Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Do I need a Wilderness permit to get on the JMT during the Government Shutdown?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Allen C
(acurrano) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area
Do I need a Wilderness permit to get on the JMT during the Government Shutdown? on 10/01/2013 08:58:47 MDT Print View

The permit offices are closed, so I can't get a permit. I want to do a 4-5 day hike on the John Muir Trail starting Thursday or so. Do you need to have a permit to do this when the wilderness office is closed and not issuing permits? If you go without one, will they stop you and fine you big bucks and make you leave ASAP?

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Do I need a Wilderness permit to get on the JMT during the Government Shutdown? on 10/01/2013 09:03:36 MDT Print View

my guess is the land is also technically closed not just the offices.
but there will be no one out there to check for permits.
in fact I never saw a ranger in the Sierra back country all summer, laid off because of the sequester, now the office rangers are laid off due to the shut down.
so you are free to hike the mountains as they used to be ..... hassle free.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
The Forest is Closed on 10/01/2013 10:29:28 MDT Print View

I've been wondering what this really means... I guess they're ASKING you not to go into the backcountry, but there will be no rangers there, no permits given, and no permits checked... Will the roads with gates be closed off?

I guess this also means that if you get into trouble, you will have to self-rescue. Or would they send SAR anyway, even if the forest is "closed" (pretty sure they would bill you for the rescue, under those circumstances)?

Charles P
(mediauras)

Locale: Terra
Re: Do I need a Wilderness permit to get on the JMT during the Government Shutdown? on 10/01/2013 11:24:24 MDT Print View

I would just go. Only issue is what TH's will be accessible.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Do I need a Wilderness permit to get on the JMT during the Government Shutdown? on 10/01/2013 13:56:38 MDT Print View

FAQ on the DoI website about Yosemite (I've got Half Dome permits for Sunday) say through roads (120?) will be open but the park will be closed. Campers and people in lodging will be given 48 hours to make other arrangements and leave. I'd guess the valley will be barricaded closed in a few days. Law enforcement, fire and emergency services will remain operating.

I wonder how they deal with cars at trailheads of people out for 1-2 weeks.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Just Go on 10/01/2013 14:00:21 MDT Print View

Now you can go and enjoy the mountains as they should be, permit and hassle free!

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Do I need a Wilderness permit to get on the JMT during the Government Shutdown? on 10/01/2013 14:12:22 MDT Print View

I wouldn't worry about it, but that's just me.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
east side. on 10/01/2013 14:41:56 MDT Print View

sounds like a great time to head in over the east side. taboose sounds good.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Do I need a Wilderness permit to get on the JMT during the Government Shutdown? on 10/01/2013 14:42:08 MDT Print View

Here's the official contingency plan

Day use visitors are being asked to leave the parks immediately. People already camping are being asked to leave within 48 hours. It doesn't say what the consequences are for people who refuse to leave or who willfully ignore the closure.

Adam

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
National Forests? on 10/01/2013 15:44:14 MDT Print View

The National Forest websites all have a paragraph about the Forest Service closing down - but they say nothing about people being excluded from the forests themselves.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Do I need a Wilderness permit to get on the JMT during the Government Shutdown? on 10/01/2013 16:27:50 MDT Print View

"I've got Half Dome permits for Sunday"

David, the Yosemite closure was only intended to block the spread of the dreaded Kenai Spruce Beetle, a horrible parasite.

--B.G.--

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
park closure speculation on 10/01/2013 16:30:43 MDT Print View

Yosemite is a special situation due to being a canyon... it is easy to block off the roads entering the canyon.

Same with King's Canyon.

But most other entries would be impossible to block off... the best they can do is maybe put up signs..

Further, it is my understanding that most, if not all, backcountry rangers are out by the end of September anyway.

I could be wrong on any of the above, but that's what I think.

I'd say go and see what happens. My guess is they will be sympathetic to you being in there... besides, other than Yosemite and King's... most other trails wouldn't fill their quotas this time of year anyway...

B

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: National Forests? on 10/01/2013 17:30:05 MDT Print View

Our contact with the Forest Service said recreational use was ok but we couldn't do any volunteer trail building or maintenance on Forest Service land while the shutdown was in effect.

Adam

Kevin Holt
(bleachpuppy) - MLife
How to get there on 10/01/2013 17:39:32 MDT Print View

I'm in the same boat - I'm in San Fran for work and was about to do a 5 day solo loop from Happy Isles to Tuolumne Meadows and back along JMT and nearby trails, starting Thursday.

After poking around, it seems like the road to the valley will be blocked off, but Tioga Rd will still be open. I don't know what the roads or parking situation are like - does it seem reasonable to just stash a rental car somewhere near Tuolumne Meadows for 5 days? I don't know what they'd do...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How to get there on 10/01/2013 17:43:55 MDT Print View

"I don't know what they'd do..."

Same as what they would normally do. If they catch you camping without a permit, it would be a citation offense. The rangers would not normally be patrolling in this period. However, if you left a car at a trailhead, they would know where to go on a search and destroy mission. Then, once caught, they would probably throw the book at you.

--B.G.--

Charles P
(mediauras)

Locale: Terra
Re: Re: How to get there on 10/01/2013 22:28:34 MDT Print View

I doubt it would be so heinous. But I think it will be harder to get away with this at a national park than a national forest. I too was going to hike out T Meadows Friday but am switching my weekend trip over to Desolation, where there will be no ambiguity over accessible TH's, roads, etc. If you're thinking of ditching your trip out of Yosemite, consider Hoover Wilderness. A lot of great terrain and it'll be virtually empty.

Allen C
(acurrano) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area
Yes you can! on 10/06/2013 08:48:11 MDT Print View

Thanks to all who weighed in. In the end I decided to go for it and it was the right call. I was able to start at Whitney Portal and summit Whitney and then head north on the JMT. No rangers were out and very few people on the JMT. I went as far as Dollar Lake and then exited at Kearsarge pass yesterday. Daytime was beautiful, at night it was clear and cold.