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Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!

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Offline Flash

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2018, 04:59:29 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!
Jim, beside the name, street address, and license plate number, did the previous system keep track of the user's permit history, etc?
- Flash

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Offline Jim

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2018, 05:19:37 PM »
Jim, beside the name, street address, and license plate number, did the previous system keep track of the user's permit history, etc?
- Flash

By previous system, do you mean El Campo?  If so, the full permit info was kept on the system until the administrator chose an option to purge PII from old permits.  Don't know if that option was used or not.

When solo hikers returned, any photos and solo hiker worksheets were automatically deleted.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 05:28:52 PM by Jim »

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Offline Flash

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2018, 05:27:56 PM »
Jim, beside the name, street address, and license plate number, did the previous system keep track of the user's permit history, etc?
- Flash

By previous system, do you mean El Campo?  If so, the full permit info was kept on the system until the administrator chose an option to purge PII from old permits.  Don't know if that option was used or not.
Yes, El Campo. Just curious if a Ranger/Volunteer could look up a person's permit history, for example, to verify their experience, etc.

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Offline Jim

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2018, 05:40:27 PM »
Jim, beside the name, street address, and license plate number, did the previous system keep track of the user's permit history, etc?
- Flash

By previous system, do you mean El Campo?  If so, the full permit info was kept on the system until the administrator chose an option to purge PII from old permits.  Don't know if that option was used or not.
Yes, El Campo. Just curious if a Ranger/Volunteer could look up a person's permit history, for example, to verify their experience, etc.
Sort of...
There is no unique identifier of a person on a permit (no driver's license number, no SSN, etc).  So that makes it very difficult to pick out all permits pertaining to a specific individual.  You could use last name and address, but so many times an address is entered differently (Road vs Rd vd RD.) - not to mention typo's.

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2018, 08:30:55 PM »
Small world!  Austin Gorpchomper....

I was that guy!  NPS definitely needs to work on some better system.  I'll get a trip report posted later this week but my thoughts on the double reservation.

I arrived with a plan A, B, and C.  Why??  Why can't I book a site like a hotel??  Credit card holds it, if you cancel too late you get billed.  I drove 8 hours to be told ALL campground sites full.  All accessible (not needing 4X4) full.  What about the couple I met on the way back today that were coming in from St Lous, Missouri?

So I arrive and can't get a place to stay.  I wanted a primitive site, no luck.  Campground, no luck. Not even Rattlesnake Mountain.  Only some spots on River Road.  So I book Paint Gap 4 for the next 2 nights and decide to zone camp the first night.  I ask for NO1 (Croton Springs area) because that's were I planned to hike the first day.  The same guy that issued Austin Gorpchomper gave me my permit.  I'm  assuming Austin was there earlier that same day (Thursday).

I ask if I can park at the Croton Springs Trailhead and leave my truck there.  They say yes, as long as the campers in CS1 and CS2 don't mind.  I get there and only CS1 has someone.  She says no one was there the previous night although HQ told me it was booked.  I hike the area (more on that later) and then come back to the truck for dinner.  A Ranger comes and checks our permits.  I say I'll shove off closer to dark and explain I'm just going far enough to be legal and sleep.  I hadn't planned to do an overnight hike and didn't have the right gear.  I mentioned the booked but vacant CS2 and he shrugged. 

Having spoken to the camper at CS1 (which is basically the same site) she didn't mind so I just slept under the stars there since no one showed up for CS2. 

The next day I hiked and messed around all day then drove to my reserved PG4.  Austin Gorchomper is right, it is a LONG ways back and I was bummed to see a camper there.  I noticed the nice equipment and gear he had and thought about flashing him the "Big Bend Chat Secret Sign" discussed in an earlier post but I couldn't remember what it was.  So I gave an awkward nod and when he didn't respond I tried to play it off like my neck had catch from the long bumpy drive in. 

Anyway, Austin immediately showed me his permit and noticed same Ranger issued both.  It made perfect sense for me to give up, he had the site before me, the permit before me and had already established a camp.  I was a bit frustrated at the system though.  So I drive ALL the way back to PJ glad I didn't wait until even later at night to go make camp.

I get back, explain and they become suspicious of Austin.  I told them I saw his permit and he was obviously not a site squatter.  I could never get them to admit they messed up.  One ranger told the one helping me she was contacting dispatch to get a Park Ranger to check out Austin Gorchomper!!   The park ranger who gave us the permits was there helping someone else but they never told him about it.  I asked about CS2 and they said it was STILL the same camper who had it all week, but of course, since they paid they had a right to come back.  It was close to dark and I was willing to wait and see and if they didn't come back, take that spot but HQ stared at the computer screen and told me I could have Grape Vine Hills #4 but only one night.  Then for the next night I could go back to Paint Gap 4.  I relented and GVH4 is an even LONGER drive but not quite as bumpy.  Not my favorite site.

The trip was great but I wasted a lot of time and gas due to the poor booking system.  The last night I ended up in Terlingua for dinner.  I planned to hit the road first thing the next morning so Instead of driving all the way back to the park and all the way back to PG4 I just took advantage of a "Free Camping" site in town and slept in the bed of my truck. 




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Offline elhombre

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2018, 08:58:24 PM »
Man.... That sucks!

This illustrates the exact problem with a online reservation system.  People pay, then either don't show up, or just bail.  Then they get some kind of ownership complex, and decide they PAYED for that spot.  Screw everyone else.   Seen it all the time when the Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end.  There ain't nobody out in the desert on Glen Springs or Pine Canyon Rd, but the books are "full" with a straight lines through those dates.  I bet you the NPS loves this situation because it means less people in the park.

Only the Overlords who get payed no matter what their job performance is, runs a system like this... :vomit:  Complete step back!  Point the finger and get pissed that this is the BEST our NPS can do!  2.6 Billion $$$.

God help the spring breakers.

If y'all get motivated enough, and spend some of that tax return on backpacking equipment, you can avoid (most all) this entire mess. :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

Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2018, 11:26:41 PM »
 :icon_biggrin: lol at hang10er; I, too am unfamiliar with secret handshake so glad you spared us both the awkwardness. I did consider asking if you were on BB Chat, but you know...
So, they were gonna bust ME for site jumping. That would have been an interesting conversation when they looked at my permit.

"nice equipment" must refer to my 2003 Tacoma.

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2018, 08:00:23 AM »
:icon_biggrin: lol at hang10er; I, too am unfamiliar with secret handshake so glad you spared us both the awkwardness. I did consider asking if you were on BB Chat, but you know...
So, they were gonna bust ME for site jumping. That would have been an interesting conversation when they looked at my permit.

"nice equipment" must refer to my 2003 Tacoma.

Wow, didn't even notice I used "nice equipment" phrase!!  I just assumed quickly that you were an experienced hiker.  I noticed you had quality brand items, appropriate items (the sun shade), the Tacoma, etc. 

So I'm guessing a Park Ranger never made it down there to check "your papers"?  Next time we're double booked, I'll stay long enough to share a drink! 

Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2018, 09:27:29 AM »
:icon_biggrin: lol at hang10er; I, too am unfamiliar with secret handshake so glad you spared us both the awkwardness. I did consider asking if you were on BB Chat, but you know...
So, they were gonna bust ME for site jumping. That would have been an interesting conversation when they looked at my permit.

"nice equipment" must refer to my 2003 Tacoma.

Wow, didn't even notice I used "nice equipment" phrase!!  I just assumed quickly that you were an experienced hiker.  I noticed you had quality brand items, appropriate items (the sun shade), the Tacoma, etc. 

So I'm guessing a Park Ranger never made it down there to check "your papers"?  Next time we're double booked, I'll stay long enough to share a drink! 

Nope. The whole time i was there, saw four vehicles counting yours. There was some huge SUV that came I think after you (maybe before?); didn't stop, went on down the road (which gets even worse!) then came back. Looked like an older couple.
  You bet, sit a spell and have a drink!

Two best investments I ever made for car camping are that tarp and the lightweight REI table. The tarp took me three trips (to Big Bend, then Grand Staircase/Escalante in Utah) to figure out how to set up solo then keep it anchored in the wind. But it's a game changer in the desert.


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Offline presidio

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2018, 01:48:35 AM »
Hey Park Service dudes monitoring us,   What is wrong with you people?

Oh, where to begin???
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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)

Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2018, 11:26:08 AM »
Well, well, BBNP at least responded on social media with a mea culpa:

Big Bend National Park: We apologize for the mistake. We are still working out the bugs of our new system. We believe we talked to the other permit holder and found him a different site.

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2018, 11:51:36 AM »
"New system" ?   
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 RichardM

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2018, 02:02:34 PM »
"New system" ?
Just wait, their next "new system" will be a big chalk board!

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Offline presidio

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2018, 03:19:38 PM »
"New system" ?
Just wait, their next "new system" will be a big chalk board!

Hmmm...it would appear you are developing a skeptical viewpoint with a healthy dose of facetiousness about a certain agency.
_____________
<  presidio  >
_____________
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 Homer Wilson

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Re: Beware double-booked backcountry sites!!
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2018, 04:04:35 PM »
"New system" ?
Just wait, their next "new system" will be a big chalk board!

Actually...that would probably work better than any of their other systems.  And then they can point a webcam at it, and presto! live-updating backcountry availability.

 


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