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Re: [CDT-L] CDT: Universal Permit

> Last month I addressed this issue with the National Parks along the CDT
> Despite the flexibility they've exhibited towards 
> thru-hikers, I was surprised they declined to participate in a 
> univeral > permit system.
Why should the NP's  along  the CDT be any different, afterall it's a
reality they'll have to 
> face > sooner or later?

David - I agree, a universal permit would be great for thruhikers, but it
isn't likely to happen, because the CDT NP permits are different from
those of the other parks. In Glacier and Yellowstone you are required to
reserve speciffic campsites for specific nights. In both cases, it is
illegal to camp anywhere but at designated sites.  In Glacier you share
the sites with others (up to six other groups at a site) while in
Yellowstone, you only have one tent per site. A lot of that, in both
cases, is because of the grizzlies.   In attempting to minimize man/bear
interactions, they've decided it's much easier to regulate man than to
regulate the bears.

Thruhikers who just show up and camp where they will, in prime
backpacking season, don't fit with that.  In Yellowstone there were a lot
of empty campsites that in an open situation we would have chosen to use,
but they were reserved for horses only or groups only, so we had to go
on, or stop early, in order to reach the designated reserved campsite we
had been assigned.  In Glacier, if there is no snow, it can be difficult
for thruhikers to get the reserved campsites they want because they are
already taken by people who made their reservations earlier.   We didn't
have much trouble, but we were very early in the season.  (In both cases,
the rangers were very helpful and were willing to work with us to make
the system as painless as possible.) 

In other parks -- east and west-- the permit is much more open, only
regulating the general number of people in an area, with no say as to
where they choose to camp.  (i.e. Yosemite will give 6 - 12 permits per
entry area, but once in the area, you can go what you like.) In the
Smokies, non-thruhikers have to specify where they will camp and when.
Thruhikers are generally there early or late enough in the season that
there isn't  too much conflict, so they have the do-it-yourself permit

There are a lot of places besides the National Parks that require
backpackers to camp only in designated campsites. If there isn't much use
in an area, that isn't usually a problem, but I've run into National
Monuments where I wasn't able to camp where I wanted because they were
already reserved.

I hate permits - but having seen what overuse can do to prime hiking
areas, I understand why they are needed in some places.   That's why I
usually choose to go where they aren't required - both to avoid the
bureaucracy and to avoid the crowds. But I think that in future there
will be very few places that will be truly open anymore.  

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