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Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2019, 08:19:57 PM »
Good Lord. This thread is reminding me why I left this board for years. Probably time to do so again.

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Offline DeserTrek

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2019, 08:39:30 PM »
West Texas is just more appealing to me. I've been interested in exploring Aldo Leopold NM though. That said, having the ability to go wherever/whenever I want is way more enjoyable. The vast majority of my backpacking has been through Southern Utah, so you could imagine the let down I faced whenever I discovered BIBE's permit system.

Im not going to lie... Whenever I hear there is a government shut down on the horizon, I have my bags packed and ready to go  :crossedfingers:

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Offline presidio

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #47 on: August 19, 2019, 09:06:50 PM »
Whenever I hear there is a government shut down on the horizon, I have my bags packed and ready to go  :crossedfingers:

During the last shutdown, when the NPS areas were being buried under mountains of trash and literal crap by the "experienced outsdoorspeople" the agency caters to controls, the public lands and wilderness areas of BLM and the USFS were unaffected and functioned as they do every day...completely normally. People came and went without asking for or needing/receiving permission, or creating the kinds of problems the NPS attracts as the default result of the peculiarly helpless clientele they attract.
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Offline elhombre

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2019, 09:22:56 PM »
Good Lord. This thread is reminding me why I left this board for years. Probably time to do so again.

Gotta be strong , Bro.  You're here for the same reason most all of us are here.  We wish we were in Big Bend RIGHT NOW!    :great:
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

All the while demanding censorship and removal of opposition Conservative "hate speech" voices.  Globalists Hate Freedom

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Offline backpacker56

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #49 on: August 20, 2019, 08:25:31 AM »
Good Lord. This thread is reminding me why I left this board for years. Probably time to do so again.

It's the dog days of summer.  What we need are some trip reports.  Even old ones.
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

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Offline Lissa

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #50 on: August 20, 2019, 11:38:38 AM »
Good Lord. This thread is reminding me why I left this board for years. Probably time to do so again.

Please dont go! Im planning this BB100 trip and having seen your posts now want to do a one day OML so would really appreciate your advice.

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Offline poor_camper

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #51 on: August 22, 2019, 06:47:54 PM »
After reading through the discussion here, I was inspired to send my comments regarding the proposed fee increases and the (proposed?) new reservation system.  Pro or con, yes or no, for or against, I hope this might provide thought for further civil discussion and inspire others, regardless of opinion, to let the NPS know how they feel as well.

As mentioned elsewhere, the deadline for accepting public comment ends at midnight Mountain Time September 15th, 2019:
https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=29&projectID=89876&documentID=97822


Oh, and August 25 is an entrance fee free day!

Big Bend National Park will waive its entrance fee on five days in 2019.  The five entrance fee-free days will be:
    Monday, January 21 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
    Saturday, April 20 - Start of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger Day
    Sunday, August 25 - NPS Anniversary
    Saturday, September 28 - National Public Lands Day
    Monday, November 11 - Veterans Day

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Offline Flash

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #52 on: August 22, 2019, 09:48:34 PM »
Something to try not to misunderstand: There is no new online reservation system being proposed that I can tell. Instead, best I understand from reading it, apart from the fee increases, they are proposing adding some roadside sites, some Chisos designated sites, plus some additional front country campsites (i.e. RGV and Chisos) to the the existing recreation.gov website. End of story.
- Flash

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Offline poor_camper

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #53 on: August 23, 2019, 06:08:15 AM »
Something to try not to misunderstand: There is no new online reservation system being proposed that I can tell. Instead, best I understand from reading it, apart from the fee increases, they are proposing adding some roadside sites, some Chisos designated sites, plus some additional front country campsites (i.e. RGV and Chisos) to the the existing recreation.gov website. End of story.
- Flash

Yes, I understand that Reserve .gov is already is in place.  But for issuing BBNP backcountry permits, it is a system that has never been used before.  It is a new system "for issuing backcountry permits".

I don't think Reserve.gov can handle a single flat rate price for reservations with varying lengths of days.  The side effect is that there is an mandatory price hike for multiple day back country permits if that system is used.  I suspect that's the major reason that they decided to start charging on a daily basis.

It seems it's a bit of putting the square peg in a round hole.  I wish they could accommodate flat rate pricing and a few other issues.  But on the positive side, being able to know you have a camp site before making the drive is really helpful.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 03:40:56 PM by poor_camper »

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Offline Jalco

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #54 on: August 23, 2019, 07:32:48 AM »
Being able to know you have a camp site before making the drive out would be really helpful.

TPWD seems to have no problem with this.

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Offline poor_camper

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #55 on: August 23, 2019, 03:45:03 PM »
Being able to know you have a camp site before making the drive out would be really helpful.

TPWD seems to have no problem with this.

Fortunately, I was always able to reserve/pay for my TPWD campsite at their visitor center when I paid my entrance fee.  But that was years ago.

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, 2 days left for comment
« Reply #56 on: September 13, 2019, 12:00:43 PM »
Here is my comment sent to the park after talking to the guy on the phone there.  I found out the reservation.gov system charges $6 for every permit when they use the system.  The rest of the money goes to the park.  A 6 day trip that got the park $12, will now get the park $66 form the permit system.  This is their "modest" increase.  They also don't have any idea how often the back country car sites go vacant, but have a permit pulled for them.  They want to put these same sites under the new system not knowing any specifics about occupancy.  Other words, no way of knowing the effect of the new policy.  Please get off y'alls butt and write your comment this weekend.  My lazy ass did.   It closes Sunday at midnight.


The proposed fee/reservation changes are a bad idea.  First, a park rep that I talked to said y'all do not know how many paid reservations in the Basin go unused due to "no-shows".  We have all seen sites go unused for multiple nights with a "reserved" tag under the clip.  This percentage of unused nights should be a well known consideration because when the proposed system takes over more sites, there will be an increase in paid for vacant "no-show" sites.  Those unused reserved sites lock out more drive up campers.  Overall, the campground sites will be less used under the reservation system due to the inevitable "no-shows".
   The rep I talked to on the phone said that y'all try to contact all no-shows the next day to see if they are coming.  The campground will then open up the spot if they aren't.  I asked what if they are unable to get in contact with them?  In that case, the park leaves it reserved and unused.  I asked where I can find this policy, and I was told it is written somewhere. Seems to me that this is a pretty important facet to campground management, and should be easily found somewhere by the public.  It should be the responsibility of the people showing up late to notify the park somehow to keep their reservation valid, not the other way around.  If they don't, then they loose the spot, and they can carry a "credit" for their money, just like it works at the Grand Canyon.
    In order to address the problem of people driving in and not getting a site, why don't y'all return to a system that includes a web page with ALL the sites and vacancies of those sites? Just like it was back with the older electronic system.  If people had that critical information on their phones when driving into the park, they would KNOW their chances of getting sites.  Right now, travelers only learn of campsite vacancies when they are IN the park.  Y'all have created this problem yourselves by removing the old system.  If your response is we don't have the manpower to keep up with this information, then why isn't this a priority during peak times?
   Y'all also create the long line problem by forcing everyone into the "back country permit office"  at PJ.  This is contrary to your own Compendium. Why not do what the Compendium dictates and have back country permits available at Persimmon, and also possibly set a trailer up at Maverick during peak times?  It's an electronic system.  It is OK to access it from different locations.
     In 1999, it cost my family $10 entrance fee, and maybe a $10 permit fee.  $20 total for 10 days.  20 years later, under the new system, the same trip will cost $60 entrance fee (2 weeks), and $120 permit fee.  Total of $180. Out here in the non-government economy, the difference between $20 and $180 is not a moderate increase.  At this rate, in 20 more years when my daughter takes my grand kids, it will cost $180 entrance fee and $360 permit fee.  Total $540 Wow!  I ask the rep on the phone about this, and he said something to the affect that "well, we just made those numbers up for the proposal."  Classic response. 
  So what does the public get with the changes?  We still will have long lines at PJ for permits because people will travel in hoping they get a cancellation spot or one of the 1/3rd of sites not controlled by the reservation system.  They will still be pissed off because they drove all the way into the park not knowing the availability of sites, and don't secure one.  More sites will go unused due to the inevitable "no-shows".  The camping public will loose the ability to change their plans due to weather windows because sites will be locked up in the reservation system and unavailable to the guy standing at the permit counter.
     The problem is not an occupancy problem.  People are coming in droves to go camping.  The problem is how y'all dole those sites out.  People are pissed because they have no information on campsite availability until they are told face to face by a ranger, "Sorry, Parks Full".  The expensive proposed changes do nothing to address this problem.  In fact, it decreases site availability.     
     What do we get get for the extra expense?  Y'all have erroneously combined the need for a better permit system with the need for more money to improve facilities the park.  If you need more money to fix things, that is an issue with funding from the Department of Interior, not the users of the product. 
     Please strongly consider changing the park's publicly reviewable camp site occupancy information system FIRST.  This is the number one problem with the permit system.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2019, 01:54:42 PM by elhombre »
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

All the while demanding censorship and removal of opposition Conservative "hate speech" voices.  Globalists Hate Freedom

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Offline Flash

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #57 on: September 13, 2019, 12:40:25 PM »
Good comment, El Hombre!  :great:

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Offline presidio

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, 2 days left for comment
« Reply #58 on: September 13, 2019, 01:05:51 PM »
100% spot on. Other specific comments follow.

A 6 day trip that got the park $12, will now get the park $66 form the permit system.  This is their "modest" increase.

'Modest' in the NPS is an oxymoron for 'out-of-touch-with-reality.'

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They want to put these same sites under the new system not knowing any specifics about occupancy.  Other words, no way of knowing the effect of the new policy.

A quote from an observer of such matters: 'The facts (and especially the lack of same...my editorial on the above), although interesting, are irrelevant. Unknown

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Please get off y'alls butt and write your comment this weekend.

I already did, some time ago. However, no one should be surprised when their comments have zero effect upon the outcome. Or, a claimed 'win' for the public as they roll back the proposal, but still lay a sizable increase on the public (because the NPS 'heard' you). This has happened repeatedly and occurred 15 or so years ago just up the road at GUMO. The NPS method is to perfunctorily comply with the requirement for public 'involvement' without actually listening to the public, and then doing what they planned all along.

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The rep I talked to on the phone said that y'all try to contact all no-shows the next day to see if they are coming.  I asked what if they are unable to get in contact with them?  In that case, the park leaves it reserved and unused.

This is very simply solved. If the no-show does not appear by noon on the second day, the reservation automatically is forfeited. It should not be the duty of the agency to make efforts to personally contact (holding their hand) each person. In the event the reserving party shows up after the cancellation, they get treated like any other first-come, first-serve arrival.

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I asked where I can find this policy, and I was told it is written somewhere.

This also should surprise no one. As we've seen before, the NPS makes stuff up on the fly. When pressed, they cannot validate some things they do that are claimed to be 'policy.' Unofficial acts easily morph into 'unwritten' policy as employees don't know where it comes from, and don't question it, but accept practices at face value because 'that's the way it's done.' I seriously doubt it is 'written somewhere,' but the NPS is encouraged to prove me wrong.

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  It should be the responsibility of the people showing up late to notify the park somehow to keep their reservation valid, not the other way around.  If they don't, then they loose the spot, and they can carry a "credit" for their money, just like it works at the Grand Canyon.

Yes it is a responsibility of the reserving party. However, I disagree they should get a blanket credit. If they exercise responsibility and cancel before noon of the second day, I have no problem with them getting a credit or even a refund for everything but the first night. If they don't call and cancel, their entire fee should be forfeited. Bad behavior does not change until there are consequences for same. Rewarding bad behavior only guarantees it will continue.

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Y'all also create the long line problem by forcing everyone into the "back country permit office"  at PJ.  This is contrary to your own Compendium.

The Compendium is there to control the public. NPS compliance with their own rules clearly are optional at best (again, no consequences accrue against the NPS for not following what they say they will do).

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In 1999, it cost my family $10 entrance fee, and maybe a $10 permit fee. $20 total for 10 days. 20 years later, under the new system, the same trip will cost $60 entrance fee (2 weeks), and $120 permit fee.

This is the ugly reality of what grew out of the temporary fee demonstration nonsense that became enshrined under the current recreation fee law. As I've noted before, this was perceived as 'free' money. However, neither they nor the various support and environmental groups had enough brain cells to understand that appropriated funds would be significantly reduced as the test inevitably would be deemed a 'success' regardless of whether it actually was or not. So, here we are.

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Out here in the non-government economy, the difference between $20 and $180 is not a moderate increase. I ask the rep on the phone about this, and he said something to the affect that "well, we just made those numbers up for the proposal."  Classic response. 

Do we see a pattern here? Certainly. More remarkably, in an unguarded moment, you got the actual truth of how they do business.

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So what does the public get with the changes?  We still will have long lines at PJ for permits because people will travel in hoping they get a cancellation spot or one of the 1/3rd of sites not controlled by the reservation system.

You can hope there's still 1/3rd not under the reservation system. Krumenaker made it pretty clear in the Texas Monthly interview (another unguarded moment?).

'Were going to put either all or the vast majority of campsites on a reservation system. Were going to start with reservations for much more of the front-country campground sites, the most popular drive-in sites, and the majority of the Chisos backpacking sites. Backcountry fees will go to a per-night fee but still be reasonable.'

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They will still be pissed off because they drove all the way into the park not knowing the availability of sites, and don't secure one.  More sites will go unused due to the inevitable "no-shows".  The camping public will loose the ability to change their plans due to weather windows because sites will be locked up in the reservation system and unavailable to the guy standing at the permit counter.

Does anyone believe the NPS is concerned about accommodating the public? A preponderance of evidence says they are not. It's all about what the NPS wants, not about the users needs/desires.

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What do we get get for the extra expense?  Y'all have erroneously combined the need for a better permit system with the need for more money to improve facilities the park.  If you need more money to fix things, that is an issue with funding from the Department of Interior, not the users of the product.

And that is precisely what the NPS cannot fathom.
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Backcountry Permits are going online soon, but......
« Reply #59 on: September 13, 2019, 10:07:32 PM »
Well said, El Hombre.   Honestly, I was kind of on the fence about the increase, but I think you're right.

Sent from my pocket machine using Big Bend Chat mobile app


 


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