Permit help for dummies? - Mountain Buzz
 



Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-04-2017   #1
 
FatmanZ's Avatar
 
Northern Utah, Utah
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 677
Permit help for dummies?

Will someone in the know clarify the following for me in regards to the Four Rivers (Idaho) lotteries?

- The lottery for each river is a general lottery for one of the available permits, right? If your name is one of the lucky few drawn, then the system will look so see if any of the four date choices you listed are available, and if so you are a winner, right???

If yes, I've spent way too much time each year analyzing previous years' stats to find the day with the best possible chance of drawing (highest # of launches available vs. least number of applicants), something that matters very, very little. The biggest odds not in our favor is the sheer number of applicants and the limited amount of permits. For 2017, the Middle Fork had a 1 in 34 chance (387 permits for 12,999 applicants) of drawing a permit. If trends hold steady, for 2018 you'll have a 1 in 38 chance of drawing.

FatmanZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-04-2017   #2
My name isn't Will
 
Will Amette's Avatar
 
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 137
The lottery for each river is now separate. You can submit four applications; one per river.

The way it ~should~ work is that if your application is selected, the computer checks your first choice date. If that's available, congratulations; you win that date. If it's not available, your second choice is considered. If any of your dates are available, congratulations. You get a permit on one of the days you indicated you wanted to launch. If none of your dates is available, sorry; even though your name was drawn, you don't get a permit. There's no way to know the odds until the lottery is over, but you can opt for a range of odds based on expected streamflow, day of week, or major holidays. Good luck.

The odds you calculated of winning OVERALL is correct -- about a 2.6% chance of success. But that's not the whole story. If you apply for dates that are likely to have ideal flows, your odds are much less. If you don't mind a low-water trip or getting a permit when the road might not open yet, your odds are MUCH better. Not good, but better.

For fun, just look at FIRST CHOICE dates on MF Salmon. Only five people applied for August 26 as their first choice. There were five permits! If you look at ALL choices, there are a number of days when there were just about 60 applications for permits. That's somewhere near a 10% chance of winning. Not great, but better than 1 in 38. There were a few dates when there were around 1100 applications listing that date and one that had 1300 applications for one of only THREE coveted launches. Those odds are REALLY dismal -- one in 433 or a 0.23% chance of success. Still better than Powerball, but not that good. People still play Powerball....

All that aside, if your application is the first one picked for any particular river, you WILL get your first choice date. One of the 13,000 people who applied for the Middle Fork for 2017 had to be first.

So what does all that really mean? Please don't apply for the Four Rivers lottery. Save your six bucks ($24 if you apply for all four rivers) for something else. You're just making my odds worse.
Will Amette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2017   #3
 
FatmanZ's Avatar
 
Northern Utah, Utah
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 677
Thanks for the info. I wish we had access to understand exactly how this works. Humor me and check me at the same time with the following as my statistical skills are sorely lacking.

The example you provided is a good illustration of what has tripped me up in the past. You cite a .23% chance of success (one in 433 - 3 permits, 1,300 apps). But that's not accurate is it?

The initial lottery pass presumably pulls 387 lucky names from the pot of 13,000 applicants. The system then checks 1st thru 4th choice dates (as needed) on each of the 387 names to match them with available permits. So the initial lottery has a 1 in 34 chance (2017 - MFS).

Now we look at the number of applications by day, right? July 10, 2017 had a total of 1,290 applications for the Middle Fork, with 3 permits available. So of the 13,000 total applications, almost 10% of them were for July 10 date. So of the 387 names drawn, you'd expect roughly 39 of them to be for the July 10th date. With only 3 permits available, that would give you a 1 in 13 chance of drawing a permit for July 10 - AFTER - the initial draw chance of 1 in 34. Dismal odds overall. That doesn't even include factors for 1st thru 4th choice.

In a contrasting example, Aug 24 had 113 applicants. Less than 1% of the overall applications. So of the 387 names draw, 4 of them would likely be drawn for that date. There are five permits available for that date, so once you pass the first drawing you would be 100%+ likely to get one of the permits for that day.

In summary, if you're lucky enough to pass the initial chance of 1 in 34 odds, then opting for a day with less applicants can greatly increase your odds of getting a permit.
FatmanZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-04-2017   #4
My name isn't Will
 
Will Amette's Avatar
 
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 137
I think you're missing something. Your odds are NOT one in 34 to get a permit even though that's the success rate ~~overall~~. The odds vary by day. You get to choose four days; the odds of success for any given day are different. It depends how many folks also list that date.

Imagine that by some strange circumstance, all applications were for the same four dates, and let's make the math easy and say there are four launches each of those days. The computer would keep drawing names until those four dates were full - 16 launches. Then it would keep drawing names until there were no more names in the "hat." If 13,000 applications were submitted, that actually means 52,000 CHANCES -- remember, everyone picked four dates. Your odds of success would have been 16 in 52,000. Those are LONG odds. Now let's say just one person had picked one different date. Let's also just pretend that person was the very last name drawn from the "hat." That person still gets a permit.

Similarly, if there was only one person who listed one particular date, that person will win a permit. If no other dates are available when that person's name is drawn, they win that one date nobody else applied for. If that date was a fourth choice, they might get a "better" launch date. Either way, their odds ended up being 1 in 1 at least for the date that nobody else applied for. I think 100% is pretty good odds. Pick that day!

Your odds increase when you pick less desirable dates. Now if folks start applying for "less desirable" dates to increase their odds, those dates are now MORE desirable. Not for streamflow or weather, but for odds.

I think the actual statistics are more complex than I can assess because of the four chances. Ideally you get your first choice.

And of course I forgot that Recreation.gov will be taking more cash from your wallet now that they are trying to make the system more secure for follow-up trips. That's who REALLY wins the lottery -- the vendor who runs the lottery. The four rivers lottery system had almost 30,000 entries last year. At six bucks each, that's $180,000 for the 2017 lottery. If the same number apply for 2018, they get a $120,000 bonus just because they didn't have all the holes patched up in their system. And because odds are so low, most folks apply for SEVERAL permits even if they know they can only go on one (oh, ok three) trip(s). It's a happy/sad day when one has to decide which coveted permit to throw back. I haven't had that conundrum yet. Wish me luck.
Will Amette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2017   #5
 
Willi..., Willimina, OR
Paddling Since: 68
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 482
The whole purpose of the lottery system is not to get a permit but to support those that do. That way one can justify the expense of the donation to the park service.
garystrome is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
MFS permit holder (june 30) to share trip with Main permit holder go-with-the-Flo Rafting | Trip Planner 0 06-20-2017 09:34 AM
Permitted River Trips for Dummies bwaters932 Rafting | Trip Planner 4 04-25-2017 08:01 AM
Rowing for dummies sammyphsyco Whitewater Rafting 48 08-18-2015 11:36 AM
Westwater Permit Available windriver Whitewater Kayaking 0 10-04-2011 04:00 PM

» Classified Ads
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:37 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.