreation.gov website?
Beginning on December 9, 2011 visitors can navigate to the Recreation.gov website.
From the Recreation.gov home page, under the
"Search for Places"
enter: Inyo National Forest
(pick INYO NF - FS, CA
and Select Permits & Wilderness
and click on Search
To preview the Mt. Whitney Lottery site, enter Mt. Whitney
and Permits & Wilderness
.What if I have problems or questions when I'm entering my permit?
The NRRS portal contractor provides customer service both online and through a call center available to assist customers. The Call Center number is 1-877-444-6777. How will the NRRS know about wilderness conditions and provide the information I may need for my trip?
The Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office staff will create alert notices posted by the NRRS contractor to inform the applicant of current conditions and notices. They will be able to handle updates in a very quick efficient manner by posting information on Recreation.gov. There will be links on Recreation.gov to access more detailed information on the Inyo National Forest website. Wilderness visitors may still contact the Wilderness Permit Office and visitor centers offices directly for more detailed information and assistance with trip planning.Can I still call the permit offices that I have worked with before?
Yes, the Wilderness Permit Office will still be available and able to help with your questions and trip planning.How do I pay my Reservation Fees for an Inyo Wilderness Permit?
You will be able to make those payments online with a credit or debit card in a secure program that will inform you immediately if there is an error with an incorrect number or entry. Reservation fees are paid at the time the reservation is made, directly to the contractor Recreation.gov. All of the reservation fees collected are directed back to an account established by Inyo National Forest to directly support wilderness management.
The $6 Transaction fee, also paid to Recreation.gov at the time the reservation is made, is retained by Recreation.gov to cover the cost of processing online reservations. What payment methods are accepted through Recreation.gov?
Recreation.gov accepts payment by credit or debit card, including: VISA, Master Card, Discover and American Express. A Customer's monthly credit card statements will reflect "Recreation.gov 888-448-1474" for reservation transactions.How are the fees I pay utilized?
The Permit Reservation fees collected for the Inyo National Forest will continue to support wilderness ranger patrols, visitor information services, educational programs, and other on-the-ground wilderness management. Ninety-five percent of the reservation fees collected stays on the Forest where they are collected and 5% goes to the Pacific Southwest Region for program support and grants back to the units for specific projects.How do I get my printed permit?
You will receive a confirmation letter by email after making a reservation. This is NOT your permit. Fourteen (14) calendar days prior to your date of entry, you should go on line and confirm your group size. At this time you can change your permit pick up location and check for alerts to current conditions. Open the confirmation letter for full instructions for night box service and permit pickup locations. Permits need to be picked up in person during normal office hours. Your permit is not valid until signed.Will I be able to make changes to my permit after I make my reservation?
Yes, you will be able to change your group size online, or cancel and re-book a new reservation with a refund up to 22 days prior to your entry date. There Are No Refunds for the Mt. Whitney trail or Mt. Whitney Zone Day Use reservations. If you do not have computer access, contact the Call Center. One day before your entry date, changes can be made in person at Forest Service visitor centers. Will I be able to cancel my permit if my plans change?
You will be able to cancel your reservation through NRRS. If the cancellation is greater than 22 days from your planned date of entry, you will receive a refund of reservation fees, except for the Mt. Whitney Trail and Mt. Whitney Day Use Reservations. The $6 Transaction Fee is non-refundable. If you cancel less than 22 days in advance, the reservation fees will be non-refundable as well.Will walk-in permits still be available at Forest Service visitor centers and ranger stations?
60% of the available quota for each trail during the quota season (May 1 to November 1) will be available for advanced reservation. One day before the entry date, all unused reservation space and the remaining quota will be available on a walk-in basis at Inyo National Forest visitor centers. Where are the Forest Service Visitor Centers that offer Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permits, both reserved and walk-in?
- Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center, Junction of Hwy 395 and State Route 36, 2 miles south of Lone Pine, CA, 760-876-6200 or TDD 760-876-6201
- White Mountain Ranger Station, 798 North Main Street, Bishop, CA, 760-873-2500 or TDD 760-873-2501
- Mammoth Welcome Center, 2500 Main Street, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 760-924-5500 or TDD 760-924-5531
- Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, Hwy 395, north of Lee Vining, CA, 760-647-3044 or TDD 760-647-3045 (open generally April 1-December 1)