Permit Denial - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-11-2016   #1
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Permit Denial

Here we go again! Another year where I start to get the emails showing that my permit applications were unsuccessful. Money gone, sad day.

Each time I get a denial, I wonder about the fact that I can take my credit card out and book any trip with a for profit guide company.

I know this has been hashed out before on this site, however I though I would start it up again.

How are we as citizens prevented from floating navigable water year after year, yet for profit companies are allowed the majority of permits?

I know there are times I can get on a river without a permit (early/late season), but I just can't shake the feeling of discrimination by our governing agencies when I am told NO!

I'm not trying to start a thread about the merits of guide companies, just something about the legality of preventing me from putting my boat in on public land, not trespassing past riparian bank, and going down the river.


Arrrghh,

Tda
Slc

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Old 02-11-2016   #2
 
FlyingDutchman's Avatar
 
Hampden, Massachusetts
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Commercial guides often take larger groups. Like you, I think there should be less commercial permits. I think those of us private boaters have more love and appreciation for the river/whitewater and the trip of a lifetime. That being said I landed a July middle fork permit and I am stoked!
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Old 02-11-2016   #3
 
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
 
Bazzaro, Free
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I wish I could say I feel your pain. I have been lucky enough to draw 4 permits (2 Main, MFS, Salt) in the last 25 years and no less than 20 cancellations. The best way to get on the permit runs in Idaho is to move here! And play the cancellation game. If you can get to the put in less than 12 hours, you could run the MFS every year.

Is what really chaps my hide is all the cancellations in august that do not get filled because the ppl who draw put August down as their 4th and are not willing to go.
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Old 02-11-2016   #4
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
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I agree, however I still hate that private boaters are forced to do the cancellation boogie and the guide companies know their dates way ahead.

I'm still waiting for Gates....

If I lose out, I can always do Cat, which is really rad!

tda
slc
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Old 02-11-2016   #5
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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Does anybody know where one can see the amount of permits the guide companies are given compared to that of a private boater?
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Old 02-11-2016   #6
 
the fort, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanderson View Post
Does anybody know where one can see the amount of permits the guide companies are given compared to that of a private boater?
You can go to the main 4 Rivers lotto page and find those statistics. The USFS breaks it down by number of private launches and number of commercial launches each day during the permit lottery season. Last time I looked, there were 7 launches a day, and the split was usually something like 3 private/4 commercial, 4 private/3 commercial, or sometimes 5 private/2 commercial all depending on the day of the week/season.
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Old 02-11-2016   #7
 
Nye, Montana
Paddling Since: 2012
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I agree with you. Non resident hunting tags are capped at 5 to 10% of the total number available. Once again the well-to-do can skip right over you!

Dbk is right though. I was able to get 4 or 5 lower rogue permits and one hells canyon cancellation permits. When I get laid off I plan on just hanging at daggar falls harrassing the fs until they break down and just give me a permit.
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Old 02-11-2016   #8
 
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Its not the FS that you talk to. Its the campers. Get a spot and start meeting the private parties. I have never waited more than 3 days to get on.

Someone from a private trip will cancel and they will pick you up to keep the costs down. Nobody wants to pay extra and ppl are always looking to save money.

As for commercial trips. I hate to say it but I think they serve their purpose. They always fill their permits and its going to cost a private boater $500 anyway if not more. So the jobs and service guides provide is something I wont bitch about.

With that said... I just booked a trip with a guide just because I want to float the MFS this year.. If ya can't beat them.. join them.
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Old 02-11-2016   #9
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
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TLDNR

As an economist who has done research on optimal permit allocation I feel it is my responsibility to play devils advocate to some of the self righteous indignation about permit rejection (myself included). I have no affiliation with the federal government and I will probably be here complaining if I don’t get a happy email tomorrow, Monday or Tuesday. Not to make value judgments about how egalitarian the allocation system is, there are a couple things we need to keep in mind.
First to address the opening bit about the “legality of preventing me from putting my boat in on public land, not trespassing past riparian bank”. It is important to emphasize the “public land” bit. Yes it is yours, but the 97% of the population that doesn’t boat also pays taxes to maintain your public land by funding the Department of the Interior, USDA, etc. The number of permits issued (at the well managed lands) are determined by ecologists (check out the National Park Service, Colorado River Management Plan 2006, published by the department of the interior). If more permits were issued the ecosystems could not sustain themselves (i.e. regenerate the flora above the riparian bank that would get trampled if there were more visitors). I remember the sweet old lady forest ranger at the Main Salmon put in refer to the campsites as “cat litter boxes”.

The other main reason the overall number of permits issued are limited are to keep it enjoyable (my research is on how many people could be on the river before the crowds start making it displeasurable). Last year there were almost 600 applications for the first week of June to float the San Juan. 41 were awarded. I pay taxes to maintain the river just as much as you and if everyone on this forum were on the river I might not think it was worth it.

To address the “How are we as citizens prevented from floating navigable water year after year, yet for profit companies are allowed the majority of permits?”. The answer lies in that 97% of the population that doesn’t boat but does pay taxes to maintain our public land. This gets to how to address the commercial trip bit: “Each time I get a denial, I wonder about the fact that I can take my credit card out and book any trip with a for profit guide company.” Everyone on earth knows how amazing it is to float the grand canyon. Every single person on this forum has been asked about it by a non-boating acquaintance. It sucks to get a denial. But my girlfriend’s dad could never get denied for the trip of a lifetime. Why, because he could never apply, he doesn’t know the first thing about boating. The only way for him to ever get to see the grand canyon that he pays taxes to maintain for us is to “pull out his credit card”. Less than 25% of Grand launches in July are private boaters. That’s so that the many people who don’t boat and vacation in July can make it happen. It is not “discrimination by our governing agencies when I am told NO”, it is enabling us to enjoy the solitude and the non-boaters to share the experience we all know is bitchin’. The only thing about it that is in-egalitarian is that most people can’t use a credit card to pay five grand for a vacation.

So I have used the Grand Canyon example because their permit system is expertly managed and they have the best data for an academic. The four rivers permit system is also considered well managed. Dino is a bunch of ****. I don’t think there actually is a lottery for the Chama, just a dart board and drunk New Mexicans (I am one).

And besides the shortage of permits, everyone on this forum knows that the river community always hooks it up. 50 permit winners means 400 boats. If I don’t get a happy email between now and Tuesday, someone who does get a permit will invite me. There have been like 20 permit invites on mountain buzz in the last week.
If you read this far, I am sorry.

p.s. For a hundred bucks I'll sell you the algorithm I wrote to triple your odds in the permit lottery game
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Old 02-11-2016   #10
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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Great response! I guess that I don't have much sympathy for somebody that hasn't taken the time to learn how to run rivers or knows somebody that does. I completely agree that there needs to be permit control to prevent insane crowds. Perhaps a 50/50 private/commercial permit process would be a good compromise?

As for the tax argument, I don't feel as though the government is responsible for keeping something like the bottom of the Grand Canyon available to all tax payers through the use of guide companies. Does the government have to make the bottom of Monument Basin in Canyonlands accessible to all since their taxes pay for that as well? Image no guide companies. I bet the crowds and land use would be less. It would be a lot wilder and the take out and put in's would be rough. Its a crazy idea that won't happen. I just want to shine some light on the imbalance.



I still want to know how I can be legally prevented from putting my boat in without a permit on a river?????



Tda
slc
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