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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: 7962
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: 21
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: 7962
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: 293
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 Online


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 Online


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: 293
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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