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Zion overnight permits denied?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I have been hearing of people being denied overnight permits for canyon trips in Zion this year, for canyons where overnights have been available in the past.

    I would like to collect incidents of this. Please email me direct (ratagonia at gmail dot com) if you have experienced this with full details. Or post here, one way or the other.

    Tom
  2. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    I sort of was. Sort of is the correct phrase. I will tell you the story anyway, in case you are interested and it may help.

    Over Memorial Day weekend, four of us wanted to do Imlay Canyon as an overnighter. One glitch in the system is that for the last minute drawing, there is no selection for an overnight trip.

    I called the backcountry desk to see if I should make two different permits on different days or just to get one permit. The first person I was on the phone with told me that there is no overnight camping allowed in Imlay Canyon and that it had to be done as a day trip. The second person on the phone told me that I could camp, but (we were going to come in the Sneak) to only get a day permit (for the day that we would be doing the technical part) and that they would change it in the office. If I could avoid it, I didn't want to take away someone else's permit, so I only reserved one day. It as stupid and trusting of me, I know.

    Anyway, obviously when I got to the permit office, they told me no and that my reservation was no good for an overnight trip and that I couldn't get one.

    So, if I would have made two separate reservations, I could have gotten the overnight trip. Thus, it doesn't count as me being denied an overnight permit.

    I still think the story is worth posting since I was originally told on the phone by a ranger that no overnight camping is allowed in Imlay Canyon. Obviously, other rangers know that it is. At least one of the rangers, however, believes (or at least did believe) that no overnight camping is allowed in Imlay Canyon. This is just a hunch, but the ranger on the phone who told me that no overnight camping is allowed in Imlay canyon may be the same one who has denied others permits.
  3. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    Better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
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  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Thank you Scott. This careful parsing of permits and quotas has not been a problem in the past, methinks.

    My experience is that when doing an overnight canyoneering trip, that the quota for the first day is usually the only quota that is applied.

    Have people been required to get permits (/reservations) for both days when doing a two day technical trip in Zion???

    Thanks.

    Tom
  5. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    That's definitely not what I was told. If it were the case, we would have done Imlay that weekend.


    I assume much of it depends on whether you have an advanced reservation or a last minute drawing reservation. Unfortunately, online they do not have the same options:

    Permit.JPG

    Imlay.JPG

    If you go for the last minute drawing option, and wanted to go overnight I was told (when I tried to pick up my permit) that I should have reserve both days (which is different than what the person told me on the phone). The advanced permit reservation has a different option.

    I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but if it helps (maybe helps the park service clarify their own policy as well), the person who told me (over the phone) that no camping at all was allowed in Imlay was female. When I went to pick up my permit, the person that told me I needed a permit reservation for both days was the guy with reddish hair and a beard. He said that he knows you, so maybe you know who he is.

    I assume that none of this is intentional, but that they are confused as to their own permit system. The person on the phone may have been looking at the Zion Backcountry map (their toop map also says the same thing), which at the backcountry desk. If so, then it really does indicate that Imlay is closed to camping. Imlay is in the yellow part which says "no camping except in designated sites". Any ranger who was not familiar with the overnight canyoneering permits available in Heaps and Imlay might look at the map and come to the same conclusion.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
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  6. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Somewhat related, I have been denied the two permits for Telephunin 2 years ago. That ranger (who I had not seen before, and have not seen since) said something to the tune of "In the main canyon we only issue one permit per day per group." Which I know isn't true, as Telephunin is a thing.

    To that point, last year I did the "highlight reel" with/for a friend (start Mystery from the top early, run up/down Angel's, drive out and around and hammer out Subway). The specific ranger behind the desk knows me and my permit habits well, and she had no qualms with issuing next-day permits for Mystery and Subway both, and wished me well on the "best-of-Zion tour."

    So I'd wager it has something to do with how long the ranger has been around Zion specifically, and seen what is and is not a thing.
  7. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Aye, to that point, the person who denied me Telephunin could have been a summer intern, while the lass that approved the highlight reel is a female, with a long, dark braid, and an ice cold stare who I love watching her role her eyes at the weekend warriors while they're not looking. I think she's an Amazon.
  8. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    I actually thought that this is correct (as long as you start from a single trailhead). I thought that if you start from the same trailhead, they do issue only one permit. They can, however, issue one permit for more than one canyon (such as Telephone-Behunin). You use one permit for both canyons. Same with Englestead-Orderville, Kolob-Narrows, Echo-Mystery, Das Boot-Subway, etc. The quotas do apply to both though.

    If someone wanted to do a Englestead-Orderville trip, they would have to make reservations for both canyons (unless permits were available for walk in), however only a single permit would be issued.

    At least this has been my experience.

    Maybe others have had a different experience?
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  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    When you reserve an Englestead permit, you automatically get an Orderville reservation too.

    This does not work for Das Boot-Subway or Russell Gulch-Subway, because you CAN hike out from there. And because the Subway permit is the harder one to get.

    Yes, you can get more than one canyon on a permit. The permit is for a trip. If you do not travel in a car or the Park Shuttle, then you are still on the same trip. (Not sure about using bikes).

    I tend not to try to get the popular permits on weekends in the summer, so I rarely have permit drama.

    Tom
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  10. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    That's what's nice about living next to the park and having a flexible schedule. ;)

    Anyway, one partial solution to this that I see is to have the same online options available for the Last Minute Drawing as the Advanced Permit Reservation. I assume that this was just an oversight rather than intentional(?). They could also take a part of Imlay out of the color coded "designated sites only" on their maps as well. It seems that it would eliminate some of the confusion and to make their jobs easier (especially for new employees/interns).

    On a different note, does anyone know why Heaps is allowed 20 people a day (at least on the website) and most other wilderness canyons (i.e. excluding Pine, Keyhole, Subway, and Orderville) have quotas of 12?
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  11. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    So that hopefully the ones who get stuck have ample amounts of people coming behind to help them out? :happy:
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  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Some of the canyons have been moved upward in quota. Those with Owl concerns have a lower quota (like 12) in the spring, and a larger quota (18 or 20) in the fall. I think there is no concern about owls in Heaps.

    Tom
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  13. ScottM

    ScottM Looking for a canyon, you got one?

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    Have people been required to get permits (/reservations) for both days when doing a two day technical trip in Zion???

    Tom,

    I recently (2 weeks ago) asked this question, specific to Imlay, as I was part of the Memorial Day 4-some Scott P. previously mentioned. I was told that the permit would need to include both dates and that the overnight portion would decrement from the quota on both days - I emphasized that no portion of the technical canyon would be descended on the overnight day. The Ranger briefly discussed with another and both were in agreement that the overnight trip would only be permitted if that specific days allotment hadn't already been depleted - thus, the quota cost would be "4 permits for each day" (x2). I was told the actual cost (monetary) would be the same as if the canyon was being descended in a single day.

    I also spoke with the gentlemen with the reddish beard (on a separate occasion, or weekend for that matter) that Scott P. previously spoke with. The other Ranger he conferred with was also female. I suspect likely both the same individuals Scott P. mentions above.

    Scott
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I stand corrected. Perhaps I did not notice that quota was being checked for both days in the past, but then, I usually go one day on these, and I am not usually the permit-holder.

    Tom
  15. deathtointernet

    deathtointernet

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    Has this been recently changed? Or does it only apply to reservations made before the last minute permit window? I ask because last year I was looking at a last minute permit to Englestead and the permit specifically said that Orderville was full and my only option was to hike out upper Orderville (which obviously necessitates being able to climb the first boulder obstacle). I then assumed this applied to all the canyons entering Orderville: Bulloch, Miss-me, etc. Not a situation I was entirely happy with, and in fact I still mention it when talking about the idea for permits for dayhiking the lower Narrows and my concerns they might end up closing all the canyons (Mystery, Imlay, etc.) because the Narrows quota is full. Considering the small impact the not-very-frequent group or two coming down Englestead would make on the much higher quota for Orderville, I was pretty disappointed with the park's decision on this.
  16. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    A lot of those canyons drop into The Narrows below Big Springs, and are thus not subject to Narrows quota (Imlay, Not-Imlay, Mystery, MOM, Orderville).

    Technically, since Englestead hits Orderville INSIDE the Park, you would need an Orderville permit to go UP Orderville from E - so nice of them to allow you to sneak up that 1/4 mile without the proper permit.

    "Considering the small impact the not-very-frequent group or two coming down Englestead would make on the much higher quota for Orderville, I was pretty disappointed with the park's decision on this."

    I think the entire program works better when not read strictly; I think the goals of the Park are much better met with lax enforcement.

    Tom
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  17. deathtointernet

    deathtointernet

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    So I guess getting an Englestead permit gets you an Orderville permit automatically... but only if there is an Orderville permit for you to get? It's been a while since I came down all of Orderville proper, I guess I need to take a look at that drop and see how much it would take to up-climb it, but it seems, well, interesting that the park would want to restrict groups to having the only available exit require skills that the actual canyon does not (and I'm saying bare-bones, not what is a good idea). I would also wonder what the park's limits on, again, something like Bulloch is. Can I also hike up Orderville from there? It would require nothing more technical than hiking up from Englestead, but you would end up hiking more mileage through a permit canyon than if you just went down.

    And my concerns for the Narrows is about the recent suggestions being talked about for day-use permits on Angels Landing and the lower Narrows. So my worry is that something like, say Mystery or Imlay would no longer be possible for a last minute permit, since the Narrows would almost certainly meet its quota throughout summer. But that's a whole other discussion, purely hypothetical at this point.
  18. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I've done Englestead and up, and it was not fun. We did not have a car at the Corral, so we walked all the way up to the Gifford Ranch. A lot of uphill there, on the road.

    The climbup is not too hard, but a bit exposed. Chimney moves. We had the impetus of it being raining and flowing, with the expectation of the flowing increasing... stimulating!!

    T
  19. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    The ranger Amazon said it didn't need a permit for that 1/4 mile of Orderville because there isn't any technical in that 1/4 mile. However, she mentioned that if the hole below the obstacle became too deep, requiring special equipment to get over, that it would change and a permit would be required.
  20. ScottM

    ScottM Looking for a canyon, you got one?

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    If this notion of lower Narrows by permit ever did come to fruition, which I highly doubt it will, I would hope the NPS (aka powers that be) would have the foresight to "reserve" enough of that daily quota to ensure all permitted canyons are covered - whether the canyon permits are used or not. In other words, current technical quota for all canyons exiting via the Narrows + daily limit for lower Narrows.
    deathtointernet likes this.
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