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Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!

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Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« on: February 24, 2018, 06:57:51 PM »
Just got back from a quick trip to BBNP (50th anniversary of my first visit) and had an unexpected surprise. I booked two nights at Paint Gap 4 at PJ. Yes, ye old handwritten wired tag. Two nights, Thursday Friday, clearly indicated on the permit. Friday morning I was in PJ looking at stuff in the bookstore and overheard someone behind the counter speak of “another double-booking”. I thought “whew, glad mine is in order.” Friday afternoon about 3 or 4 PM, out a PG4, a guy comes inching down the road (you know how rough that road is) and stopped and got out. “Howdy! This is Paint Gap 4, right?”
I informed him it was; he just shock his head and said “They gave me a permit for it for tonight and tomorrow.”
I quickly got my permit from my tent and we compared them; mine clearly with PG4 2/22-2/23, his PG4 2/23-24.
He was nice about it; said basically “welp i guess I better go get this figured out.” But I felt bad for him, realizing how hard it was gonna be to get two night site anywhere that late on friday.

So, there’s that.

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Offline Al

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2018, 09:30:34 PM »
Just got back from a quick trip to BBNP (50th anniversary of my first visit) and had an unexpected surprise. I booked two nights at Paint Gap 4 at PJ. Yes, ye old handwritten wired tag. Two nights, Thursday Friday, clearly indicated on the permit. Friday morning I was in PJ looking at stuff in the bookstore and overheard someone behind the counter speak of “another double-booking”. I thought “whew, glad mine is in order.” Friday afternoon about 3 or 4 PM, out a PG4, a guy comes inching down the road (you know how rough that road is) and stopped and got out. “Howdy! This is Paint Gap 4, right?”
I informed him it was; he just shock his head and said “They gave me a permit for it for tonight and tomorrow.”
I quickly got my permit from my tent and we compared them; mine clearly with PG4 2/22-2/23, his PG4 2/23-24.
He was nice about it; said basically “welp i guess I better go get this figured out.” But I felt bad for him, realizing how hard it was gonna be to get two night site anywhere that late on friday.

So, there’s that.

Did he get his permit at PJ?  One can get permits from RGV and PG but they are supposed to call PJ to check the book.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 10:02:41 PM by Al »

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2018, 09:32:01 PM »
Hey Park Service dudes monitoring us, admit your mistake and bring back El Campo before you have a real cluster f*** at spring break.  What is wrong with you people?

BTW, congratulations austingorpchomper on 50 years going to the park!!  I'm not too far behind you at 45.

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Offline Flash

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2018, 09:33:43 PM »
We want El Campo!  :great:  Bring back El Campo!  :willynilly:

Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2018, 10:12:10 PM »

Did he get his permit at PJ?  One can get permits from RGV and PG but they are supposed to call PJ to check the book.

Apparently; I noted the signing authority was the same person on both our permits.

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Offline Al

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2018, 10:17:50 PM »
Then the system should not have failed.  It's written in pencil and we made the ranger erase at least a little as we changed our minds.  I don't understand how this could happen unless the book wasn't used, or the user didn't know how to use it.

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Offline congahead

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 05:39:11 AM »
According to the park’s website (under “non-emergency alerts”), backcountry permits are available only at PJ and the Basin until further notice.


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Offline Jim

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2018, 09:03:45 AM »
We want El Campo!  :great:  Bring back El Campo!  :willynilly:

There is a BBNHA meeting in May that I plan to attend, and the Superintendent and Chief of Interp usually attend as well.   Both those positions are currently filled by "acting" personel, so I don't know if they will be there.  I'd like to propose to them an alternative network configuration for El Campo that may satisfy NPS/DOI concerns about PII (personally identifiable information) on a computer connected to the public internet.  But they have not been interested in discussing this so far.  It would require some extra programming on my part, and I'm not sure the park would want to fight the upstream NPS/DOI bureaucracy to implement this alternative.  I'm not sure I'd want to, either, if I were in their shoes.     :banghead:
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 10:35:37 AM by Jim »

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Offline Quatro

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2018, 11:59:55 AM »
We want El Campo!  :great:  Bring back El Campo!  :willynilly:

There is a BBNHA meeting in May that I plan to attend, and the Superintendent and Chief of Interp usually attend as well.   Both those positions are currently filled by "acting" personel, so I don't know if they will be there.  I'd like to propose to them an alternative network configuration for El Campo that may satisfy NPS/DOI concerns about PII (personally identifiable information) on a computer connected to the public internet.  But they have not been interested in discussing this so far.  It would require some extra programming on my part, and I'm not sure the park would want to fight the upstream NPS/DOI bureaucracy to implement this alternative.  I'm not sure I'd want to, either, if I were in their shoes.     :banghead:

Thanks for your work on this, Jim.  The intersection of PII with public information requests is a real problem for governmental agencies across the board.  The potential consequences of releasing PII are significant.
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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2018, 01:16:37 PM »
We want El Campo!  :great:  Bring back El Campo!  :willynilly:

There is a BBNHA meeting in May that I plan to attend, and the Superintendent and Chief of Interp usually attend as well.   Both those positions are currently filled by "acting" personel, so I don't know if they will be there.  I'd like to propose to them an alternative network configuration for El Campo that may satisfy NPS/DOI concerns about PII (personally identifiable information) on a computer connected to the public internet.  But they have not been interested in discussing this so far.  It would require some extra programming on my part, and I'm not sure the park would want to fight the upstream NPS/DOI bureaucracy to implement this alternative.  I'm not sure I'd want to, either, if I were in their shoes.     :banghead:

How can we support you, Jim?
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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2018, 03:09:09 PM »
We want El Campo!  :great:  Bring back El Campo!  :willynilly:

There is a BBNHA meeting in May that I plan to attend, and the Superintendent and Chief of Interp usually attend as well.   Both those positions are currently filled by "acting" personel, so I don't know if they will be there.  I'd like to propose to them an alternative network configuration for El Campo that may satisfy NPS/DOI concerns about PII (personally identifiable information) on a computer connected to the public internet.  But they have not been interested in discussing this so far.  It would require some extra programming on my part, and I'm not sure the park would want to fight the upstream NPS/DOI bureaucracy to implement this alternative.  I'm not sure I'd want to, either, if I were in their shoes.     :banghead:

Why can't BIBE just adopt (and adapt) one of the online backcountry reservation systems already in place at other parks in the NPS? I recently reserved a trip online for Canyonlands, and their system was very easy to use. They've already emailed me my permit so I don't even have to stop by the Ranger Station before starting my trip. Do the different parks not like sharing or something?

Also, what kind of privileged info did El Campo (potentially) reveal?
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Offline Homer Wilson

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2018, 03:17:26 PM »
We want El Campo!  :great:  Bring back El Campo!  :willynilly:

There is a BBNHA meeting in May that I plan to attend, and the Superintendent and Chief of Interp usually attend as well.   Both those positions are currently filled by "acting" personel, so I don't know if they will be there.  I'd like to propose to them an alternative network configuration for El Campo that may satisfy NPS/DOI concerns about PII (personally identifiable information) on a computer connected to the public internet.  But they have not been interested in discussing this so far.  It would require some extra programming on my part, and I'm not sure the park would want to fight the upstream NPS/DOI bureaucracy to implement this alternative.  I'm not sure I'd want to, either, if I were in their shoes.     :banghead:

Why can't BIBE just adopt (and adapt) one of the online backcountry reservation systems already in place at other parks in the NPS? I recently reserved a trip online for Canyonlands, and their system was very easy to use. They've already emailed me my permit so I don't even have to stop by the Ranger Station before starting my trip. Do the different parks not like sharing or something?

Also, what kind of privileged info did El Campo (potentially) reveal?

It's always boggled my mind that there is no standard reservation system for national parks.  The Texas State Parks do it just fine (even if it's a little clunky, I can even quickly check for availability at multiple parks from the same page, imagine that!) 

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Offline Jim

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2018, 04:44:00 PM »
We want El Campo!  :great:  Bring back El Campo!  :willynilly:

There is a BBNHA meeting in May that I plan to attend, and the Superintendent and Chief of Interp usually attend as well.   Both those positions are currently filled by "acting" personel, so I don't know if they will be there.  I'd like to propose to them an alternative network configuration for El Campo that may satisfy NPS/DOI concerns about PII (personally identifiable information) on a computer connected to the public internet.  But they have not been interested in discussing this so far.  It would require some extra programming on my part, and I'm not sure the park would want to fight the upstream NPS/DOI bureaucracy to implement this alternative.  I'm not sure I'd want to, either, if I were in their shoes.     :banghead:

How can we support you, Jim?

Thanks for the concern, HMoD.

You could...  :)
  Start a Twitter hashtag #BringBackElCampo
  Post a Youtube video of the Spring Break chaos in the PJ permit room
  Organize a march to the PJ Visitor Center
  Post comments on the BBNP Facebook page
  Start a sit-in across the road in front of the Fee Collection Stations
  Write Secretary Zinke
  Write your Congressman
  Write your Senator
  Write the Superintendent
  Visit Big Bend Ranch State Park instead
or...
  be Given the Serenity to accept the things that cannot be changed.

Seriously, though, I appreciate the thought; but I doubt there is really much to be done other than me explaining how the network might be configured to put the system behind their local NPS firewall.  Worst case, the system's network could be air gapped and used to simply replace the manual error-prone logbook they now use.

Que sera sera.

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Offline Jim

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2018, 04:49:39 PM »
We want El Campo!  :great:  Bring back El Campo!  :willynilly:

There is a BBNHA meeting in May that I plan to attend, and the Superintendent and Chief of Interp usually attend as well.   Both those positions are currently filled by "acting" personel, so I don't know if they will be there.  I'd like to propose to them an alternative network configuration for El Campo that may satisfy NPS/DOI concerns about PII (personally identifiable information) on a computer connected to the public internet.  But they have not been interested in discussing this so far.  It would require some extra programming on my part, and I'm not sure the park would want to fight the upstream NPS/DOI bureaucracy to implement this alternative.  I'm not sure I'd want to, either, if I were in their shoes.     :banghead:

Why can't BIBE just adopt (and adapt) one of the online backcountry reservation systems already in place at other parks in the NPS? I recently reserved a trip online for Canyonlands, and their system was very easy to use. They've already emailed me my permit so I don't even have to stop by the Ranger Station before starting my trip. Do the different parks not like sharing or something?

Also, what kind of privileged info did El Campo (potentially) reveal?

It appears that the Canyonlands system is actually on the nps.gov servers.  I'm not sure why the same firewall protection could not have been applied to the El Campo System.  Or have the El Campo system installed on an NPS server with public access.

The only required PII (in my opinion) in El Campo was last name, street address, and vehicle license plate.  At least for me, my name and address is in the phone book and online, and you can get my license plate number by looking at the car in the driveway at that address!

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Offline Jim

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2018, 04:54:14 PM »
We want El Campo!  :great:  Bring back El Campo!  :willynilly:

There is a BBNHA meeting in May that I plan to attend, and the Superintendent and Chief of Interp usually attend as well.   Both those positions are currently filled by "acting" personel, so I don't know if they will be there.  I'd like to propose to them an alternative network configuration for El Campo that may satisfy NPS/DOI concerns about PII (personally identifiable information) on a computer connected to the public internet.  But they have not been interested in discussing this so far.  It would require some extra programming on my part, and I'm not sure the park would want to fight the upstream NPS/DOI bureaucracy to implement this alternative.  I'm not sure I'd want to, either, if I were in their shoes.     :banghead:

Why can't BIBE just adopt (and adapt) one of the online backcountry reservation systems already in place at other parks in the NPS? I recently reserved a trip online for Canyonlands, and their system was very easy to use. They've already emailed me my permit so I don't even have to stop by the Ranger Station before starting my trip. Do the different parks not like sharing or something?

Also, what kind of privileged info did El Campo (potentially) reveal?

It's always boggled my mind that there is no standard reservation system for national parks.  The Texas State Parks do it just fine (even if it's a little clunky, I can even quickly check for availability at multiple parks from the same page, imagine that!)

I actually made a PowerPoint presentation to the BIBE Administrative Officer (who had IT responsibility) in December of 2016 that suggested working on a common backcountry system using El Campo as a starting point.  I obviously was not persuasive enough for the idea to go forward.

 


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