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#56611 - 01/08/20 09:58 PM New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7982
Loc: Fresno, CA
Wow! What I once thought was a quite hospitable allowance for JMT hikers has been terminated. In all past years, hikers could come out of the wilderness and go off the trail for a 24-hour stay overnight to clean up and get a new supply of food. This is no longer the case.

Inyo rules are here:   Wilderness Permits & Reservations

Open the "What Permit Do I Need" section, find this:
Quote:
Continuous Wilderness Travel
Continuous wilderness travel is an unbroken path on system trails or within wilderness.

> Leaving the trail system for resupply or taking time off terminates a permit.

> Exiting the wilderness to reenter at a different location terminates a permit.

> Leaving the trail and using an alternative method of travel, like a shuttle bus or a vehicle terminates the permit.

> In prior years an exception to exit the wilderness briefly for resupply was allowed in Inyo National Forest, this exception is no longer allowed.

If you have a break in continuous travel a new permit would be required from the agency where the next section of your trip begins.


Open the "John Muir Trail" section to read this:

Quote:
> If you have a break in continuous travel a new permit would be required from the agency where the next section of your trip begins.

> If your trip begins on Inyo National Forest and you will finish the trip at Mt. Whitney, the Trail Crest Exit quota will apply.


Interesting rules for PCT hikers: No overnight at Guitar Lake to take a side-trip to Mt Whitney--
Quote:
> Not allowed to camp off of the PCT trail corridor.

> The summit of Mt Whitney can be side hiked as a day hike, however you must camp on the west side of the PCT at Crabtree. No camping east of the PCT, at Guitar Lake or on the mountain. PCT permit does not allow use of the Mt Whitney trail.

If you take that literally, if "at Crabtree" refers to the Crabtree R.S., it is already a mile east of the PCT.  And Crabtree Meadow is a swampy meadow, also east of the PCT. I wonder if SeKi or the PCTA will explain these rules any better?

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#56612 - 01/09/20 07:02 AM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: Steve C]
Goose Offline


Registered: 07/17/16
Posts: 22
Loc: NY
Yikes. That does seem like a draconian shift. I interpret this to mean that all SB JMT hikers who do not land a permit to exit at Whitney Portal would now have to descend the east side of Whitney and head north or south to a different exit, right?

As for the rule against PCT hikers camping above "Crabtee", Ranger Rob was already enforcing that rule when I passed through from Cottonwood Lakes to the portal back in 2016. Oddly, when I did the same hike in 2018, the rule was not being enforced and everywhere from Guitar Lake to the upper tairns was swamped.

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#56613 - 01/09/20 08:31 AM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: Goose]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7982
Loc: Fresno, CA
There was some reference on the FB JMT group attributing the change to some scene in Bishop: "few abusers have ruined it for the rest of us". I assume this means dirtbag hikers and homeless hanging around Bishop.

I've got news for Inyo NF and folks in Bishop: people like that are hanging around more and more everywhere. Punishing hikers is not going to change the problem one bit.

If there are hikers who are actually using one permit to hike all over, it would be pretty easy for rangers checking permits to write on the back the date and location checked. Then if they showed up in some not-continuous or way-off date, it would be easy to determine they are abusers.

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#56614 - 01/09/20 09:41 AM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: Steve C]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 297
Loc: California
[rant start]
Wow...did they just unilaterally decide these rules without any public comment? I would have thought I'd have heard if there was some discussion about these major changes.

Taken literally, this means no resupply at Reds Meadow or Onion Valley since both would require you to leave the 'trail system'. Even VVM and MTR could be considered off the 'trail system'.

Of course, I'm not sure how they can prove you left the trail system unless they happen to catch you in the Onion Valley parking lot.

And getting an Onion Valley to Whitney Exit permit isn't impossible, but it'll be even harder if JMT hikers are trying to get them now.
And I know I won't be able to be sure what day I'll need to resupply at Onion Valley to get a new permit ahead of time.

They don't let you cache food in the bear lockers on the trail system, so how do they expect you to resupply?

The changes almost seem designed to force you to use the expensive resupply services that pack in your resupply packages. Does someone at Inyo have stock in or own those companies?

[/rant over]

Originally Posted By: Steve C
There was some reference on the FB JMT group attributing the change to some scene in Bishop: "few abusers have ruined it for the rest of us". I assume this means dirtbag hikers and homeless hanging around Bishop.


If that's the case, they should make rules about the trailheads around Bishop. JMT and PCT hikers don't usually go out to Bishop anyway, do they?

Plus I doubt dirtbag hikers and homeless even bother with permits.
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#56615 - 01/09/20 10:39 AM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: WanderingJim]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 464
Loc: Reno, Nevada
I wonder if the changes are meant to reduce the number of people in the wilderness. Or maybe they just want to reduce the number of people that canít afford the resupply services or carry three weeksí worth of food at once.

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#56616 - 01/09/20 11:18 AM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: bobpickering]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 206
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Incredible set of rules.

So, if you stop 100 yards from the Onion Valley Trailhead, you can have someone hike those 100 yards and resupply you?

Or, does the fact that you left the JMT for a side trip negate your access.

paul

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#56618 - 01/09/20 02:21 PM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: Steve C]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 464
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Iím a peakbagger, not a through-hiker, so I donít know anything about special rules for PCT/JMT hikers. My understanding is that the permits I obtain allow me to ENTER the wilderness once. They donít allow me to spend the whole summer entering and exiting the wilderness at will. If I exit the wilderness for a resupply, even if I donít go all the way to the trailhead, they could require a new permit. Of course, if a SEKI ranger checked my permit at Kearsarge Pass after I got a shower and some supplies in Independence, they would be hard-pressed to establish whether I had ever exited the wilderness.

There are many ways to manage wilderness permits. A trailhead quota with ONE unlimited stay in the wilderness is one solution, and itís not a bad one. Some people will stay one night and others will stay over a week, but congestion at campsites near the trailheads will be manageable. If some hikers exit and reenter the wilderness, the congestion at those campsites will increase. At that point, the USFS/NPS can ignore the overuse, restrict exiting and reentering the wilderness, or lower the trailhead quotas. Which do you prefer?

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#56619 - 01/09/20 06:35 PM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: bobpickering]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 297
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: bobpickering
My understanding is that the permits I obtain allow me to ENTER the wilderness once. They donít allow me to spend the whole summer entering and exiting the wilderness at will. If I exit the wilderness for a resupply, even if I donít go all the way to the trailhead, they could require a new permit.


I agree you shouldn't be able to go in and out of the wilderness repeatedly over a long period (especially multiple times from the same trailhead) and have no problem with the exiting and entering different trailheads being forbidden, but allowing you to leave the wilderness for a night to resupply is what the rules have been until now (for through PCT/JMT hikers).

This seems to only cover Inyo Forest trailheads, but that's a large chunk of the PCT/JMT.

And I'm about to put my first JMT lottery application in tomorrow, so the timing is particularly annoying.

Ironically, if I can't go southbound, Northbound permits might be easier to get at Onion Valley (Whitney exit has always been the biggest challenge).

Added: I just looked at some maps and Mammoth might be outside Inyo so should be safe. In fact it looks like the JMT technically leaves the wilderness briefly at that point.

Onion Valley is the biggest challenge if they actually enforce this somehow.


Edited by WanderingJim (01/09/20 07:15 PM)
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#56643 - 01/30/20 11:36 AM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 841
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Just another rule atop the growing stack of existing rules to burden hikers and...NF staff. I spoke with a local ranger this morning and he was as surprised as the rest of us.

Who would "police" this rule to ensure enforcement? Wilderness rangers are few and far between. When was the last time any of us saw a wilderness ranger? Imagine a ranger at each trail-head checking permits and time-stamping them to make sure nobody is cheating...24 hours a day? Impossible.

We see a lot of thru-hikers in Bishop, but that's fine with the locals. Good for local business, and hikers don't create problems here. A lot of hikers ignore the rules anyway. So what?

This rule was probably dreamed up by some desk-jockey NF staffer in Washington, D.C. with too much time on their hands.

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#56644 - 01/30/20 11:21 PM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: Bob West]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7982
Loc: Fresno, CA
Bob, from the discussions I have seen, Inyo set the rules after meeting with Yosemite. If you look at the Yosemite rules, they get so detailed that it's ok to walk across a paved road, but not ok to ride in a vehicle -- no hitch-hiking, etc. That would void a permit.

They specifically say it's ok to camp overnight in the Tuolumne
Backpackers camp one night. And they say that traveling around Yosemite Valley would void a permit.

Desk-jockey is right. Go figure.

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#56645 - 01/31/20 10:43 AM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7982
Loc: Fresno, CA
Inyo National Forest has just posted a statement on their FB page. It appears that the inflexible
view maintained by Yosemite is less popular, and is generating some public discussion.

Quote:
There has been a lot of discussion in the Eastern Sierra community about John Muir Trail permit administration this winter.

Background: There is a long-standing agreement between parks and forests for local wilderness permits in the Sierra Nevada region (Inyo National Forest, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Sierra National Forest and Yosemite National Park). This agreement means that these national parks and forests will accept hikers with a permit issued by another local agency where the trip begins, and a permit was valid if the trip was for continuous wilderness travel. The four agencies have agreed to apply a consistent definition of continuous wilderness travel.

Exiting to resupply was never part of a locally issued wilderness permit. This includes a JMT permit. However, in the past, Inyo National Forest Trail Rangers were making an exception to allow resupply. In recent years it had been widely publicized that you could leave the trail, but it was not a term of the permit. Wilderness Rangers are documenting misuse of these permits. An example is people leaving the trail for extended periods and then returning where they left off well past when they were permitted to be traveling through an area. These misuses are well beyond the spirit of a resupply and then returning to the trail.

Last year, Kearsarge Pass had four times the traffic of previous years, greatly exceeding the quota mandated to manage impacts at Kearsarge. We would be remiss if we do not address these resource impacts and wilderness management issues.

Concern: Local businesses that provide resupply services, the John Muir Trail communities, and many others have expressed concern for loss of business and experience if resupply was not allowed.

Solution: Leadership on the Inyo National Forest wants to be responsive to our communities and the experiences that people seek in the Sierra Nevada. We also want to be good partners with our neighboring agencies and help address the collective concern for managing an increasingly popular and busy trail corridor.

ďThe Inyo will continue to allow exit for resupply for JMT and other local permits with a long-distance hike,Ē said Tammy Randall-Parker, Forest Supervisor for the Inyo National Forest. ďHowever, we are asking our community, both locally and in the JMT community, to adhere to the spirit of a resupply and to offer constructive solutions that help us manage these wilderness areas.Ē

The Inyo National Forest will be reaching out to our partners, stakeholders, and interested publics over the upcoming year to define what resupply looks like in the Sierra Nevada region.

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#56646 - 01/31/20 11:57 AM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 841
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Thanks for that information, Steve.

The need for a 24 hour lay-over to resupply is understandable, but allowing hikers to spend extended chill-out time staying in one of the hostels in Lone Pine, Independence or Bishop, on the same permit, is more than a mere resupply stop. Spending several days hanging-out in one of the hostels and then returning to the wilderness using the same permit seems to be a violation of the permit...and in my opinion, not a true wilderness experience.







Edited by Bob West (01/31/20 11:58 AM)

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#56648 - 01/31/20 06:02 PM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: Bob West]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 297
Loc: California
Well, that's great news.

I was expecting to have to make sure to get a Onion Valley to Yosemite permit 7 days after I start from Cottonwood.

In the unlikely chance I happen to get a Southbound permit, that'll make things much easier.
_________________________
http://wandering.earth

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#56650 - 02/01/20 09:02 PM Re: New JMT rules from Inyo National Forest [Re: WanderingJim]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7982
Loc: Fresno, CA
I agree with you, Bob. I thought their 24-hour rule of past years was reasonable. It's pretty clear that the rule-breakers have brought all of this on.

WanderingJim: not so great news, as I don't see that they have actually rescinded the rule. ...edit: I guess the wording DOES allow JMT hikers to exit for a resupply.

There are a few ways they could better enforce the rule. Rangers stamping a permit with date and location each time it's checked might help ensure people stay ON their trip rather than taking several days off. A high-tech solution: put a date/time stamp at each trail head -- like an old-fashioned job time-clock -- for hikers to "check-out" and "check-in". ...Or maybe require hikers to log their own locations on their hike -- no log when ranger-checked would invalidate a permit. The point here is that there are various ways to stop the rule-breakers.


Edited by Steve C (02/01/20 09:06 PM)

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