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#2435 - 02/23/10 12:45 PM Look who has her hand in the cookie jar...
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States


I had been invited down to the Forest Service offices by Cindy Gervasoni to learn more about the Whitney Lottery process and photograph a few of the steps. Upon arrival and signing in, Cindy led me upstairs to their office, where I met the people behind the phones, Anna, Liz, and John. The small office had a number of boxes for organizing the onslaught of applications: one for charge cards, one for checks, one for the current day's mail. Envelopes from around the world, some screaming, "Pick me! Pick me!" covered the office door. Stamps of all shapes and sizes, organized by content, were reglued onto the huge application bin . One side of the box had a map of the world with arrows and stamps all pointing to Whitney.

At the end of the workday, the box was dragged into the back stairwell, all of us positioned down the stairs to make sure no applications were lost. Cindy stood poised with the leaf blower as John dug deep into the bin. All heck broke loose as John lofted the armful of applications into the air and Cindy blasted them with the blower, paper fluttering in all directions around us as I ducked and swerved to avoid getting covered, clicking pictures as fast as my flash would allow. As the chaos settled around us, we all gathered the papers at random and dumped them back into the bin, then dragged it back into the office. New applications would be pulled from the pile on Monday morning.

Cindy allowed me the honor of pulling one application (David, from Sparks, NV, watch for the hit on your credit card!) and processed it as I was there.

There is a full-time staff of two, supplemented by four work-study students and shared employees. The mountain of applications looms in the corner as they slowly choose, then enter the information one by one. They have an office pool where they guess how many applications can be processed in a day by each of them, interspersing the entries with answering phones to make all other reservations as well. Two large windows look east above Bishop to the White Mountains, allowing for natural light to fill the office space. Hundreds of applications processed, but the dent in the thousands of applications never seems to grow. Slowly, they are picking away at the pile. Patience is key.



And I can attest to the fact that there is NO preference for the locals... but I will say that they have a certain paperweight on their main table...



According to Cindy's stats:
5525 mail received
797 reservations made, now pending the fee collection stage
0 unsuccessful applications so far (some people are starting to get their second choice dates)

Thanks, Cindy, so very much for inviting me to see this process, and thanks to all those in the Forest Service office for working hard to protect our Sierra!

From the luckiest girl in the world: Pick fast, type faster! Can't wait to see the results!!


-L cool
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#2436 - 02/23/10 12:58 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: MooseTracks]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Wow Laura, that's great insight (and visualization) of a process we all wonder mightily about. Thanks for taking the time to clarify some of the mystery.

Now, for your second trip there I have a favor to ask . . .

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#2438 - 02/23/10 01:52 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: MooseTracks]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
That is really cool, Laura, and yes, an honor.
Insight into this process is really appreciated by many, I'm sure.

CaT
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If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#2441 - 02/23/10 02:42 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: CaT]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 370
Loc: Wildomar
Moosie visits the office, my card gets charged. Just sayin......................................

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#2443 - 02/23/10 05:10 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: DUG]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
We're not worthy!

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#2447 - 02/23/10 06:21 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: wbtravis]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
What a WONDERFUL story and pictures!!!!!!

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#2452 - 02/23/10 07:35 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: Ken]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Thanks Laura.
DUG !!!!!!! welcome back. I miss you buddy!!!!!!!

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#2461 - 02/24/10 05:22 AM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: MooseTracks]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 831
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
To the staff:

Thank you for all you do. I wondered how you did it, too. I like the leaf blower routine. One would never of thunk that is how you did it. Must be noisier than heck. Better get them earplugs!

It is nice knowing some people have fun doing the things they do and they contribute to someone's dream of hiking to the top for the first time.

Have fun (judging from the pictures you already do)
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#2463 - 02/24/10 06:25 AM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: MooseTracks]
Rosabella Offline


Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 16
Loc: Washington State
Yah.... I'd say you look a little guilty, digging thru the application box! grin

Laura, you end up on some of the most interesting trips! Thanks for posting the process... I'd always wondered about the lottery process and how they "shuffle and pick" - interesting.

It's nice to have some faces to attach to the people we've talked to. Every time I've spoke to Cindy or the rest of the staff they've been so helpful; they seem like a great bunch of people.

I got my "received postcard" back the other day... someone had written "good luck" on it! I thought that was a really thoughtful touch.

Rosie

P.S. Hey... look! We (Heid Family) made it to the "door"! Cool!!


http://rosabella.smugmug.com/gallery/7511168_nqaGr#796101228_NRi39-A-LB
(I can't figure out how to "post" the pics crazy ) ...edited by Steve C

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#2465 - 02/24/10 08:04 AM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: MooseTracks]
Rob Offline


Registered: 02/23/10
Posts: 2
Loc: SJC
grin grin grin

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#2466 - 02/24/10 08:07 AM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: MooseTracks]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 562
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Laura, Did you put mine on top as I asked? I'll leave the $20 at Doug's store.
Great Pics!
Joe
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If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#2500 - 02/25/10 12:49 AM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: MooseTracks]
Whitney Fan Offline


Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 213
Loc: Las Vegas
"but I will say that they have a certain paperweight on their main table..."

That is SO not right!

:-)

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#2501 - 02/25/10 04:54 AM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: MooseTracks]
hikehigh Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 28
Loc: 20.12345 -101.12345
I demand a recount!
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#2505 - 02/25/10 06:45 AM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: hikehigh]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 370
Loc: Wildomar
A quote from another forum- "Now Dug, why would you want to get everyone so excited? No cards have been charged yet."

My reply - I called my card issuer last night. I won't bore you with the details, but my credit card, which has only been used twice before WAS charged for 75 dollars (the amount 5 permit reservations should cost) on 22 Feb (during the Whitney permit lottery season). I ASSuMEd it was for my permits, but in fact it WAS NOT. I guess my first clue should have been I never get to be the 1st to report anything - good or bad and I've never won anything in a lottery, slot machine or church bingo.

Sorry if I got anyone all excited. The tough part will be explaining to my team that we DO NOT yet have permits.

Even though I have summited 15 times in 17 attempts (not a huge amount, but more than a couple people) I have never been in charge of securing the permits - my former partner took care of that.

I'll be back in my winter hole if you need me...............DUG

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#2506 - 02/25/10 07:12 AM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: hikehigh]
sierragator Offline


Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 17
Loc: CA
insert remark about dangling chad right about

HERE

Interesting look behind the scenes. Apparently no animals were harmed and the process does not involve chicken bones or dice.

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#2512 - 02/25/10 08:40 AM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: DUG]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7590
Loc: Fresno, CA
That's really too bad, DUG. We were all hoping you got your lucky day.

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#2527 - 02/25/10 06:18 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: Steve C]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
If I know DUG he is going to make it happen one way or another.

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#2529 - 02/25/10 06:47 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: DUG]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 831
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: DUG
...I guess my first clue should have been I never get to be the 1st to report anything - good or bad and I've never won anything in a lottery, slot machine or church bingo.

I'll be back in my winter hole if you need me...


DUG "dig" out. A "hit" is coming your way...

Will look forward to your TR for Sweet 16!

Have fun...up there!


Edited by + @ti2d (02/25/10 06:48 PM)
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#2615 - 03/01/10 02:37 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: MooseTracks]
mmauer Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 13
Loc: Alexandria, VA
This message board is used by a terrific bunch of likeminded people cooperating because of our common interests.

So, I don't want to get competitive, but...

For 2 years in a row, I'm now the first to report that the Inyo FS folks have begun processing the credit cards for the successful lottery applicants. I just checked my online account, and was very pleased to see:

02/28/2010 Sale USFS, INYO NF. $30.00


Good luck to all!

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#2618 - 03/01/10 02:45 PM Re: Look who has her hand in the cookie jar... [Re: mmauer]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7590
Loc: Fresno, CA
Mike, you must be using exactly the right weight of paper. Please tell us what it is!

...Congratulations!

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