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Old 01-26-2015   #11's Avatar
lafayette, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1961
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 495
I apply for the dates that work best for me and could care less about the odds of winning. If we are putting in as a large group (multiple apps.) we pick the dates that work best for the group. I and the people I raft with the most often with win our fair share, so who knows.
When we do win we try and expand our group by inviting a few new people we do not know.
Pay backs are a great thing.

Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life on or off the river. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2015   #12
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
One stratagy is to try and predict when the next government shutdown is planned. Then try and work around it. I hear rumor the next one will start on the 2nd of July and last for a week or two!

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Old 01-26-2015   #13
Dipshit with the most.
carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,496
With our success rate running around every other year the only thing that I can give you is the more random and new person to your boating circle that you invite to your permit date, the better the chance of them drawing.

I swear to you it's true. Expand your boating circle and draw a permit.
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Old 01-26-2015   #14
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
Originally Posted by carvedog View Post
I swear to you it's true. Expand your boating circle and draw a permit.
I think this breaks down when your group is so big you can't invite everyone. I mean some of you are like woo hoo I have this giant group of 50 people we all apply for july 4 and win and kill all your chances. well you can't have all 50 people on your permit so then what?

MFS needs to go to a weighted system like the grand where you get a point every year.
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Old 01-26-2015   #15
Plunk your magic twanger!
Gremlin's Avatar
New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,105
If someone in your group is lucky enough to win a permit then it comes down to who can commit first. Certainly, bailing with a weak reason on a commitment will leave you off some future plans. I can appreciate being excited and then becoming unsure when weather, flows etc. make you uneasy.

As the permit applicant and trip leader I try to only apply for trips I can commit to regardless of who might join me.
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Old 01-27-2015   #16
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
I love these threads.

I read a pretty good break down on the Idaho 4 rivers lottery system the other day. It is computer generated and random draw. They have a few computers running an identical spript. Up to 15 scripts at a time. The script grabs an application and looks at date #1. If it is availbale it books it for you. If not it looks at date #2. Repeat for all 4 dates. If they are all taken you get a rejection email. Speed dating at its finest.

Some possible strategies:
Hedge. Start with prime dates and maybe throw in a less peopular date on date # 3 or 4 to boost the odds. Definitely start with your most desired dates.
Groups. More appliations mean a better chance at an early draw in the system. Whether these people all go for the same date or a variety is a matter of taste. there are certainly dates that are randomly less popuilar and your odds of hitting one of these goes up. But you also randomly hit the most popular and hard to get dates. it probably averages out.
Big groups- I email everyone I think would want to go and encourage them to apply. If they win I aid them in setting up a trip. If they do not win I do not promise a reciprocal invite. Th permit holder decides who goes and that is out of my hands. If I draw a permit I send out a large pool of invites with a deadline and cash deposit. I've never been over booked after the cash settles.

from the FS website:
What’s going on with the weighted lottery idea?
Early in 2013, the Four Rivers Lottery Group was informed that the contractor responsible for the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) permits and reservations system was about to start developing the programming needed to offer weighted lotteries within the next few years.
Weighted lotteries have been a hot topic for permitted rivers for many years, and the 4 Rivers group was asked if we were interested in moving to a weighted drawing system for our lotteries. If interested, we could submit our requirements as part of the contractor’s development of the programming.
So in February, we sent out emails to the 2013 lottery applicants for the 4 Rivers, letting them know that weighted lotteries might soon be possible, with specific proposed parameters listed online. Over 21,000 emails were sent out; almost a 1,000 responses were received, with the majority in favor of a weighted system, especially for the Selway and the Middle Fork.
As the responses were being tallied, the contractor gave us a cost estimate of $45,000 to develop the programming needed for the proposed weighted lottery system, with implementation possible for the 2015 lottery drawing.
We then asked the NRRS folks if they would cover the $45,000 cost of the weighted lottery development, since other programs would likely be able to use a similar system in the future.
During our funding discussions with the NRRS, we were advised that the current contract expires at the end of September in 2016. The NRRS folks were beginning to draft a new contract, and informed us that this new contract will require the development of weighted options for lotteries.
At this point, we were informed that since programming options for weighted lotteries will be included in the next contract, the NRRS would not cover the $45,000 cost to have this programming developed for the 2015 lottery.
For now, weighted lotteries have been tabled until the new contract is in place. Once that functionality becomes available, a weighted lottery may be implemented for the Selway and/or Middle Fork of the Salmon Rivers.
We want to thank everyone who took the time to send in their comments. Stay tuned.
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Old 01-28-2015   #17
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Bazzaro, World
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,323
The best possible strategy for landing a MFS permit is to have lots of friends that would be willing to take you if they draw. And if you draw, you need to fill every spot on your permit with people who will feel in debt to you if they draw in the future. If you are pooling up with 1 or 2 others or by yourself the odds are better in Vegas.
Bound is boatless man
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Old 01-28-2015   #18
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
if the system works like has been discussed here - select an application and then look to the dates - wouldn't your odds be better if everyone picked different dates.

Here's the scenario - you have a group where everyone picked the same dates. Group Member 1 gets selected by random draw and his dates are already booked. Then Group Member 2 gets selected - if his dates are the same as Group Member 1 then he has no chance of winning either. If his dates are different though he at least has a chance.

I did not do well in statistics in college, so someone please chime in if you have any input.
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Old 01-28-2015   #19
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
The odds probably go up a bit with spread out dates, but also go equally down if you look at it as 4 entries. It really depends on what you want out of the trip. If you really want to go in a certain date range loading those dates with applications is your only real choice.
Say you put in for July 4, which someone on here clearly stated they are going to win, the odds on that date are supposedly terrible. Maybe the first 4 applications drawn all have July 4 as their dates and it is booked. Your applications are all dead if that is your only date. We know you ar going to put alternates and if you look at the data there is a lot of variation in a 4 day window. So as long as you are putting in all 4 dates the odds probably even out somewhat.
But the opposite is true. Let's say few people put in for June 27 because they know that is my birthday. 1/4 permits are issued after drawing 7000 permits. Your peeps have been unlucky enough to not be drawn so far. You still have 30 peeps in an ever shrinking pool. The odds look very good for you in this case by stacking one day.

Spreading the dates throughout the season and being wiling to go on an August 23 suffer fest is where you can actually move the needle in a meaningful way.

But for my group many of us have to schedule vacation in january. So picking a random spread of dates doesn't work for us. I imagine it is like that a lot.

Put in for the dates that work for you and when you are willing to go.
Less water = better odds
Tons of water = better odds
medium water = slim chance

My trips have largely been big water or lovely bones. But I'm totally happy with those.

Best of luck to all of you in the lottery.
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Old 01-28-2015   #20
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Bazzaro, World
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,323
Originally Posted by BrianK View Post
if the system works like has been discussed here - select an application and then look to the dates - wouldn't your odds be better if everyone picked different dates.

I think so. That's what my friend do. We all pick dates that work the best for each individual. If someone wins, then you are on their time schedule.

Bound is boatless man
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