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Re: Gaming the System

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Gaming the System
June 04, 2022 07:21AM
On our last trip to SEKI, we met quite a few hikers heading up to Paradise Valley. We were hiking the Mist Falls Trail, one of the most popular in the park, and we kept running into to backpackers.

The first two were hiking out just as we were hitting the trail. And wouldn't you know it, they were not only lugging backpacks, but also hiking with a dog. A well-behaved dog on a leash, but a totally illegal dog nevertheless. A nearby hiker commented that he hoped a ranger would catch them.

But of course, no range did catch them, because they were hiking the day before Memorial Day weekend. And that means it was the day before permits were being issued by the rangers in the park. If you arrived before that day, all you had to do was fill out the self-registration form and hit the trail.

Those were far the last backpackers we met. In fact, we met group after group of them, more than fifty hikers in all. (The trailhead limit during official permit season is twenty-five, and those are spread out over several campgrounds. This year, the lower campground is closed, so the concentration of backpackers would have been dense, to say the least.)

And that doesn't count the ones who started before we did (at a leisurely 9 a.m. departure), those who started after we exited the trail at 2:15, or any of those who had started the day before and decided that the roaring Kings River wasn't safe to cross above Paradise Valley. Those hikers would have returned to Paradise Valley to camp that night as well.

We did a quick calculation with the wilderness rangers the next day, and figured that it was likely that nearly ninety people were camped in Paradise Valley that day. That doesn't sound like much of a wilderness experience.

The rangers were well aware of the problem. They explained that there is a social media group that shares tips on how to beat the National Park System. Great. All I can say is that if you camped with ninety people in Paradise Valley, you got everything you deserved for gaming the system.

By the way, the next day we hiked the Copper Creek Trail. Didn't see a soul. Let's keep that just between the two of us, okay?

Here's a link to our trip report from those hikes: https://www.backpackthesierra.com/post/five-days-of-heaven



Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
Re: Gaming the System
June 05, 2022 12:38PM
Thaks for the trip summery. I always enjoy reading them. Nice pictures and loved the snow plant.

I understand your frustration with people who will not follow park rules. We recently got back from Yosemite and was so upset with people that were leaving trash everywhere and being in places where they should not be. One evening we decided to go to Happy Isle. My husband was taking photos while standing on the bridge to Happy Isles while I was standing near the bridge with our leashed dog. A family was approaching us from the isle with an unleashed dog that saw me and my dog standing at the other end of the bridge and the dog started running towards me, so I put up my hand in a stop motion, and the son grabbed the dog's collar. That is when they leashed the dog. When they passed my husband, he told them that they had to keep the dog on the leash and the women had the nerve to say that their dog is always on a leash. I call BS. The father took over the dog and when he passed me, I said that dogs are not allowed on the other side of the bridge and they could be fined if a ranger saw them, and he just ignored me.

Several days later while we were having a picnic at the back of our car in the parking lot near Pothole Dome. A group of people with a dog on the leash were walking in the meadow and walked right passed several signs saying not to be in the meadow. When they walked past us, I said that dogs were not allowed on the trails and the meadows and also, they were in a part of the meadow that is closed for restoration. One guy said that they were walking the dog along the road which is allowed. Excuse me, between them and the road was the parking lot, the barrier made out of tree trunks, and they were 15 feet into the meadow. Later we saw them with the dog on Pothole Dome. It is too bad that we didn't know which car was theirs or I would have taken a picture of their license plate and them in the meadow with the dog and sent it to dispatch. ton

So sad, that people just don't care.
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