[pct-l] Permits 2017

Cody B moonbeams13 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 27 17:39:13 CDT 2016


The permit limits are in place to protect the fragile environments and
ecosystems that the Pacific Crest Trail passes through from overuse by
hikers. They are there for a very good reason and it is indeed backed by
research on environmental impact. The first several hundred miles are
particularly vulnerable as there are very limited water resources and many
of them cannot support hundreds of hikers draining them in addition to
supplying the necessary water for the native plants and animals.

It is possible to hike the PCT legally without a long-distance permit
published by the PCTA, but that does require seeking out each permit
individually and doing the research on your own. The permit issued by the
PCTA is actually a collection of permits by the National Parks Service,
State Parks Systems, Forest Service, and others that allows you to pass
through the entire trail corridor without seeking out each necessary permit
individually. It is a service provided to us and there is a limit on that
service so that the trail is still there, beautiful, and most importantly,
usable for years to come.

I saw a lot of disregard for permits on the trail this summer and it
concerns me. People ranted about "the government trying to control their
rights saying when they can or can't hike" (I would like to note that the
PCTA is not a government organization) while not paying any regard to the
reason those permits are there.

PLEASE be conscientious about this. If we aim to be stewards of the
environment and participate in LNT practices then paying mind to the permit
system and the permit limits is extremely important. They are not there to
limit us. They are there to protect us and the beauty we love to indulge
ourselves in.



On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 5:19 PM, Robert E. Riess <robert.riess at cox.net>

> Congratulations to the Class of 2016, who were lucky enough to draw a PCTA
> Long Distance Permit starting at the border, and who had no ADZPCTKO to
> inspire and enlighten them. I am saddened by what I hope is a temporary
> halt to the world-class hiking event which for 17 great years gave so much
> to so many, provided by so few, and who did it so very, very well. I am
> thankful for the opportunity to have partaken.
> Certainly, a 2016 PCT through hike is an accomplishment of great pride and
> satisfaction.  Some were not so fortunate.  Some from overseas could not
> get a permit to conform with their travel arrangements and just gave up on
> their goal of hiking the PCT in 2016.  At least one hiker known to me had
> to cancel his airline ticket and rebook to conform with his PCTA permit at
> an additional cost of over $1000.  Some were scared to death of being
> stopped by the US Forest Service because their only chance to hike did not
> conform with the date of their PCTA Long Distance Permit.  They were in
> genuine fear of having their passports confiscated for “illegal hiking.”
> Many US and foreign hikers had permits which were at variance with the
> actual dates of their starts, and many more hiked without a permit of any
> kind.
> In 2015 and 2016, the PCTA, on its own authority as trail manager,
> established a daily quota of 50 Long Distance Permits starting at the
> border during the height of through-hiker season.  I was told by Beth
> Boyst, the PCT Trail Manager for the US Forest Service, that the limit of
> 50 permits per day was her idea, stating also that she arrived at the
> decision based upon exhaustive research into the increase in hiker numbers
> experienced during the years 2012-2014, and their attendant impact on the
> first 100 miles of the PCT.   This confused me in that one agency limited
> the number of permits and another took credit for the decision, so on April
> 14 of this year, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request asking
> for all documentation discussing or supporting the 50 permit daily limit.
> The US Forest Service reply to my FOIA request providing 4 pages of
> responsive documents was received on July 7.  I will provide my original
> FOIA request and the Forest Service’s response by email to anyone who
> requests them.  I have read these documents many times, and I have found no
> basis whatsoever for limiting daily hiking permits.  This is the official
> response of the government of the United States to a valid request for
> information.  By law, it is exhaustive and complete.  There is no more
> information to consider.  No anecdotes, no feelings, no opinions, no
> guesses.
> So, with the 2016 PCT through hiking season drawing to a close, there will
> be many hikers with recent experiences on the trail who may be willing to
> share their experiences and offer their opinions regarding the necessity
> and efficacy of the 2015-2016 permit limitations.  IMO, this is necessary
> if the PCT hiking community wants to influence the 2017 hiking season on
> the PCT, either in favor of permit limitations, or opposed to them.  You
> should not expect to be asked for your experiences and opinions by the US
> Forest Service or the PCTA.  Some of us recall how the permit limitations
> were implemented for the past 2 years.  There was no public discussion,
> there was no opportunity for hikers to state their positions, and there was
> no advance notice.  Hikers first became aware of the 50 permit per day
> limitation simultaneously with the opening of the issuance of permits by
> the PCTA.  There is every indication there will be more of the same in
> 2017.  Congratulations to the Class of 2016.  Good Luck to the Class of
> 2017.   BR
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