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I paid about $20 last summer for a permit for 9 of us to overnight camp in
the Ansel Adams Wilderness area. A ranger stopped by to check if we had a
permit also. This is the first time that this has ever happened to me in
thirty years of backpacking! It was the July 4th weekend though. This
permit isn't required before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. I love going
into the Sierras after Labor Day. No people, no mosquitos, no permits, no
rangers, no horses, no snow, beautiful weather.
I don't get the fee purpose either if the money isn't funneled back into
management or maintenance of the area. I imagine that if you stay off of the
overrun trails and most popular areas on the most busy weekends that you can
probably get away without a permit. Now I don't recommend breaking the law,
however, I have been known to break a few here and there and well, sometimes,
you just shouldn't have to put up with the asinine bureaucracy (especially if
they aren't going to enforce it well).
I climbed a peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park several years ago. I
started just outside the border and cross countried into the park and up the
back side, so to speak, of the peak. At the summit I met some people who had
climbed from the park side and they asked where I had come from. When I told
them they were appalled that I didn't get a permit or have to pay park entry
fees or . . . . . especially when they did!!! I said that I was not
using the road system, the trail system, any improvements nor any campground,
I wasn't camping in the park nor causing any requirement for maintenance.
The route I had picked was also the shortest from a dirt or paved road.
Basically, I just justified the hell out of my actions!!! They didn't like
my contrary strategies. Too bad, the view was great, the climb exhilarating.
If just the "little Hitlers" would carve their little kingdoms of power out
of someone else's back yard then we wouldn't have these fees.
However, and contrary to everything I just said, FEES ARE NECESSARY in
overcrowded, overrun areas to help manage the maintenance, policing and
infrastructure that is required in such situations.
Greg "Strider" Hummel
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