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Zed
02-01-2017, 22:48
http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf

Wow, here we go!

Krippledprophet
02-01-2017, 23:03
http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf

Wow, here we go!


Its concerning because the southbound thru total caps quite low. Granted it's a lot of hikers for southbound but how many will be grabbed and not utilized fully.

Zed
02-01-2017, 23:06
I don't understand why they are issuing permits for southbound period. I was under the impression southbounders must reserve campsites and cannot use the Birches. Maybe I'm wrong.

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somers515
02-01-2017, 23:15
http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf

Wow, here we go!

Anyone know or could provide a link for the process for day use visitors that don't need a parking spot?

"If all available cards have been issued, AT hikers may still complete their hike byentering the Park through the Togue Pond Gate following the same process as other dayuse or camping visitors."

Sarcasm the elf
02-01-2017, 23:19
I have not yet been to BSP and am slightly confused. Can someone clarify, if a person secures a normal BSP campground reservation are they able to hike the A.T. Section in the park?

Are people able to enter or exit via the A.T. if they have otherwise normal reservations? Or do they have to both enter and exit the park via the main entrance?

TJ aka Teej
02-01-2017, 23:23
The available num
ber of AT-Hiker Permit Cards for 2017 will be as follows:
Northbound
: 1,350
Southbound
: 610
Section:
840
Flip-Flop:
350
Total:
3,150

TJ aka Teej
02-01-2017, 23:25
Can someone clarify, if a person secures a normal BSP campground reservation are they able to hike the A.T. Section in the park?
If you're a thru, section, or flipper, you need a permit.
http://baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf

Guyler
02-01-2017, 23:27
I'm not sure the impacts of this, how concerned should NOBO/SOBO hikers be about this rule?

How long is the section through Baxter Park?
Is Park Headquarters or Katahdin Stream Campground right on the trail?
If you get there and they've met the quota you shuttle passed it?

Sarcasm the elf
02-01-2017, 23:31
If you're a thru, section, or flipper, you need a permit.
http://baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf

What I'm asking is I don't quite follow the wording in the pdf. Does the permit apply only to those who are entering the park without normal reservations under the A.T. Long distance hiker rules, or are they now requiring that people who already have normal park reservations double up and also obtain the permit if they plan to hike the A.T. Within the park?

PennyPincher
02-01-2017, 23:46
this is NOT good

TJ aka Teej
02-02-2017, 00:01
What I'm asking is I don't quite follow the wording in the pdf. Does the permit apply only to those who are entering the park without normal reservations under the A.T. Long distance hiker rules, or are they now requiring that people who already have normal park reservations double up and also obtain the permit if they plan to hike the A.T. Within the park?
Sobos are in the Park with reservations (for the majority) - they need permits, as to all LD ATers.
No one said you have to double up - not part of this at all (although good practice).
When the permits run out, the Birches is closed, and LD ATers will have follow the same rules as all other visitors.
Remember, this is 400 more permits for '17 than there were ATers in '16.

TJ aka Teej
02-02-2017, 00:02
this is NOT good
Why do you think that?

TJ aka Teej
02-02-2017, 00:05
How long is the section through Baxter Park? 15.4
Is Park Headquarters or Katahdin Stream Campground right on the trail? The AT runs through KSC.
If you get there and they've met the quota you shuttle passed it? Huh?

Sarcasm the elf
02-02-2017, 00:06
Sobos are in the Park with reservations (for the majority) - they need permits, as to all LD ATers.
No one said you have to double up - not part of this at all (although good practice).
When the permits run out, the Birches is closed, and LD ATers will have follow the same rules as all other visitors.
Remember, this is 400 more permits for '17 than there were ATers in '16.

Don't get me wrong, none of this seems particularly concerning (or surprising) to me, I've been expecting them to bring the A.T. rules in line with the rest of their mamagement system. I was just a bit uncertain of my interpretation of the press release.

Zed
02-02-2017, 00:10
If you're a thru, section, or flipper, you need a permit.
http://baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf
OK, so say I arrive late in the season, and find all the permits have been issued and The Birches is closed. To complete my hike, I would have to make a reservation for a campsite, and pay the fee, correct? Would I be able to do this in person in the park, assuming sites are available?

imscotty
02-02-2017, 00:14
My interpretation is that once the NOBO permits are all taken, a hiker who hikes to the park border on the AT will have to turn around, find a way to hike and hitch into Millinocket, get a 'Day Use Parking Reservation' for Katahdin(if any are available), rent a car, drive in and park, hike to the southern park boundary and back, then climb Katahdin and back, exit the park.

Am I missing something?

TJ aka Teej
02-02-2017, 00:18
OK, so say I arrive late in the season, and find all the permits have been issued and The Birches is closed. To complete my hike, I would have to make a reservation for a campsite, and pay the fee, correct? Would I be able to do this in person in the park, assuming sites are available?
"If all available cards have been issued, AT hikers may still complete their hike by entering the Park through the Togue Pond Gate following the same process as other dayuse or camping visitors."
This part interests me. I do not yet know enough to comment on it.

PennyPincher
02-02-2017, 00:18
Why do you think that?

What happens when you are NOBO number 1351 or Section hiker #841?

Alligator
02-02-2017, 00:25
I have not yet been to BSP and am slightly confused. Can someone clarify, if a person secures a normal BSP campground reservation are they able to hike the A.T. Section in the park?

Are people able to enter or exit via the A.T. if they have otherwise normal reservations? Or do they have to both enter and exit the park via the main entrance?

#9 of the document says

If all available cards have been issued, AT hikers may still complete their hike by entering the Park through the Togue Pond Gate following the same process as other day use or camping visitors.
So you have to go through the gate, follow some of the additional park rules about backcountry camping and/or parking and/or dayhiking. Depends on how you plan the rest of it out.

MuddyWaters
02-02-2017, 00:30
Not BSP, but ATC might be contemplating permits and required shelter reservations , ala gsmnp, in GA as well......

The times, they are a changing...

TJ aka Teej
02-02-2017, 00:42
What happens when you are NOBO number 1351 or Section hiker #841?
This happens. (http://baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf)

Alligator
02-02-2017, 00:43
It's dumb. They lectured the ATC about numbers of people. Now they have turned around and compressed the bubbles of NOBOs and SOBOs. It'll be a race to get the permits. Late starters will be penalized. The compressed bubbles will run up and down the trail as a result. The ATC was working on spreading out those bubbles with the registration dates.

TJ aka Teej
02-02-2017, 00:45
Not BSP, but ATC might be contemplating permits and required shelter reservations , ala gsmnp, in GA as well......

The times, they are a changing...
My daughter's photos from her section in last March's GA & NC sections were nuts. 60 people at shelters and garbage everywhere. Crazy.

imscotty
02-02-2017, 01:08
It will be a race north. This will compress 'the bubble.' Looks like BSP figures that is the ATC's problem. I do not get the sense that they are working together on this.

Krippledprophet
02-02-2017, 01:16
coincidently semantics say if you hike over katahdin starting via one of the other trails a trip down hunt doesn't require a permit. the wording clearly stats using hunt to access baxter peak from katahdin stream.

Zed
02-02-2017, 01:18
Reading the document, it doesn't appear they are stopping anyone from hiking. Rather, they are making it more complicated if you don't have a permit. Surely they would post at the kiosk that permits are gone, saving someone from hiking in to KSC only to find out they can't stay at the Birches. A nobo would then have to hike or hitch to the visitor's center to obtain a campsite (if available). I wonder how shuttles work? It'll probably be sorted out by the time I get there, not going to worry about it.

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Alligator
02-02-2017, 01:22
No real way to verify actual status. A south bound hiker could be a section hiker, flip flopper, or actual SOBO. Even the actual SOBO doesn't know, the majority don't complete. The north bound hikers, no way to verify. Considering some percentage of north bounders skip sections of the trail (you all know who you are), they are going to chew through section and flip-flop permits. Fall sectioners and flip-floppers are going to be shut out. Further amplifying the bubble as they scramble to arrive earlier in the park.

It's just a cap mainly with a bunch of extra paper work thrown in.

2017SOBO
02-02-2017, 02:31
It will be a race north. This will compress 'the bubble.' Looks like BSP figures that is the ATC's problem. I do not get the sense that they are working together on this.

Agreed. Also, this encourages people to start stupidly early. Why start in April when the weather is favorable, when you know there are thousands who started in February who are ahead of you?

illabelle
02-02-2017, 06:59
Wow, I expected that something would change, but I figured they'd ease into it.
SO VERY GLAD we did Katahdin last year!

Engine
02-02-2017, 07:11
It's dumb. They lectured the ATC about numbers of people. Now they have turned around and compressed the bubbles of NOBOs and SOBOs. It'll be a race to get the permits. Late starters will be penalized. The compressed bubbles will run up and down the trail as a result. The ATC was working on spreading out those bubbles with the registration dates. That's exactly what I thought, the numbers of hikers leaving earlier will increase dramatically and essentially the bubble will occur earlier in the season. Success rates will drop due to increased weather exposure, and fewer hikers will arrive at BSP...ahah...now I think I might better understand their thinking...

MuddyWaters
02-02-2017, 08:24
They did not discuss daily limits for nobo permits
Maybe there are none
But given the capacity of the birches, and previous nature of their complaints, maybe not

There may be some details yet to be disclosed or that will develop with time.

imscotty
02-02-2017, 09:01
What if this is a two-pronged attack on the problem? ATC implements a permit system designed to spread hikers out over time, BST designs a system that limits overall numbers.

Zed
02-02-2017, 09:36
Compared to last year's Kennebec ferry numbers, they will issue approximately 150 more nobo and 200 more sobo permits. That's around a 12% increase for nobos. While I can see huge bubbles racing up the trail to secure a permit, slow and steady will be OK, too.

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Water Rat
02-02-2017, 10:16
There are still more than enough permits. Though there will be many people starting their hikes, there will most likely not be a whole lot more (this year vs last year) who actually complete their hikes NOBO.

The AT hiker permit has to be picked up in person, so that does decrease the likelihood of people not using their permit.

This is really nothing to panic over - One can still get up the Hunt Trail if there are no more NOBO permits left. You would just need to enter the park via the Togue Pond Gate with a day use permit, or regular campsite permit (that includes day use). It really is not too hard to get a day use permit, as long as you aren't aiming for a weekend. I imagine the Monson Vsitor's Center would be able to let you know how many permits are currently available by the time you get to Monson. This would allow for pre-planning.

Krippledprophet
02-02-2017, 11:39
I foresee a fair amount more stealth camping

LoneStranger
02-02-2017, 12:17
I foresee a fair amount more stealth camping

Are you saying you expect folks to stealth just short of Abol in the DLWA with intent to summit as a day trip or did you mean you expect folks to illegally camp inside the park boundaries?

Alligator
02-02-2017, 12:44
That's exactly what I thought, the numbers of hikers leaving earlier will increase dramatically and essentially the bubble will occur earlier in the season. Success rates will drop due to increased weather exposure, and fewer hikers will arrive at BSP...ahah...now I think I might better understand their thinking...I can agree with that last part to some degree but I do think it's more of a bubble compression in time rather than shifting dates. A lot of hikers don't like to winter hike, so there will still be a concept of an earliest start date after which the majority of hikers will consider beginning.

Now on the northern terminus, there's a relatively fixed start time as BSP opens the trails. The Park Authority particularly complained about unprepared SOBO hikers. This action increases the pressure to start early.

Christoph
02-02-2017, 12:48
Interesting.
http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/community/news/2017/02/02/appalachian-trail-conservancy-challenges-baxter-state-park-2017-appalachian-trail-hiker-cap-due-to-lack-of-research-and-analysis

Alligator
02-02-2017, 12:58
Compared to last year's Kennebec ferry numbers, they will issue approximately 150 more nobo and 200 more sobo permits. That's around a 12% increase for nobos. While I can see huge bubbles racing up the trail to secure a permit, slow and steady will be OK, too.

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There are still more than enough permits. Though there will be many people starting their hikes, there will most likely not be a whole lot more (this year vs last year) who actually complete their hikes NOBO.

The AT hiker permit has to be picked up in person, so that does decrease the likelihood of people not using their permit.

This is really nothing to panic over - One can still get up the Hunt Trail if there are no more NOBO permits left. You would just need to enter the park via the Togue Pond Gate with a day use permit, or regular campsite permit (that includes day use). It really is not too hard to get a day use permit, as long as you aren't aiming for a weekend. I imagine the Monson Vsitor's Center would be able to let you know how many permits are currently available by the time you get to Monson. This would allow for pre-planning.If their growth model is correct, then within a year or two, the cap will be reached. I'm not saying their model is correct as I have not examined the numbers closely. I will take a look though when I get a chance to grab them.

As far as the AT Hiker permits not being used Water Rat, it seems like you are thinkiing that they are assigned ahead of time? I didn't read it that way. It says you can get one when you get there, if there are any left, I didn't see anything about signing up.

Not panicking here, I just think they are exacerbating the problem.

Alligator
02-02-2017, 13:11
What if this is a two-pronged attack on the problem? ATC implements a permit system designed to spread hikers out over time, BST designs a system that limits overall numbers.With BSP's cap being mandatory, and so far the ATC has been using a voluntary approach, hikers are very likely to priortize the mandatory constraint.

From the linked letter, it looks like the park went ahead with its own decisions. I'm going to look for the minutes for the BSP Authority. Might shed some light on this. Any further letters since last fall to the ATC from them?

jred321
02-02-2017, 13:19
The north bound hikers, no way to verify.
The smell is usually a giveaway

Zed
02-02-2017, 13:22
More information, with numbers:
http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/more/meetingAdvisory/Feb2_2017/AT_LD%20Hiker%20Mgmt.pdf

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Zed
02-02-2017, 13:27
Minutes from the October meeting:
http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/meetingAuthority/Dec_2_2016/BSPAMeetingMinutes2016_10-14.pdf

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imscotty
02-02-2017, 13:28
As far as the AT Hiker permits not being used Water Rat, it seems like you are thinkiing that they are assigned ahead of time? I didn't read it that way. It says you can get one when you get there, if there are any left, I didn't see anything about signing up.
.

The real problem won't be people who grab a permit and then don't use it. The real problem will be people who use a permit who do not deserve one (Example: Section hiker permits are all used up, so they claim they are a thru-hiker (or visa-versa)). There is no way to verify anyone's claim to a permit.

Engine
02-02-2017, 13:39
The real problem won't be people who grab a permit and then don't use it. The real problem will be people who use a permit who do not deserve one (Example: Section hiker permits are all used up, so they claim they are a thru-hiker (or visa-versa)). There is no way to verify anyone's claim to a permit. Hadn't thought of that, but it does create the potential for serious issues, especially once late August and September come as larger numbers begin to arrive.

swisscross
02-02-2017, 13:42
If BST really wanted to control the numbers they should have divided the permits equally between NOBO, SOBO and fippers.

MuddyWaters
02-02-2017, 13:42
Last line:


If the current issues cannot be resolved or are exacerbated, the Authority may further limit access to the Park by AT hikers.

This is a shot fired across ATCs bow.

They still dont want to expend existing levels of manpower assisting and policing AT hikers. This is only phase 1 I suspect.....

Because, as you know, they asked the ATC to do something, and they really got so far......nothing. a few flipfloppers, but still massive increases.

The ATC needs to control the flow of hikers expecting to enter BSP, themselves.

This is also a FU to attempting to drastically displace nobo to sobo or flip flops without limit, which was ATCs only plan...

imscotty
02-02-2017, 14:27
The minutes are worth a read. The Baxter State Park Authority seems to have a terrible opinion of AT hikers (specifically their vulgar behavior at the peak), and the people in the field seem to have a positive opinion of AT hikers (described as being respectful).

Some part of this may be a difference in economic background. I imagine the average through hiker may seem a vagabond to the elite. It also seems that 'bad behavior' by any visitor to BSP is automatically assumed to be coming from the AT community. They clearly expressed a poor opinion of the ATC.

MuddyWaters
02-02-2017, 14:41
The minutes are worth a read. The Baxter State Park Authority seems to have a terrible opinion of AT hikers (specifically their vulgar behavior at the peak), and the people in the field seem to have a positive opinion of AT hikers (described as being respectful).

Some part of this may be a difference in economic background. I imagine the average through hiker may seem a vagabond to the elite. It also seems that 'bad behavior' by any visitor to BSP is automatically assumed to be coming from the AT community. They clearly expressed a poor opinion of the ATC.

Might be so
But it doesnt matter
Your on someone elses property, they make the rules.
What they think..is all that matters, whether right or wrong

What seems clear, is they were serious
And ATC has sat on hands doing little to address concerns

Except to displace new hiker increases to sobo or flipflop. And advertise a bit about bad behaviors.

Heres the kick

They dont apparently want any AT hiker increases..at all

Seems to be a massive disconnect. How?

JumpMaster Blaster
02-02-2017, 15:09
No real way to verify actual status. A south bound hiker could be a section hiker, flip flopper, or actual SOBO. Even the actual SOBO doesn't know, the majority don't complete. The north bound hikers, no way to verify. Considering some percentage of north bounders skip sections of the trail (you all know who you are), they are going to chew through section and flip-flop permits. Fall sectioners and flip-floppers are going to be shut out. Further amplifying the bubble as they scramble to arrive earlier in the park.

It's just a cap mainly with a bunch of extra paper work thrown in.

This is my concern as well. So much for me running up to BSP to "knock out" Katahdin as a section hiker. That's a lot of money to spend flying up to Maine to do a dayhike.

Engine
02-02-2017, 15:13
If BST really wanted to control the numbers they should have divided the permits equally between NOBO, SOBO and fippers. Gotta disagree on that. That would be far too arbitrary and they can control numbers by doing just what they did. After all, what other reason would they have for doing it at all?

JumpMaster Blaster
02-02-2017, 15:14
The real problem won't be people who grab a permit and then don't use it. The real problem will be people who use a permit who do not deserve one (Example: Section hiker permits are all used up, so they claim they are a thru-hiker (or visa-versa)). There is no way to verify anyone's claim to a permit.

I've already seen more than a few posts (on another social media site) about NOBOs staring this year doing just that.

Alligator
02-02-2017, 15:15
Actually, progress by the ATC was noted in the minutes of the Authority, I think it is the 5/2016 minutes. But then....Woodcock's wife heard some vulgarity and there was some nudity reported on the trail (summit I think). Woodcock is one of the three Authority members, he is Comm. of Inland Fish and Game. Now, yes the Authority has a right to make rules, but by Maine Law, they are bound by certain rulemaking requirements. That's probably good, because the switch in attitude is perhaps arbitrary and capricious. There were comments from the AT trail overseer (don't have their title handy) saying 99% of the hikers are respectful. It would be great if everybody was but that's pretty decent. Further, if this is a major substansive rule (Maine definition), they can't just make the rule amongst themselves. If it is considered that way, they have to jump through a lot more hoops than they have to create this level of impact/restriction. They went their own way, yet the trail is designated in the National Scenic Trails Act. There are Maine laws that concern rules that are implemented and are more restrictive then the federal law. I'm not sure they considered that. So no the Authority may not just have a right to do it their way, they are bound by their own laws.

Zed
02-02-2017, 15:22
Your on someone elses property, they make the rules.
What they think..is all that matters, whether right or wrong

Agree. It's their rules and their reality. I can't see how the ATC will be able to repair this relationship in the long run. Possibly they could have someone at the Birches, and another at the summit to monitor behavior. But without any enforcement authority that might not make any difference. Plus, by the time they witnessed and addressed any bad behavior, other non thru hikers may also have seen it, and the damage would be done.

jeremys
02-02-2017, 15:40
Details here. (http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf)

Water Rat
02-02-2017, 15:45
As far as the AT Hiker permits not being used Water Rat, it seems like you are thinkiing that they are assigned ahead of time? I didn't read it that way. It says you can get one when you get there, if there are any left, I didn't see anything about signing up.

Someone else commented on the worry that all the permits would be grabbed-up.

My comment is based on what I read in the "specifics that AT Hikers will need to know." It says the AT Hiker Permit Cards will be available when the Hunt Trail opens to the hiking in the spring (usually in June).

One can pick up their permit in advance, if they are a section-hiker, flip-flopper, or SOBO... They would just need to know their start date, or reservation date, and show up. I read the words of BSP to mean the permits would be available on a first come, first served basis. One would just have to show up to claim theirs. Perhaps I misinterpreted that?

I didn't mean to suggest you were panicking. :) I was just telling the prospective hikers this is not something to panic over at this time. There are lots of people who are new to the AT and do not know of previous ATC discussions with the park. There seemed to be some worry that if one did not race up the trail, the park would be closed to them. If one is NOBO and they make it to Monson, the visitor center should be able to tell them how many (roughly) hiker permits are available. If none, then the hiker still has time to apply for a day use permit, or campsite.

Engine
02-02-2017, 15:50
Agree. It's their rules and their reality. I can't see how the ATC will be able to repair this relationship in the long run. Possibly they could have someone at the Birches, and another at the summit to monitor behavior. But without any enforcement authority that might not make any difference. Plus, by the time they witnessed and addressed any bad behavior, other non thru hikers may also have seen it, and the damage would be done.

In point of fact, maybe we should have been policing our own and we wouldn't be on this slippery slope. I'm all for HYOH to a point, but by turning a blind eye to unacceptable behavior, have we not been guilty to some degree ourselves?

imscotty
02-02-2017, 15:59
Actually, I think that the ATC was being responsive to BSP's concerns. They began their registration system in an attempt to spread out the bubble, they have been working on improving hiker education on LNT, they opened the new AT Visitor center in Monson, Maine this past year to educate hikers.

All this may have been too little to late for the BSP Authority, but you think that the BSPA would have been willing to keep working cooperatively towards a mutual solution. They implemented this unilaterally. Clearly the relationship has soured. Woodcock, Denico and Bissell seem to be openly hostile to AT hikers.

imscotty
02-02-2017, 16:02
In point of fact, maybe we should have been policing our own and we wouldn't be on this slippery slope. I'm all for HYOH to a point, but by turning a blind eye to unacceptable behavior, have we not been guilty to some degree ourselves?

I get the feeling that the whole Scott Jurek Baxter Peak incident is still burning in the back of Bissell's mind.

peakbagger
02-02-2017, 16:19
Not like there aren't ways around this if and when they hit the limit.

LoneStranger
02-02-2017, 16:33
I get the feeling that the whole Scott Jurek Baxter Peak incident is still burning in the back of Bissell's mind.

Not sure how many days a year you spend on the summit of Katahdin, so you might not know what it is like up there when a group of ******** decides that their need to feel special is more important than respecting the others gather there and the mountain itself. Jurek wasn't the problem, he was a problem. He, combined with all the other folks who are a problem created the problem. Until the community as a whole and as individuals comes to terms with that there is little hope of a resolution.

FreeGoldRush
02-02-2017, 16:43
The real problem won't be people who grab a permit and then don't use it. The real problem will be people who use a permit who do not deserve one (Example: Section hiker permits are all used up, so they claim they are a thru-hiker (or visa-versa)). There is no way to verify anyone's claim to a permit.

The rules specifically state that each hiker "self determines" their category. Lack of verification apparently is not an oversight but is actually by design. If one category is full then a hiker only needs to determine they are in another category. The rules allow that as I read them. So the categories serve no purpose as far as I can tell. It is the total number of people who "self determine" themselves to be in a particular category. There do not appear to be restrictions on "self determining" your category except that you have to do so in person.

I do realize that common sense would lead one to believe the limits apply to where you have been or plan to go on a long distance hike, but if you read them carefully that is not what they say at all. In fact, I can't tell that any hiking is even required! Very strange.

MuddyWaters
02-02-2017, 16:50
The real problem won't be people who grab a permit and then don't use it. The real problem will be people who use a permit who do not deserve one (Example: Section hiker permits are all used up, so they claim they are a thru-hiker (or visa-versa)). There is no way to verify anyone's claim to a permit.

This is only.a problem if you believe thruhikers deserve special treatment. The allocations are simply #s to show that this isnt a reduction. BSP could likely not care less if AT hiker is a nobo, flipflop, or section hiker. They are capping usage because it demands their resources, and ATC did nothing to reduce #s, they just tried to spread it out. BSP is saying...more hikers spread out, still demand more resources. Duh. More..is..more.

FreeGoldRush
02-02-2017, 16:58
This is only.a problem if you believe thruhikers derserve special treatment.

This is one of those times when a marketplace works. If you determine there is a lack of resources then you need to find out where the casual demand is, where the serious demand is, and who only wants some because it's free. So they could auction off permits. Before someone complains I'd like to point out that in all likelihood it would not cost you much at all compared to the expense of a thru hike. You'd simply be outbidding those in the "like to have one for free but it's not that important to me" category. If they continue to try and treat casual demand people and "I really want to hike this section of trail" demand people the same, there will be a misallocation of the available resources.

And naturally, I'd expect that money raised from auctioning off LD hiker permits should all go to maintaining the park resources used (or abused) by LD hikers.

Alligator
02-02-2017, 17:27
No the park does care if they are bunched up. It leads to noise and that is a major concern of the park. As well as, groups do not present a vision of solitude, another concern. There's an excerpt in the minutes covering remarks the AG (1/3 of the Authority) gave in a discussion concerning establishment of a national park nearby. Managers are also concerned about the environment of the summit, it's fragile. Groups are an issue too in that they may reach a degradation point for a local environment. For instance, 2 people passing a spot every other day might be a problem over 10 days but 12 people on day not so good.

Huli
02-02-2017, 17:40
I don't understand why they are issuing permits for southbound period. I was under the impression southbounders must reserve campsites and cannot use the Birches. Maybe I'm wrong.

Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk
I am SoBo this year. When I spoke with the ranger they said I do need to make a reservation.

Sarcasm the elf
02-02-2017, 17:43
This is one of those times when a marketplace works. If you determine there is a lack of resources then you need to find out where the casual demand is, where the serious demand is, and who only wants some because it's free. So they could auction off permits. Before someone complains I'd like to point out that in all likelihood it would not cost you much at all compared to the expense of a thru hike. You'd simply be outbidding those in the "like to have one for free but it's not that important to me" category. If they continue to try and treat casual demand people and "I really want to hike this section of trail" demand people the same, there will be a misallocation of the available resources.

And naturally, I'd expect that money raised from auctioning off LD hiker permits should all go to maintaining the park resources used (or abused) by LD hikers.

The flaw in that logic is thinking that money can somehow be a used as a proxy to determine someone's level of commitment when it is more accurately a measure of someone's disposable income. There are plenty of flat broke people who deeply wish to have the chance to hike the trail but can barely afford to as it is and this would just be putting farther out of their reach.

More importantly, this sort of of suggestion is antithetical to the spirit of a trail that was built with the intention of being free to all. The both BSP and The A.T. were built largely because of the good will of people who freely give their time and money to support something they believe in. It would be a gross violation of the public trust to begin auctioning off the right to use a trail that was built on donations and volunteer work and would likely cause a devastating boycott by donors if implemented.

HooKooDooKu
02-02-2017, 17:43
Details here. (http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf)
It would have been nice if someone would have thought to include the details a little closer to the start of this thread.
:rolleyes:

Mags
02-02-2017, 17:47
If this was any other trail, who cares where you end your thru-hike. Unless you are looking for something on your "I love me wall".

Take the PCT...does it matter if you end at Ross Lake on the Canadian Border or the Monument 78?

OTOH, Katahdin is one of the most iconic mountains in the United States. Of the trails I've done, it is by far the most scenic and breathtaking ending.

Seems that it is perceived the ATC has not addressed the concerns of BSP. BSP is taking the policy into their own hands.

Be interesting to see what happens in the next two or three seasons.

Alligator
02-02-2017, 17:52
Yeah I see how you are understanding it Water Rat. I think you could be right about it in application as they said they color code them by year in the minutes and don't say anything about timed use during that year. So maybe a hiker can hold on to it and hike later. Having to physically go to the issue points, I looked at it like the hiker has arrived ready to hike the AT in the park. Practically, a SOBO is there anyway, but that might difficult for NOBO. Nearly all are on the trail in June already, not likely to make the trip. That will push Sectioners and flip-flops up to June-August. Definitely requiring a look at reservations for Fall hiking.

HooKooDooKu
02-02-2017, 17:55
This is one of those times when a marketplace works...
In addition to agreeing with MuddyWaters' comments on this one...

I don't think a system of auctioning permits to the highest bidder has any political chance of happening, specifically because of the "public" nature of the AT that MuddyWaters points out.

However, at some future point, I can definitely see some sort of lottery system being created to handle the supply/demand like they do for those trying to get hiking permits in places like Yosemite and Grand Canyon.

Miner
02-02-2017, 18:19
We wouldn't be having this discussion if a certain person hadn't pushed them to move the northern terminus from Mt. Washington to Maine instead when they were building the trail.

FreeGoldRush
02-02-2017, 18:20
The flaw in that logic is thinking that money can somehow be a used as a proxy to determine someone's level of commitment when it is more accurately a measure of someone's disposable income. There are plenty of flat broke people who deeply wish to have the chance to hike the trail but can barely afford to as it is and this would just be putting farther out of their reach.

More importantly, this sort of of suggestion is antithetical to the spirit of a trail that was built with the intention of being free to all. The both BSP and The A.T. were built largely because of the good will of people who freely give their time and money to support something they believe in. It would be a gross violation of the public trust to begin auctioning off the right to use a trail that was built on donations and volunteer work and would likely cause a devastating boycott by donors if implemented.

The trail is no longer free to all. It's available only to the first 3,150 LD hikers this year.

What they have done is use your arrival date as the currency with which you buy access. So people will work hard to make sure they have the required currency. Show up on the wrong day and you cannot buy your "free" access. Show up on an allowable day and you are free to enter. I can make all the same statements you made about their currency of choice as you can about mine.

Oventoasted
02-02-2017, 18:51
Just saw this article pop up on my feed. http://baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf

I BSPA is going to limit the amount of thru-hikers in 2017. They did put in a 10% increase from last years numbers but from 2015-2016 there was a 26% increase in thru-hikers. so there is a potential for hikers having to go around and wait outside the park till they open for a summit. :(

slowcoastie
02-02-2017, 19:26
Just saw this article pop up on my feed. http://baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf

I BSPA is going to limit the amount of thru-hikers in 2017. They did put in a 10% increase from last years numbers but from 2015-2016 there was a 26% increase in thru-hikers. so there is a potential for hikers having to go around and wait outside the park till they open for a summit. :(

well that seals the deal for me sobo in 2018 staring in early june, black flies and all…yippee, at least they don't close springer and I'am from western NC so ill be near home when i finish. ( fingers and toes crossed )

Phlashlite
02-02-2017, 19:36
can someone provide the actual link for the registration not just for info for registration. I can not find the actual registration link for BSP. Thanks

Oventoasted
02-02-2017, 19:44
can someone provide the actual link for the registration not just for info for registration. I can not find the actual registration link for BSP. Thanks

It wont be up till June. im pretty sure it will crash their little site when it does open up.

imscotty
02-02-2017, 19:47
Registrations will not be available online. According to the press release ALL AT permits MUST be obtained IN PERSON.

LoneStranger
02-02-2017, 19:51
well that seals the deal for me sobo in 2018 staring in early june, black flies and all…yippee, at least they don't close springer and I'am from western NC so ill be near home when i finish. ( fingers and toes crossed )

I did a NOBO section mid June last year passing through the bubble of early June SOBO starters and have never seen a happier collection of folks finding out how hard hiking through ME can be. More used to the simmering resentment and thousand yard stares of NOBOs nearing the end of the trail I was really struck by all the smiles I saw. Bugs or no I'd wager you'll have one on your face too!

penny b
02-02-2017, 20:02
Can you pre purchase all permits ahead of time or only when you get there ? Cause I thinking IF I did the thru hike and couldnt finish it cause I was past the limit I would be MAD

eggymane
02-02-2017, 20:09
This is what happens when everyone thinks the AT is the only good LD hiking trail. No one could have though that many people utilizing a foot path could have endured forever..I mean my god what do they think that is..public land or something?

I'm hoping this doesn't drive an increase of usage over to the BMT, I like the extreme rarity of people there.

penny b
02-02-2017, 20:16
Can you pre purchase all permits ahead of time or only when you get there ? Cause I thinking IF I did the thru hike and couldnt finish it cause I was past the limit I would be MAD

never mind i read more and answered own question

egilbe
02-02-2017, 20:27
If you want to hike South, reserve a campsite or cabin around the day you want to hike Katahdin, enjoy the Park for the time you are there and climb Katahdin at your convenience. Walk to the border at Abol bridge and keep on going South to The HMW. Its not difficult. Last year, my gf and I did exactly that. Three of us drove in. One drove out and two walked out. The ranger at the kiosk was pretty puzzled since we didnt fit into his neat little box. Maybe we were the ones that triggered the sobo permits? :D

somers515
02-02-2017, 20:46
"If all available cards have been issued, AT hikers may still complete their hike by entering the Park through the Togue Pond Gate following the same process as other dayuse or camping visitors."

Anyone know or could provide a link for the process for day use visitors? What's the limit for day use visitors? Does it matter if you don't need a parking space? Could one camp outside the park and just day hike Baxter and avoid this issue? I know everyone says just follow the rules but I've read 5 pages on whiteblaze and searched Baxter's website for information and it's not obvious to me. I'm all for following the rules but "they" sure make it difficult sometimes to figure out. Thanks in advance!

LoneStranger
02-02-2017, 21:00
If you want to hike South, reserve a campsite or cabin around the day you want to hike Katahdin, enjoy the Park for the time you are there and climb Katahdin at your convenience. Walk to the border at Abol bridge and keep on going South to The HMW. Its not difficult. Last year, my gf and I did exactly that. Three of us drove in. One drove out and two walked out. The ranger at the kiosk was pretty puzzled since we didnt fit into his neat little box. Maybe we were the ones that triggered the sobo permits? :D

They do get a confused look if you aren't doing a standard itinerary I've noticed :) Did a loop heading north to south through the park, exiting at KLE and heading north on the IAT a couple of years ago. Walked up to Matagamon gate because I left my scoot back at the camps which confused the poor lady to start. Then I asked her what the procedure I should follow to exit at KLE and really knocked her for a loop. She had no clue so I told her I'd stuff my window card in the box at the trailhead when I left BSP territory. Probably still there today because I don't think they ever empty that box.

Don H
02-02-2017, 21:20
Ole Man gonna need to hire more help with shuttles and the AT Lodge will be packed with NOBOs in a holding pattern waiting for the summit appointment.

DavidNH
02-02-2017, 21:25
The smell is usually a giveaway


:) I agree!

Dogwood
02-02-2017, 23:07
No surprise. The AT can not endure under the unlimited use model as it is promoted by the ATC.

Water Rat
02-02-2017, 23:38
"If all available cards have been issued, AT hikers may still complete their hike by entering the Park through the Togue Pond Gate following the same process as other dayuse or camping visitors."

Anyone know or could provide a link for the process for day use visitors? What's the limit for day use visitors? Does it matter if you don't need a parking space? Could one camp outside the park and just day hike Baxter and avoid this issue? I know everyone says just follow the rules but I've read 5 pages on whiteblaze and searched Baxter's website for information and it's not obvious to me. I'm all for following the rules but "they" sure make it difficult sometimes to figure out. Thanks in advance!

Anyone hiking Katahdin is supposed to have a day use permit (even if you don't have a car). You must exit the park the same date of the permit. To day hike in to the park, and back out...is not something most people choose to do. Katahdin is not just a quick scamper for most people.

Here is the link to the Baxter State Park Reservations page: http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/reservation/

For more information on the AT within Baxter, please look under the "Hiking" header, then "Hiking Info" sub-header.

fiddlehead
02-03-2017, 00:13
If you want to hike South, reserve a campsite or cabin around the day you want to hike Katahdin, enjoy the Park for the time you are there and climb Katahdin at your convenience. Walk to the border at Abol bridge and keep on going South to The HMW. Its not difficult. Last year, my gf and I did exactly that. Three of us drove in. One drove out and two walked out. The ranger at the kiosk was pretty puzzled since we didnt fit into his neat little box. Maybe we were the ones that triggered the sobo permits? :D

We did something similar in 2001.
Had a friend drop us off, (Maine native) went in to Chimney pond, climbed Katahdin, then hiked out from there on the AT, and camped at Abol.
Would we need a permit to do it like this from these new rules? (none of us camped in the park)

Miner
02-03-2017, 01:35
When I tried hiking SOBO in 2012, I didn't have a reservation for the campground as it was full when I wanted a spot. So I had the hostel drop me off in the morning so I could summit Katahdin and then pick me up in the late afternoon. They brought me back the next morning so I could start hiking south. I don't see the new rules really changing the ability of someone to do the same.

somers515
02-03-2017, 08:15
Anyone hiking Katahdin is supposed to have a day use permit (even if you don't have a car). You must exit the park the same date of the permit. To day hike in to the park, and back out...is not something most people choose to do. Katahdin is not just a quick scamper for most people.

Here is the link to the Baxter State Park Reservations page: http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/reservation/

For more information on the AT within Baxter, please look under the "Hiking" header, then "Hiking Info" sub-header.


When I tried hiking SOBO in 2012, I didn't have a reservation for the campground as it was full when I wanted a spot. So I had the hostel drop me off in the morning so I could summit Katahdin and then pick me up in the late afternoon. They brought me back the next morning so I could start hiking south. I don't see the new rules really changing the ability of someone to do the same.

See this is exactly my point. Rules should be clear and they are not. If I was hiking in Baxter this year I would call to seek clarification. If anyone has called and can share what they were told that would be great.

I appreciate your reply Water Rat and I checked out the link and the Baxter website but I don't see anything on the Baxter website that supports this sentence: "Anyone hiking Katahdin is supposed to have a day use permit (even if you don't have a car)" So I think I agree with Miner. But like I said it's not clear to me.

rickb
02-03-2017, 08:26
A few questions:

1. If a NOBO hiker arrives at Abol Bridge after the permits run out, will he be allowed to enter the park and walk to Katahdin Stream -- and exit there via shuttle? Presumably to return through the maine gate as a day-use hiker in the next day or two?

2. If a NOBO thru hiker has secured reservations for a lean-to at Katahdin Stream, will he be allowed to walk into the Park from Abol Bridge and climb Katahdin the next day even if the permits have run out?

3. If a NOBO thru hiker has secured reservations for a lean-to at Katahdin Stream, will he be allowed to enter the Park from the main gate, and walk out of the park via the AT?

Engine
02-03-2017, 08:41
A few questions:

1. If a NOBO hiker arrives at Abol Bridge after the permits run out, will he be allowed to enter the park and walk to Katahdin Stream -- and exit there via shuttle? Presumably to return through the maine gate as a day-use hiker in the next day or two?

2. If a NOBO thru hiker has secured reservations for a lean-to at Katahdin Stream, will he be allowed to walk into the Park from Abol Bridge and climb Katahdin the next day even if the permits have run out?

3. If a NOBO thru hiker has secured reservations for a lean-to at Katahdin Stream, will he be allowed to enter the Park from the main gate, and walk out of the park via the AT? Your questions echo mine. The explanation provided by BSP is generalized and vague on details such as this. I expect they haven't even considered the minutiae yet.

TJ aka Teej
02-03-2017, 09:57
I am SoBo this year. When I spoke with the ranger they said I do need to make a reservation.

Yes, to camp you need a reservation.

peakbagger
02-03-2017, 10:03
I realize to some folks facts probably ruin a good story but let review options for thruhikers if and when the permits quotas are exceeded.

Let start out with getting some correct (as of today) information out there as there have been some misstatements prior in the thread

BSP does not require permits to climb katahdin as a day user. If a hiker enters the park from one of the two entrance gates and climbs the mountain in one day there currently is no limit on how many people can climb the mountain on any given day. That said, the park does indirectly manage the use of the three trailheads that access the summit by controlling parking at these trailheads. There really are not a lot of options if a summit hiker wants to climb katahdin other than these three lots although I will mention a couple later on. For AT thruhikers, the primary lot of interest is Katahdin Stream Campground (KSC) as the AT goes right through it. A less attractive alternative is Abol Campground which is 2 miles east of KSC . The final lot is Roaring Brook on the east side of the mountain. Unless someone is car supported or wants to spend a lot of time hitching on the park road network Roaring Brook is not a great option for AT hikers except for those who want an extended stay in the park or are car supported. Do note that the park does not allow overflow parking near the trailheads, given the width of the road it is dangerous. The park owns at least one parking “boot” to immobilize a vehicle and they have the right to have the vehicle towed.

There are two ways of getting a legal parking spot at the three trailheads. If you have reservations anywhere in the park you have the right to get up early in the morning before the park gates are open and park in the lots. Your overnight campsite reservation acts as a day use pass. This means if you have car support and don’t mind a very early morning drive on narrow curvy dark and dusty roads you can expand your campsite selections to a couple of less popular outlying campgrounds. This applies to the entire park but practically due to the condition of the roads it means that a site a Nesowadnehunk is a possible option for an overnight stay (albeit with a 1 hour drive in the AM) and the three KSC group campsites (actually located 2 miles west of KSC) . Daicey and Kidney Pond Cabins are conceivably also available but due to the popularity and cost, it is highly unlikely that a thruhiker would get a spot. The cabins hold from 4 to 8 folks so a group may get real lucky. The other option to get into the three parking lots is to reserve and purchase a Day Use Parking Reservation (DUPR) in advance. This guarantees you a spot on a given day at given parking lot. If there are slots open that were not reserved in advance they can be bought at the gate in the AM. Generally with the exception of popular weekends, all the slots are not filled. Therefore during the week this is highly probable but not guaranteed that those in line at the gate will get one. Roaring Brook is very popular for dayhikers and tends to sell out first with KSC a close second and Abol third. For out of state vehicles, there is a cost for the DUPR of $5 and an additional entrance fee of $15 for the vehicle.

There is occasional discussion about day hiking the mountain from outside the park. With the proposed new permit system that appears to be no longer an option from Abol Bridge once the permit limit is reached but the devil is in the details. Practically with the exception of a very strong athlete few if any have the stamina to do it. The most logical approach is via the Abol Stream Trail onto the Park road to Abol Campground and then up Abol trail to the summit and back. This is the most direct route but definitely a blue blaze around quite a nice stretch of the AT. Adding in the AT route adds several miles to this effort.

So lets assume the worst case, every campsite is full in the park and the DUPRs are sold out. There is still an option with car support (or about 14 miles of road walk) . There is no restriction on those who don’t need to park at the three trailheads, it is perfectly legit to be dropped off at any lot and day hike up the mountain. As the parking areas are quite congested the hiker will need to make arrangements with their ride to pick them up at an agreed upon time as they can’t just park and wait. The AT Lodge does run shuttles to Millinocket from KSC but they are quite popular and can’t guarantee a ride back. This option also can be extended somewhat in that there are day use parking areas with a couple of miles of KSC, one about a mile west on the park road at a trailhead to the Daicey Pond area and another day use lot at Daicey Pond. These add mileage to a hike but they do not require a DUPR.

Folks forget that there are the rules and then there are the policies associated with enforcing the rules. I expect the park will develop a policy to enforce the rules once its become real when permits run out.

There is at least one other usage restriction which can be applied to thru hikers and that is group size limitation. The maximum size of hiking groups shall be 12 persons. Affiliated groups on the same trail separated by less than one mile shall be considered one group. I will let those with legal resources fight the definition of an affiliated group versus an assemblage of individuals who happen to be hiking in close proximity at the same pace. This rule reportedly has been applied to large groups of thru hikers who elect to hike together to the summit but usually is applied to other groups.

I have seen references to illegal (stealth) camping. Folks have been busted and banned from the park for illegal camping in the past and I expect they will be in the future. The walk from Daicey to Abol is a pleasant one and I expect that a park employee could sweep it quite readily. The park does post an employee at the AT turnstile on occasion and someone not familiar with the area is unlikely to figure out how to skip it so its going to be very obvious to the employee if someone is trying to sneak into the park.

LoneStranger
02-03-2017, 10:06
A few questions:

1. If a NOBO hiker arrives at Abol Bridge after the permits run out, will he be allowed to enter the park and walk to Katahdin Stream -- and exit there via shuttle? Presumably to return through the maine gate as a day-use hiker in the next day or two?

2. If a NOBO thru hiker has secured reservations for a lean-to at Katahdin Stream, will he be allowed to walk into the Park from Abol Bridge and climb Katahdin the next day even if the permits have run out?

3. If a NOBO thru hiker has secured reservations for a lean-to at Katahdin Stream, will he be allowed to enter the Park from the main gate, and walk out of the park via the AT?


Wouldn't hazard a guess on the first question, but the common sense answer to the other two would be yes. Despite your personal designation as a thru hiker, if you have a reservation you are technically a BSP camper. That means the rules that allow folks with KSC reservations to climb should apply. As for your third question, I'm not sure why a NOBO would want to walk out via the AT, but there are no rules preventing campers from walking out of the park. I know that as I've done it myself more than once.

The thru hiker rules seem to be designed to control the traffic not controlled via the reservation process. Anyone with a reservation, even a thru hiker, should already be accounted for under the standard camper regulations.

TJ aka Teej
02-03-2017, 10:12
Anyone hiking Katahdin is supposed to have a day use permit

This is news to me. What does the permit look like?

rickb
02-03-2017, 10:14
Your questions echo mine. The explanation provided by BSP is generalized and vague on details such as this. I expect they haven't even considered the minutiae yet.

One thing that strikes me as very odd is why BSP would look to cap SOBOs and Flip-Floppers with a specific quota.

Right now, don't those two kinds of BSP visitors already need to comply with the existing Park rules and entry requirements?

Just like everyone else.

Wouldn't SOBOs and Flip-Floppers still need to do so under this new scheme?

Could this plan be because a higher percentage of SOBOs and Flip Floppers come from out of state?

Or because a concentration of these kinds of hikers is assumed to have a greater adverse impact on the mountain ecology than other visitors who walk the exact same path?

Or perhaps because this subset of Park users is motivated to visit for reasons that are not as closely aligned with the BSP mission and values as the preferred visitor?

Any way you look at it, it seems to me that the Park's new position with respect to SOBOs and Flip-Floppers is not consistent with their stated objective.

Or am I missing something?

Water Rat
02-03-2017, 10:26
This is news to me. What does the permit look like?

It's just the yellow piece of paper. I was told to be sure to carry it with me while hiking. I didn't question it as it makes sense that BSP would want to know who was who and where they were coming from. I should think it would also help them to narrow down the people causing issues within the park.

Last season was the first season I was told I needed this...and it was verified by 2 different rangers.

Perhaps the person who told me was seasonal and did not know...and then they asked two others who didn't know? *shrug* I asked ahead and am more than happy to support the park. It was $5.00 and a small price to pay to wander in for a day of hiking. I also used their privy, so I was happy to financially pay my share for the use.

TJ aka Teej
02-03-2017, 10:55
It's just the yellow piece of paper. I was told to be sure to carry it with me while hiking. I didn't question it as it makes sense that BSP would want to know who was who and where they were coming from. I should think it would also help them to narrow down the people causing issues within the park.

Last season was the first season I was told I needed this...and it was verified by 2 different rangers.

Perhaps the person who told me was seasonal and did not know...and then they asked two others who didn't know? *shrug* I asked ahead and am more than happy to support the park. It was $5.00 and a small price to pay to wander in for a day of hiking. I also used their privy, so I was happy to financially pay my share for the use.

The only thing that costs $5 is the day use reserved parking spots. There is no fee for climbing Katahdin. The yellow slip - something the trailrunner gave you as you hiked in from Abol Bridge? There's no fee for that either.

rickb
02-03-2017, 11:00
The only thing that costs $5 is the day use reserved parking spots. There is no fee for climbing Katahdin. The yellow slip - something the trailrunner gave you as you hiked in from Abol Bridge? There's no fee for that either.


Perhaps the yellow sheet of paper that Water Rat needed is the one that is referenced in the BSP announcement that inspired this thread.

Here is a snip (the link is in post #1


Hikers must stop at the Katahdin Stream Ranger Station to have their permit cardstamped. Hikers can obtain a yellow hiker registration sheet at this time.

Starchild
02-03-2017, 11:23
What I did notice is that the NoBo limits are set apx equal to the number of spots at the Birches for the NoBo season.

12 spots/day X 30 days/month X 4 months that the bubble finished = 1440

Limits for NoBo = 1350

Those this does not include those who obtain reservations, but they then should be counted guests at the campground and exempt, or if overnighting in Millinocket, as day hikers and should hopefully not change the numbers. Add a allowance for LD and Flips and then NoBo may not be affected.

Bronk
02-03-2017, 11:48
The culture of the AT has evolved to the point where that culture does not fit with the goals of Baxter. That is no secret. It has been moving in that direction for a long time.

bkristynicole
02-03-2017, 12:39
So... Baxter State Park has put both a requirement for a permit to summit Katahdin and a cap on thru-hikers summitting the peak. The cap is around 1500. They say that if you arrive after the cap, you have to come into the park through the front entrance and enter/summit as a day hiker (which also has a daily limit). Does anyone know what number thru-hiker they were when they were reaching the summit in August/September? I mean, obviously if I am after the cap, then I will just comply with the new rules, but I am wondering if this mostly effects people who are finishing in October.

Oventoasted
02-03-2017, 12:43
yeah i posted something here earlier about it but admins just move it to the Baxter State Park sub-forum. There is a big discussion there.

Lone Wolf
02-03-2017, 12:50
https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/baxter-state-park-places-limits-thru-hiker-permits/

Feral Bill
02-03-2017, 13:13
At worst, a 5 to 7 month vacation is shortened by a day or two, and a person climbs Katadin another time.

Mags
02-03-2017, 14:18
yeah i posted something here earlier about it but admins just move it to the Baxter State Park sub-forum. There is a big discussion there.

Yep. We don't need five threads on the same topic. :)

BillyGr
02-03-2017, 15:20
One thing that strikes me as very odd is why BSP would look to cap SOBOs and Flip-Floppers with a specific quota.

Right now, don't those two kinds of BSP visitors already need to comply with the existing Park rules and entry requirements?


Those going SOBO would, since they'd have to enter the main gate and are likely to rent a campsite (save for a small number who might be willing to hike up, down then out to Abol in one day, which doesn't sound likely).

Flip-Floppers wouldn't necessarily, it depends on how they go. If they start in the middle, hike north then return to the middle to hike south, they would be coming in the same as anyone going NOBO. If they start by hiking the south half first, then they would be like a SOBO, coming to Baxter from the gate to start the 2nd half of the hike.

Emerson Bigills
02-03-2017, 16:03
I have never been to BSP, so I will confess my ignorance on the subject. I have however, followed the growing numbers of thru hikers over the past ten years and the embarrassing public spat that has been going on between BSP and the ATC recently. My tendency has been to cast BSP as the villain in this situation, but my views are changing.

The ATC recognizes that the volume in thru hiker growth is a problem. They have done a good job promoting flip flop hikes as an alternative and seemed to be headed in the right direction with the "voluntary" registration a couple years ago. Sadly, the hiking community has not taken responsibility. One only needs to look at the current distribution of start dates for NOBO 2017 to see the same lame dates that have already reach the "max". What is so magical about the first day of the month, or the 15th day of the month? The reality is the ATC is going to have to take some action to change behaviors and start to control the impacts. The hiking community is either too dumb, or too uncaring to possibly inconvenience themselves by trying to start on a day where there is not a mob already scheduled.

I may not like the fact that BSP has taken the first step in placing limits on thru hikers by numbers, but I respect the fact that they are willing to do something that may be unpopular to change behaviors.

Ktaadn
02-03-2017, 16:21
I'm surprised by the decision to have annual caps instead of daily caps. Isn't it the total number of visitors at any one time the problem? My local state park will often refuse to allow visitors on busy days when the park is full. If the park clears out after a few hours, they open the gates again. Why wouldn't BSP do something like that?

Starchild
02-03-2017, 16:37
I'm surprised by the decision to have annual caps instead of daily caps. Isn't it the total number of visitors at any one time the problem? My local state park will often refuse to allow visitors on busy days when the park is full. If the park clears out after a few hours, they open the gates again. Why wouldn't BSP do something like that?
Thereis

There is already sort of a daily cap, due to the limits of the AT leanto site 'The Birches' See my post 103. It seems like this is just another shot across the bow, the annual limit is almost equal to the daily limit over the thru hiker bubble season if the Birches is filled to max capacity every night.

From what it looks like if you don't stay at The Birches you should not qualify for one of those numbers, but be a day hiker or a reservation holder.

Ktaadn
02-03-2017, 17:11
Thereis

There is already sort of a daily cap, due to the limits of the AT leanto site 'The Birches' See my post 103. It seems like this is just another shot across the bow, the annual limit is almost equal to the daily limit over the thru hiker bubble season if the Birches is filled to max capacity every night.

From what it looks like if you don't stay at The Birches you should not qualify for one of those numbers, but be a day hiker or a reservation holder.
So, it sounds like what you are saying is that this new policy will have close to zero affect on the number of people able to climb the mountain in any given year. Am I reading that correctly?

burger
02-03-2017, 17:12
No one here is mentioning the elephant in the room: the problem isn't too many hikers at Katahdin. The problem is that there are too many hikers on the entire AT, period. Thousands of thru-hikers is just too many for a footpath that is supposed to be a place for quiet contemplation and being in nature (that's paraphrased from the ATC website). The AT needs a hard quota system, or at the very least, a daily quota like the PCT. If you can't get a permit, too bad. There are LOADS of other trails out there, even for newbies to distance hiking.

US population has tripled since Benton MacKaye dreamed up the trail, and the percent of Americans who hike as increased even more. At some point someone has to say enough is enough. Better to nip this problem in the bud now instead of waiting until the numbers get to be truly unmanageable.

peakbagger
02-03-2017, 17:18
I have never been to BSP, so I will confess my ignorance on the subject. I have however, followed the growing numbers of thru hikers over the past ten years and the embarrassing public spat that has been going on between BSP and the ATC recently. My tendency has been to cast BSP as the villain in this situation, but my views are changing.

The nice thing about these discussions are they serve a purpose to get folks to convince themselves that they don't need to go there. There have been a few converts on whiteblaze that work themselves into a lather before going there and then they have the inevitable moment when they get there they realize why the park staff goes to the lengths they do to keep it the place the way it is. We usually don't hear much complaining after folks actually get there (unless the weather is bad). There is no other public facility in the east or anywhere on the AT that offers what that park does. Calling Baxter a park is definitely a disservice done as a political expediency at one point , it actually is a wilderness preserve. The sad part is that most thru hikers are in rush to get home and zip up the Hunt Trail to the summit, have their picture taken and rush down to catch the shuttle to Millinocket. They are missing out on the parts of the park which are really special. I hiked for 8 hours on a labor day weekend two years ago along an above treeline ridgecrest and never encountered one other person all day, the trail was so lightly used that it was impossible to miss stepping on moss on top of the rocks as it wasn't worn off. We camped at a campground that night next to a pond and probably saw less than 10 other people for our entire stay and hiked out and saw less then 10 folks on the way out. I did a similar hike last labor day and encountered a total of 10 folks all day. This may happen out west but in the East its pretty rare.

I personally have a group site booked at BSP for three days on labor day weekend at the base of the mountain. My out of pocket for that reservation is $144 for three nights. I get a drive in group campsite on a dead end with a stream right next to it just down the road from a Katahdin trailhead, a dining pavilion which holds about 4 picnic tables, a group fire ring, a vault privy and space for 12 folks ( I would have to pay $8 an additional a head if I exceed 4). An adjacent commercial campground 45 minutes away would be $100 plus a night for room for one tent, coin op showers, a picnic table and an all night chorus of partying whitewater rafters.

FreeGoldRush
02-03-2017, 17:57
Thousands of thru-hikers is just too many for a footpath that is supposed to be a place for quiet contemplation and being in nature (that's paraphrased from the ATC website). The AT needs a hard quota system, or at the very least, a daily quota like the PCT. If you can't get a permit, too bad.

The problem is that people who have the power to deny access very often use that power for selfish reasons. And there simply is not a thing you can do about it. These situations where that power is abused go on for decades.

Here is an example. At Mammoth Cave they fixed this by taking all the land and then denying cave access for the public to 97% of the cave. You can only see 3% of the cave. Back when it was privately owned you could see it all if you had the ability and a guide. There are certainly people in the other 97% today but you cannot become one of them. They call them "researchers" and you are told they are there for your own good and keeping you out is for the good of "your" cave.

This sort of attitude is not limited to Mammoth Cave. There are other examples that hit closer to home (we own land adjacent to public land) but I won't air those disagreements here. In my opinion a permit fee or permit auction process solves this problem. I realize that gets people's feathers ruffled because they'd like to pretend all demand on limited resources is created equal, but the hard truth is that you need a way to separate different levels of demand. If the permit fee supports the park then you essentially prioritize access to those who are most contributing to park resources. I really don't think the fee would be punitive and I can't imagine it would have to be high enough to be a budgeting concern on a thru hike.

Starchild
02-03-2017, 18:20
So, it sounds like what you are saying is that this new policy will have close to zero affect on the number of people able to climb the mountain in any given year. Am I reading that correctly?

AsIreaditi

As I read it it reinforces the limits of the Birches, and 'justifies' not expanding AT Thru accommodations in any way, something BSP has be set on. I believe this is the gist of it, they are expressing a unwillingness to expand AT thru hiker accommodations in the park but will allow what is already there.


This does cause trouble as (and if) the number of thru hikers continue to increase, but the limit is still higher than the current number of thru hikers.

bamboo bob
02-03-2017, 18:31
If they ATC would stop the endless and relentless promotion of the AT this problem would solve itself.

Water Rat
02-03-2017, 18:33
The only thing that costs $5 is the day use reserved parking spots. There is no fee for climbing Katahdin. The yellow slip - something the trailrunner gave you as you hiked in from Abol Bridge? There's no fee for that either.

I understand the reserved parking spots cost $5.00. I've been to Baxter many times and have used this service before. I have also hiked in many times and had never been instructed to purchase a hiking permit for Katahdin in the past.

Last September was when I encountered this for the first time. Like I said, maybe someone got their wires crossed. I dunno and am not worried about it. I figured an afternoon of hiking in Baxter - using their trails and privy - was well worth the $5.00 spent.

Lone Wolf
02-03-2017, 18:38
If they ATC would stop the endless and relentless promotion of the AT this problem would solve itself.

that and the endless youtube vids showing the parties on the AT

burger
02-03-2017, 18:39
The problem is that people who have the power to deny access very often use that power for selfish reasons. And there simply is not a thing you can do about it. These situations where that power is abused go on for decades.

Here is an example. At Mammoth Cave they fixed this by taking all the land and then denying cave access for the public to 97% of the cave. You can only see 3% of the cave. Back when it was privately owned you could see it all if you had the ability and a guide. There are certainly people in the other 97% today but you cannot become one of them. They call them "researchers" and you are told they are there for your own good and keeping you out is for the good of "your" cave.

This sort of attitude is not limited to Mammoth Cave. There are other examples that hit closer to home (we own land adjacent to public land) but I won't air those disagreements here. In my opinion a permit fee or permit auction process solves this problem. I realize that gets people's feathers ruffled because they'd like to pretend all demand on limited resources is created equal, but the hard truth is that you need a way to separate different levels of demand. If the permit fee supports the park then you essentially prioritize access to those who are most contributing to park resources. I really don't think the fee would be punitive and I can't imagine it would have to be high enough to be a budgeting concern on a thru hike.

A cave is a perfect example of why you are wrong. Preserving a wonder like Mammoth Cave is exactly the opposite of selfishness--it was thinking about the future of the cave and the ability of future generations to enjoy it. Large numbers of people allowed to wander wherever in a cave would inevitably lead to the destruction of delicate cave features. There are rare animals that would not tolerate people tramping through. Limiting access is the only way to ensure that future generations can enjoy it in the same way we can today. Ever heard of the tragedy of the commons?

As for your fee idea, any permit fee that was large enough to reduce demand will be large enough to mean that only the wealthy can afford a thru hike. And that would be sad because long-distance trails are a place that should be open to anyone who can afford the time off and the gear (yeah, that excludes a lot of poor people, but adding a big fee would only make things worse). A fee would not distinguish between levels of demand--many of the hikers I've met who were the most devoted to the idea of doing a thru-hike were young and not well-off--it would just mean that rich folks get first access. If there are permits, they should be given out at random or first-come, first-serve. Rich people have enough advantages already--let the trail be the one place where having more money doesn't get you ahead of everyone else.

FreeGoldRush
02-03-2017, 18:47
As for your fee idea, any permit fee that was large enough to reduce demand will be large enough to mean that only the wealthy can afford a thru hike.

In my experience most people on the trail today are not wealthy. A fee will not bring the wealthy off their couches and into the woods. What nonsense.

Zed
02-03-2017, 18:57
Not saying I would agree with a fee, but I doubt the cost would be prohibitive to anyone considering a hike. A thru hike already has a cost involved: gear, food, hostel/hotels. Never mind wages not earned while hiking for 4-6 months. Hikers on a tight budget would just have to prioritize their permit over booze, town stays, etc.

Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk

Starchild
02-03-2017, 18:57
If they ATC would stop the endless and relentless promotion of the AT this problem would solve itself.

How are the ATC "relentless promot"ing the AT?

burger
02-03-2017, 18:59
In my experience most people on the trail today are not wealthy. A fee will not bring the wealthy off their couches and into the woods. What nonsense.
You said that we need a fee or an auction to reduce demand. A small fee, like $5 or even $50 will not reduce demand because people would just factor it into their thru-hike budget. If you're spending a few thousand $, that's no big deal. So, you can only reduce demand with a big fee, like hundreds of dollars or more, that would basically make a thru unaffordable for some. And that would mean that only the relatively well-off hiker will be able to afford the fee.

I'm just showing that your proposed solution will not work.

Zed
02-03-2017, 19:02
Even a fee of a few hundred dollars should not be prohibitive to anyone. Save the money over a few years if necessary. If someone truly wants to hike they'll do it.

Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk

Oventoasted
02-03-2017, 19:05
i think as more people complete thru-hikes the social media that is created from that will inspire more to take on the attempt themselves.

a lot of "Hell, if THAT guy can do it. so can I!" mentalities

Even if everyone is good natured and didnt mess anything up just the impact of thousands of people marching through the woods takes it toll. given enough time i honestly think the AT will not be the same in coming years. Even with heavy regulation people will still sneak on and do what they want to do.

FreeGoldRush
02-03-2017, 19:06
You said that we need a fee or an auction to reduce demand. A small fee, like $5 or even $50 will not reduce demand because people would just factor it into their thru-hike budget. If you're spending a few thousand $, that's no big deal. So, you can only reduce demand with a big fee, like hundreds of dollars or more, that would basically make a thru unaffordable for some. And that would mean that only the relatively well-off hiker will be able to afford the fee.

I'm just showing that your proposed solution will not work.

Why are people opposed to asking the heaviest users to support the resource that is apparently being damaged by their use? (I suppose people could donate their time doing maintenance instead of paying a fee.)

MuddyWaters
02-03-2017, 19:59
How are the ATC "relentless promot"ing the AT?

The ATCs goal is to reach as many people as possible.
they have educational outreach programs
They teach schoolkids about the AT, etc
they openly endorse thru-hiking by taking photos, sending certificates, printing names in magazine, getting special benefits for thruhikers.
ie.. Making them feel....special

The goal is clearly to maximize trail awareness, users, and hence their own FUNDING.

Now whether that works out best for the trail long term, is a matter of debate. You can love something to death.

It do take money and awareness to protect the trail from threats. By the nature of population expansion , threats are always increasing.
But that should be coming automatically from the govmt, if people really cared about a national scenic trail, youd think. Of course youd be wrong too.

rickb
02-03-2017, 21:38
A cave is a perfect example of why you are wrong. Preserving a wonder like Mammoth Cave is exactly the opposite of selfishness--it was thinking about the future of the cave and the ability of future generations to enjoy it. Large numbers of people allowed to wander wherever in a cave would inevitably lead to the destruction of delicate cave features. There are rare animals that would not tolerate people tramping through. Limiting access is the only way to ensure that future generations can enjoy it in the same way we can today. Ever heard of the tragedy of the commons?

There is a difference between preserving a resource from irreparable harm, and preserving an aesthetic for the beautiful people to enjoy.

In the case of BSP the quaint cabins are seen as a thing of beauty, and just 1500 thru hikers (perhaps 7 or 8% of the total) on Katahdin seen as a cause for grave concern.

Cazy. The moose and bear and raven could care less.

As for he AT, proper facilities -- well sited facilities -- could address most every issue. We should rejoice in and he Trail's popularity and evolve with it -- just as many of us have learned to embrace the crazy popularity of our local rail trrails.

When the natural ecosystems are threatened, then there is cause for concern. That is not the case on the AT.

soilman
02-03-2017, 22:34
iEven if everyone is good natured and didnt mess anything up just the impact of thousands of people marching through the woods takes it toll. given enough time i honestly think the AT will not be the same in coming years. Even with heavy regulation people will still sneak on and do what they want to do.
I got news for you, the AT is not the same as it was years ago.

rocketsocks
02-03-2017, 22:51
The ATCs goal is to reach as many people as possible.
they have educational outreach programs
They teach schoolkids about the AT, etc
they openly endorse thru-hiking by taking photos, sending certificates, printing names in magazine, getting special benefits for thruhikers.
ie.. Making them feel....special

The goal is clearly to maximize trail awareness, users, and hence their own FUNDING.

Now whether that works out best for the trail long term, is a matter of debate. You can love something to death.

It do take money and awareness to protect the trail from threats. By the nature of population expansion , threats are always increasing.
But that should be coming automatically from the govmt, if people really cared about a national scenic trail, youd think. Of course youd be wrong too.you forgot the bobble heads.

Alligator
02-04-2017, 00:14
38117These are the numbers the Authority has included in their AT hiker planning document. The levels were pretty flat during 2000-2011. It's not constant growth as they have indicated. Numbers rose after 2011.

Skyline
02-04-2017, 00:53
My interpretation is that once the NOBO permits are all taken, a hiker who hikes to the park border on the AT will have to turn around, find a way to hike and hitch into Millinocket, get a 'Day Use Parking Reservation' for Katahdin(if any are available), rent a car, drive in and park, hike to the southern park boundary and back, then climb Katahdin and back, exit the park.

Am I missing something?

Some NOBO hikers have done this each year anyway, to give themselves a chance at a good (or better) weather day to summit. They enter BSP via the gate in a vehicle (often friends or relatives who they rendezvoused with in Millinocket), park, hike the AT to Baxter Peak, return, exit via the gate. A few go into Millinocket, wait until the weather is better, and get a shuttle or cab to the gate. Either way, it requires getting up VERY early to be in line at the gate at 5am or so during peak season.

squeezebox
02-04-2017, 01:40
And we can thank the jerk with the champagne bottle that we get hit with the fallout from his misbehavior.

shivelight
02-04-2017, 03:41
Any conjecture about why the numbers from BSP's AT hiker planning document in the post above are so much higher than the numbers reported by the ATC here: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/community/2000-milers
(comparing the 2015 numbers, not 2016 since ATC doesn't have them up yet)

Engine
02-04-2017, 05:29
...When the natural ecosystems are threatened, then there is cause for concern. That is not the case on the AT.

The sea of toilet paper laying around, which is indicative of the considerable amount of human waste being deposited in a concentrated area, is possibly a threat to the immediate trail corridor. I would be curious to know what soil and water samples in the camping areas as well as the watershed downstream would tell us. Farther north it may not be such an issue, but the first few hundred miles of the trail see a lot of concentrated use every year.

Engine
02-04-2017, 05:35
And we can thank the jerk with the champagne bottle that we get hit with the fallout from his misbehavior. That's ridiculous...BSP didn't do this because ONE idiot behaved poorly. They did this for a whole slew of reasons related to many examples of poor behavior, a relative explosion in hiker numbers, and the sense they get that the ATC is turning a blind eye. But, if some things don't change, who knows what the future holds.

LoneStranger
02-04-2017, 08:55
And we can thank the jerk with the champagne bottle that we get hit with the fallout from his misbehavior.

Nope. That is just one example of people thinking that they are more important than the mountain and that since it is just them it won't really matter. Now multiply that by all of the folks who take that attitude, each thinking we'll it is just me and one person can't create a problem. That is the problem. You can see it in this thread and any other you'd care to read about the subject. You can see it along the trail in piles of dog crap and drifts of TP, in campsites along the way in shelter graffiti and abandoned trash, and on top of Katahdin in the launching of debris into the rocks and boorish behavior on what should be hallowed ground.

Some folks have no interest in anything but their own self interest and that is what we all have to pay the price for. Blaming one person for it wouldn't be fair or accurate.

egilbe
02-04-2017, 09:20
Jurek made himself the face of the controversy, from flouting the laws in the park and the laws of the state, from hogging the summit sign for thirty minutes for sel-promotion, to his crew speeding into KSC after the parking lot was closed and the barrier was in place. He was the straw that broke the camel's back. He is part of the problem.


Now, if any hiker wanted to reserve a cabin, leanto, or tentsite for a period of time, well in advance, they are campers, not hikers. Their money is being spent to support the park. Just climb the damn mountainif thats your goal, but you have time to spend in one of the more beautiful parts of the country. Take advantage of it.

johnacraft
02-04-2017, 10:04
Any conjecture about why the numbers from BSP's AT hiker planning document in the post above are so much higher than the numbers reported by the ATC

Each year the names of those who have reported hike completions in the previous 12 months are published

Not everyone who completes the trail notifies the ATC.

rickb
02-04-2017, 10:05
The sea of toilet paper laying around, which is indicative of the considerable amount of human waste being deposited in a concentrated area, is possibly a threat to the immediate trail corridor. I would be curious to know what soil and water samples in the camping areas as well as the watershed downstream would tell us. Farther north it may not be such an issue, but the first few hundred miles of the trail see a lot of concentrated use every year.

Which is why I proceeded that by saying that proper facilities -- well sited facilities -- would solve those kinds of problems.

Simply reciting the mantra "more people bad, less people good" is a lazy approach.

The problem you speak of is not the number of people or significant environmental damage, it is the ugly piles of **** that offend those walking by them. Farther north there are areas that get a tremendous amount of use, and the **** is dealt with.

In the end, the "problem" people are wrestling with (for the most part) is really one of improving the recreational experience along a very narrow strip of land, for a small set of users. Those working on it should be appreciated, but proclamations equating those efforts to some noble protection of the wilds and off base.

If BSP wants to preserve a special aesthetic for a limited number (and kind) of people they think are deserving of it more than others, they should just say so. Because that is exactly the direction they moving in.

xnav
02-04-2017, 10:27
I summited on Sep 10 last year. I was told by a ranger that no one stayed in the Birches the night before. However I reserved a campsite in KSC for the night of 9 Sep and allowed 5 other sections hikers to stay in my campsite that night. On the 10th there were enormous crowds going up Katahdin ( mostly day hikers and some thru hikers who I guess were shuttled in). My question is this. The ranger counted me as a section hiker but technically I was not since I was hiking from my campsite with 5 other section hikers. Is Baxter going to count this action against the numbers allowed by all AT hikers?

egilbe
02-04-2017, 10:46
I summited on Sep 10 last year. I was told by a ranger that no one stayed in the Birches the night before. However I reserved a campsite in KSC for the night of 9 Sep and allowed 5 other sections hikers to stay in my campsite that night. On the 10th there were enormous crowds going up Katahdin ( mostly day hikers and some thru hikers who I guess were shuttled in). My question is this. The ranger counted me as a section hiker but technically I was not since I was hiking from my campsite with 5 other section hikers. Is Baxter going to count this action against the numbers allowed by all AT hikers?

I would say probably not since you rented a campsite. There is an automatic limit placed on hiking up Katahdin by the number of day use permits issued and the number of available campsites. Its a finite resource.

xnav
02-04-2017, 11:03
Numbers are the biggest problem, idiots will always exist. I don't know if it is allowed by Baxter, but one solution would be for the ATC to reserved campsites in Sep and Oct and allow those thru hikers who register on Springer to stay at those campsites and pay enough to reimburse the ATC. Overflow could stay in the Birches. An accurate estimate of arrivals would be needed but based on counts entering the 100 mile wilderness at Monson it could be pretty close then extra reserved spaces could be released back to Baxter. Baxter would have to allow an ATC rep to control the verification of thru hikers, but I think the database is there to do this. Hard ass rules would have to be enforced at these campsites - no alcohol, drugs, profanity, etc. (families are in close proximity) or Baxter will just end any proposed solutions to control numbers. The ATC rep at Monson would know if the campsites and the Birches are maxed out on any given day based on registered numbers and would tell the hikers if he needs to adjust his hiking schedule which would be much easier in Monson rather than showing up at the park boundary and being denied entry.

LoneStranger
02-04-2017, 12:03
...
If BSP wants to preserve a special aesthetic for a limited number (and kind) of people they think are deserving of it more than others, they should just say so. Because that is exactly the direction they moving in.

So if they stated clearly that their desire is to protect the land and the experience of visiting it so that those who wish to be respectful can enjoy the wilderness without destroying it you'd be OK with that? Because that is what they've been saying for decades now. Keeping people out is not their goal and in fact they want to share the beauty of the park with as many people as possible as that is actually their stated goal. As many as possible takes into account the impact that visitors have so is not an unlimited number.

When the people are too numerous or simply too selfish to visit without doing damage then their access logically will be impacted. Blaming the park for that is rather silly as their first responsibility is to the land, not the people. That will not change, so if you want more access you need to work on changing the mindset of the visitors to be more responsible. Perhaps the park would be more accommodating if they felt that additional access would bring in users seeking to appreciate the wilderness respectfully. They certainly continue to work on increasing access to other parts of the park. Increasing thru hiker camping capacity would not be that hard, but dealing with the increased impact given current behavioral trends certainly would be. Until that changes don't expect to see a lot of effort being made to get more access for thru hikers.

TJ aka Teej
02-04-2017, 12:08
If BSP wants to preserve a special aesthetic for a limited number (and kind) of people they think are deserving of it more than others, they should just say so. Because that is exactly the direction they moving in.

Understand that a special aesthetic for an unlimited number and kind of visitor (LD hikers) is what is unsustainable.
All other user numbers are limited, as you know.
Baxter isn't saying anyone is "more deserving," they're saying limits on users needs to be applied to all visitors.
The actual direction the Park is moving toward is an end to all special treatment for LD hikers. They'll someday, and perhaps someday soon, have to act like all other Park visitors.

FreeGoldRush
02-04-2017, 12:18
Understand that a special aesthetic for an unlimited number and kind of visitor (LD hikers) is what is unsustainable.
All other user numbers are limited, as you know.
Baxter isn't saying anyone is "more deserving," they're saying limits on users needs to be applied to all visitors.
The actual direction the Park is moving toward is an end to all special treatment for LD hikers. They'll someday, and perhaps someday soon, have to act like all other Park visitors.

For clarity can someone please explain the pressure placed on the park by an average thru hiker? Are these pressures not remedied by more/better camping facilities and more/better trail maintenance? I apologize if this is obvious, but the problem with thru hikers does not appear to be well defined and is spoken of only in a general sense. I'm having trouble understanding why walking on the trail and hanging my hammock for one night is an issue.

TJ aka Teej
02-04-2017, 12:18
And we can thank the jerk with the champagne bottle that we get hit with the fallout from his misbehavior.

No.
The Park director's letter to the ATC was sent several months before Jurek and crew violated State laws, Park rules, and agreements made beforehand. The Park attempted to help Jurek, and he spat in their face. The letter outlined years of accumulated concerns.
ATC, while well meaning, has absolutely no control what-so-ever on the number of LD hikers that come to Baxter. In that regard, they're an extraordinarily powerless organization.
BSPA is the only organization that can limit Park visitors. They've always done that for other visitors.
And now, they're doing it for ATers, too.

TJ aka Teej
02-04-2017, 12:30
I'm having trouble understanding why walking on the trail and hanging my hammock for one night is an issue.
You're looking at from just the perspective of one LD hiker.
Baxter is looking at it from the perspective of an ever increasing number of one set of visitors.
What was not long ago a few hundred is now thousands and thousands.

FreeGoldRush
02-04-2017, 12:39
You're looking at from just the perspective of one LD hiker.
Baxter is looking at it from the perspective of an ever increasing number of one set of visitors.
What was not long ago a few hundred is now thousands and thousands.

I understand that and have hiked enough trails to see what the crowds can do to them. The Alum Cave Bluff trail in the Smokies is very popular compared to when I hiked it 30 years ago. They are now doing major trail maintenance. The Chimney Tops trail in the Smokies is another example. Intensive trail maintenance successfully allows for bigger crowds. Better camping facilities, such as privies, allow for more campers. Why can't trail maintenance and camping facilities designed for higher numbers also be the solution at Baxter? We're only talking about a handful of thru hikers each day. The thru hiker numbers are tiny compared to total hikers on other trails.

MuddyWaters
02-04-2017, 12:52
baxter has usage capped effectively by defaults in all other areas

except the AT access

They are bringing that inline with their usage model

They communicated this well to the ATC, that increasing #s without limit....were....a ....problem not consistent with their plan for BSP.

The ATC responded by attempting to spread out future hikers to sobo and flipflops, and did NADA to assist in capping #s, because that isnt the ATC use model.

And now the ATC still resists...

http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/community/news/2017/02/02/appalachian-trail-conservancy-challenges-baxter-state-park-2017-appalachian-trail-hiker-cap-due-to-lack-of-research-and-analysis


One has to wonder whats wrong with the people at the ATC.

TJ aka Teej
02-04-2017, 13:28
Why can't trail maintenance and camping facilities designed for higher numbers also be the solution at Baxter?

Baxter wasn't intended for huge crowds.

TJ aka Teej
02-04-2017, 13:31
And now the ATC still resists...
http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/community/news/2017/02/02/appalachian-trail-conservancy-challenges-baxter-state-park-2017-appalachian-trail-hiker-cap-due-to-lack-of-research-and-analysis

The writer's aggressive tone, sneering that BSP wasn't smart enough to decide this by themselves, probably went over well at HQ.

Engine
02-04-2017, 14:33
The writer's aggressive tone, sneering that BSP wasn't smart enough to decide this by themselves, probably went over well at HQ. And who could blame them for be a bit agitated by a message written in that tone, but it doesn't appear, at least on the surface, that BSP has gone out of their way to be friendly toward the ATC either. At this point, both sides need to step back, take a deep breath and reevaluate their working relationship. Since this is purely an AT LDH issue, I feel like the onus is on the ATC to extend the olive branch.

shivelight
02-04-2017, 14:59
Each year the names of those who have reported hike completions in the previous 12 months are published

Not everyone who completes the trail notifies the ATC.

Thanks, I didn't realize the ATC number is self-reported hikes only. That implies a very large number of hikers not checking in at Harpers Ferry, which surprises me. And just to confirm, BSP has higher numbers because of a registration process they require? I recall signing in at KSC, but I don't recall having to state I was a thru-hiker (however this was over a decade ago).

rickb
02-04-2017, 15:41
Baxter wasn't intended for huge crowds.

To put the AT Hiker (I think BSP defines a thruhiker as anyone coming from Monson or farther south, not sure) usage in context, here are the total numbers of hikers registered on BSP trails.

The Hunt Trail is the local name for th stretch of AT from KSCG to the summit.

Other trails to the summit from other campgrounds including the Abol Trail, Saddle Trail and Cathedral Trail(?). Perhaps a couple others.

Not sure what percentage of hikers using these trails up K are long distance hikers.

38119

38120

38121

I still can wrap my head around why BSP would seek to limit the number of SOBOs, since they plan and register exactly like any othe park user already.

I think that if you were to uncover the Park's rational for that, it might be telling.

rickb
02-04-2017, 15:45
For those who like to crunch numbers, compare how many hikers (of all kinds) hike up Katahdin via the Hunt Trail in July and August, vs how many hike up that way in September and October.

Does that tell you anything about the degree to which raw LD hiker numbers are the REAL problem?

MuddyWaters
02-04-2017, 16:04
I still can wrap my head around why BSP would seek to limit the number of SOBOs, since they plan and register exactly like any othe park user already.

I think that if you were to uncover the Park's rational for that, it might be telling.

BSP wants to cap # users.
Parking does this by default
People exiting the park sobo...dont park

they are smart enough to know, that the ATCs plan is keep increasing #s, and shift many to sobo. Resulting in increases.
Over the next 5, 10, 15 yrs they are looking at drastic increases in hiker #s. They say its maxed..now. No more.

ATC is saying...they need to do scientific studies on THEIR land to determine and convince the ATC of what is sustainable.

The ATC is looking foolish.

rickb
02-04-2017, 16:12
[QUOTE=MuddyWaters;2124989]
The ATC is looking foolish.[/QUOTE

Muddy,

Good point on using parking as a limiter, but l compare the number of hikers going up the Hunt Trail in the months that Thru Hikers are likely to be in BSP (either as SOBOs or NOBOd), vs the months they are not.

What do yo make of that?

Carl7
02-04-2017, 21:03
Would Baxter State Park consider allowing some type of trail maintenance, etc. in return for a permit to climb Katahdin? What a great place to return a favor to the trail, Baxter State Park.

FreeGoldRush
02-04-2017, 23:31
Would Baxter State Park consider allowing some type of trail maintenance, etc. in return for a permit to climb Katahdin? What a great place to return a favor to the trail, Baxter State Park.

Apparently not. The culture appears to be "free to all" and not expecting anyone to have to contribute in some way. I completely understand the basis for this thought, but it does not appear sustainable in my opinion.

Krippledprophet
02-04-2017, 23:36
the trouble with this is the atc not respecting the principles the land was donated for by the late Percival Baxter with the declaration that the land will "Remain Forever Wild" further development in the park is counter that ideal. They have always been very strict because they are stewards of the land and the tremendous gift bestowed on the people.

Baxter shouldn't include sobo hikers in the thru cap and perhaps should do what yosemite has done with the Passes for hiking out of the valley over donohue pass and do rail caps.

Krippledprophet
02-04-2017, 23:38
can't edit but last post should read daily caps

rickb
02-05-2017, 09:28
The most recent figure published (that I found) were in 2013:

1539 Hikers climbed Katahdin via in AT in June
2759 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in July
3213 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in August
2046 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in September
1214 Hikers climberd Katahdin via the AT in October

Think about when AT Hikers climb Katahdin.

Do these numbers open your eyes just a bit?

Then do a bit more work and look at the distribution of Hikers summiting Katahdin via all Trails, to put these numbers in even better perspective.

Bronk
02-05-2017, 09:31
They should move the terminus of the AT to Time Square.

xnav
02-05-2017, 09:50
If Avery was from Virginia it would have ended in VA, same said for any state along the AT. Nothing magical about Katahdin except it is a big mountain in the middle of nowhere. ATC should pick a new terminus that can support the numbers that will only grow. Nothing happened when they moved the southern terminus, and now that is having problems even though it is much more accessible then Katahdin. I favor crossing a bridge or a border for a fitting ending. I hate walking the same trail twice.

gpburdelljr
02-05-2017, 12:10
The most recent figure published (that I found) were in 2013:

1539 Hikers climbed Katahdin via in AT in June
2759 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in July
3213 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in August
2046 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in September
1214 Hikers climberd Katahdin via the AT in October

Think about when AT Hikers climb Katahdin.

Do these numbers open your eyes just a bit?

Then do a bit more work and look at the distribution of Hikers summiting Katahdin via all Trails, to put these numbers in even better perspective.

do you have a link to your data source?

LoneStranger
02-05-2017, 13:07
The most recent figure published (that I found) were in 2013:

1539 Hikers climbed Katahdin via in AT in June
2759 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in July
3213 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in August
2046 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in September
1214 Hikers climberd Katahdin via the AT in October

Think about when AT Hikers climb Katahdin.

Do these numbers open your eyes just a bit?

Then do a bit more work and look at the distribution of Hikers summiting Katahdin via all Trails, to put these numbers in even better perspective.

As an actual data analyst for many years I find your enthusiasm for whatever you think those numbers prove amusing. Yes, one could focus on the number of thru hikers vs the number of total hikers and assume that proves that thru hikers don't cause any problems so they should have unlimited access. One would be horribly wrong in making that assumption based on the data you posted, but it is a free country, for now at least.

If you want to do an analysis of impact you need data on the impact. Do you have that? If not then the numbers you keep posting don't support any conclusion other than July and August being popular months for climbing Katahdin.

If you want to look at numbers with meaning there were some posted earlier in this thread about how many hiker/nights were available for the season at The Birches and comparing that number to the available thru hiker permits.


What I did notice is that the NoBo limits are set apx equal to the number of spots at the Birches for the NoBo season.

12 spots/day X 30 days/month X 4 months that the bubble finished = 1440

Limits for NoBo = 1350

Those this does not include those who obtain reservations, but they then should be counted guests at the campground and exempt, or if overnighting in Millinocket, as day hikers and should hopefully not change the numbers. Add a allowance for LD and Flips and then NoBo may not be affected.

Once you see that the number of permits is based on that number of available hiker/nights it becomes clear why there aren't more. That is an analysis backed by actual data rather than emotion.

rickb
02-05-2017, 14:21
As an actual data analyst for many years I find your enthusiasm for whatever you think those numbers prove amusing. Yes, one could focus on the number of thru hikers vs the number of total hikers and assume that proves that thru hikers don't cause any problems so they should have unlimited access. One would be horribly wrong in making that assumption based on the data you posted, but it is a free country, for now at least.

If you want to do an analysis of impact you need data on the impact. Do you have that? If not then the numbers you keep posting don't support any conclusion other than July and August being popular months for climbing Katahdin.

I find that reaction astonishing.

PennyPincher
02-05-2017, 17:52
The most recent figure published (that I found) were in 2013:

1539 Hikers climbed Katahdin via in AT in June
2759 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in July
3213 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in August
2046 Hikers climbed Katahdin via the AT in September
1214 Hikers climberd Katahdin via the AT in October

Think about when AT Hikers climb Katahdin.

Do these numbers open your eyes just a bit?

Then do a bit more work and look at the distribution of Hikers summiting Katahdin via all Trails, to put these numbers in even better perspective.

You certainly cannot attribute the rise in those summiting Katahdin in July and August just to AT hikers. After all, ALL of Maine, NH, MA public schools (and I would also guess CT, RI and VT) get out for the summer in late June (after the 15th usually) and are back to school either just before or just after Labor Day which means families from there have July and August to take family vacations. If we could see those numbers by the months over the past 10 years it may shed more light on the impact of thru hikers/flip floppers etc.

Even still, the outdoor sports have become more and more popular over recent years, especially when you add in the "affluence affect."

Praha4
02-06-2017, 00:56
easy solution. Just don't bother hiking BSP.

Section hiking has more appeal all the time. Pick the season and section, and you can still experience the AT like it once was before it became overrun with too many thru hikers.

Praha4
02-06-2017, 01:08
that and the endless youtube vids showing the parties on the AT

youtube vids, trail journals, Hollywood movies, books ... the AT experience has been hyped beyond belief in recent years

Engine
02-06-2017, 05:23
... the AT experience has been hyped beyond belief in recent years The old AT experience...

Don H
02-06-2017, 14:29
When the total number of thru-hiker passes are used it appears as though thru-hikers will have to get in line for one of the limited day passes. I believe the way this works (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that you line up at the gate early in the morning to get in and that the number of people allowed in is limited. Wouldn't this then put thru-hikers in direct competition for these limited passes with the local day hikers?

Starchild
02-06-2017, 14:46
When the total number of thru-hiker passes are used it appears as though thru-hikers will have to get in line for one of the limited day passes. I believe the way this works (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that you line up at the gate early in the morning to get in and that the number of people allowed in is limited. Wouldn't this then put thru-hikers in direct competition for these limited passes with the local day hikers?

Good point, and I can see the thru hikers camping at the gate the night before, perhaps even tenting on the road at the gate to ensure their entry. They are most prepared and very willing to do so and so very easy for them.

LoneStranger
02-06-2017, 14:59
When the total number of thru-hiker passes are used it appears as though thru-hikers will have to get in line for one of the limited day passes. I believe the way this works (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that you line up at the gate early in the morning to get in and that the number of people allowed in is limited. Wouldn't this then put thru-hikers in direct competition for these limited passes with the local day hikers?

The daily limits are for parking, not hikers. There are a limited number of Day Use Parking Reservations (DUPRs) available with any extras left over being issued on a first come, first serve basis at the gate. Locals and anyone serious about planning a day hike during the busy season book their parking reservations in advance and show up at the gate early so as not to give up their spot as they don't hold no show space past 7am.

No idea how the limited parking passes will impact thru hikers as they aren't likely to have a vehicle. They seem to be saying if you don't have access to The Birches via a hiker card the night before you need to enter as a day user via the gate on the day you want to summit. Entering on foot wouldn't require a parking pass, but the gate is quite some distance from the AT so that will likely be the biggest problem. Personally I think I'd be there before the gate opens asking folks with an empty seat if I could ride in with them, though I don't know how the park feels about that tactic :)

Starchild
02-06-2017, 15:17
When the total number of thru-hiker passes are used it appears as though thru-hikers will have to get in line for one of the limited day passes. I believe the way this works (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that you line up at the gate early in the morning to get in and that the number of people allowed in is limited. Wouldn't this then put thru-hikers in direct competition for these limited passes with the local day hikers?

More on this, it seems like ultimately BSP loses this battle, unless they want to put a requirement for day use that no one who has walked here from Springer is allowed entry in the same calendar year.

However the war, and the nuclear options, kick the AT out of the park, vs. take the AT corridor by eminent domain from BSP still rage on.

Lone Wolf
02-06-2017, 15:39
Whitecap mtn. would be a nice terminus

rickb
02-06-2017, 17:09
When the total number of thru-hiker passes are used it appears as though thru-hikers will have to get in line for one of the limited day passes. I believe the way this works (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that you line up at the gate early in the morning to get in and that the number of people allowed in is limited. Wouldn't this then put thru-hikers in direct competition for these limited passes with the local day hikers?

Keep in mind that the Thru Hiker limits would not kick in until September or October -- the very months when the overall number of hikers climbing Katahdin is at its lowest.

In other words, this scheme is designed so that it would reduce the numbers of hikers on Katahdin at the very time total usage is at its lowest.

Think about that.

Thier new program might achieve BSP's real objective, but it certainly does not achieve their stated one.

rickb
02-06-2017, 17:16
Whitecap mtn. would be a nice terminus

In all seriousness, the new National Monument would be a terrific place for the Trail to end. Specifically, at the same spot where the IAT begins.

It would raise the profile of those lands tremendously, and put them one step closer to becoming a National Park.

Interested thru hikers could easily (?) request reservations at Traditional Campgrounds within BSP (their Cabins are great!) to have some extended celebration time, including a loop over the Knife Edge -- which is sadly dismissed by so many since it is not part of the official Trail.

rickb
02-06-2017, 17:25
do you have a link to your data source?


Here, starting on page 122:

http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/reports/2013%20Annual%20Report%20Full%20Report%20Website%2 0version%2010%2023%202014.pdf

LoneStranger
02-06-2017, 19:17
In all seriousness, the new National Monument would be a terrific place for the Trail to end. Specifically, at the same spot where the IAT begins.

It would raise the profile of those lands tremendously, and put them one step closer to becoming a National Park.

Interested thru hikers could easily (?) request reservations at Traditional Campgrounds within BSP (their Cabins are great!) to have some extended celebration time, including a loop over the Knife Edge -- which is sadly dismissed by so many since it is not part of the official Trail.

That would be hilarious. If you've ever been to that spot you know just how anticlimactic it would be to hike 2k+ miles to reach a flat spot on an old logging road.

38140

That is the view looking towards BSP at the spot you are talking about. The logging road that starts the IAT leads to another until eventually you cross Wass Stream a bit past the LT and finally start walking on actual trail again. This land was heavily logged in the past and despite the regrowth it is not a very natural environment. Some good berries in there though :)

If you're going to send folks on a 3 mile road walk down the Golden Road to hook up with a new section of AT leading about 10 miles to that spot as the new route you might as well send them up Deasey to finish there with a great view of Katahdin so they can at least see what they've missed.

rickb
02-06-2017, 20:54
Next time you head up that way, you might find that it has moved farther south-- if all goes according to plan.

LoneStranger
02-06-2017, 21:05
Oh I have to admit I haven't been keeping up on plans for the land now that it has become .gov property. Are they hoping to cut new trail or use the roads still? That road walk section just doesn't compare to the actual forest trails in the area.

blue indian
02-06-2017, 21:41
This makes me sad...

TJ aka Teej
02-07-2017, 00:45
Next time you head up that way, you might find that it has moved farther south-- if all goes according to plan.
I was there in late October. Took the same pic LS took.

peakbagger
02-07-2017, 08:47
Since the IAT is "persona non grata" in BSP the IAT start point is at the mercy of BSP if there is interest in connecting it to the AT. There had been discussion about routing the IAT south of the park boundary at one point but I haven't seen much on that proposal of late. The "truce" that has been in place up until now effectively ignores the unofficial IAT route down the Knife Edge and Helon Taylor to the Katahdin lake trail through the park. I don't see BSP allowing a new entrance/exit out of BSP onto the monument lands as it effectively means BSP will then have to manage anther access point, something that they have already indicated they are not interested in doing. The original proposed IAT route out via the old Wassataquoik tote road would run through the monument lands to intersect the existing IAT cutting the overall length of the IAT that runs through the monument which I expect is not something the monument would be interested in doing.
The alternative would be for the unofficial IAT route to run northeast through the park via Pogy Notch and South Pond out through the Trout Brook region before leaving BSP through the North Gate. This would by pass the new monument in its entirety, which I expect would not go well with the monument.

The current IAT start point is really just a consequence of a commercial operation having some rights to access to Katahdin Lake through the park. I believe the IAT has left it where it is hoping that at some point they may get permission to operate in the park but given the AT issues I don't expect that is going to happen.

Prior to the park owning Katahdin Lake, the Katahdin Lake trail was an inconvenient vestige of Baxter having to piece together different parcels and rights to create the park. I believe at one point that the Katahdin lake camps used this trail in the winter with snowmachines through BSP?. This was before the lawsuit on park access by snowmachines that I believe now limit machines to only the perimeter road (with the exception of the BSP rangers who can go anywhere).

Don H
02-07-2017, 09:55
Keep in mind that the Thru Hiker limits would not kick in until September or October -- the very months when the overall number of hikers climbing Katahdin is at its lowest.

In other words, this scheme is designed so that it would reduce the numbers of hikers on Katahdin at the very time total usage is at its lowest.

Think about that.

Thier new program might achieve BSP's real objective, but it certainly does not achieve their stated one.

Your 2013 numbers of all hikers climbing K via the AT showed peak numbers in July and August.

Consider that the total numbers of hikers of all categories has steadily increased over the last several years.
And that increasing numbers of earlier start date NOBOs will likely have them arriving at BSP earlier.
And the ATC encouraging alternate thru-hikes will cause in increase in Flip-Flops hikers arriving earlier.
And that since hikers "self declare" their hike and that once one classification of hiker pass is sold out hikers will chose an alternative pass.

Even though there is a slight increase in passes over last years hiker numbers I would not be surprised to see the passes gone by mid-August.

LoneStranger
02-07-2017, 10:12
There are a network of old roads they could use to extend the IAT farther south, but without a bridge over the East Branch extending to Route 11 in the Grindstone area would require a pretty serious swim. An easier route would be to swing further to the east in the direction of Stacyville since there is an existing bridge I believe in that direction.

Either of these would put the IAT southern terminus quite a bit farther away from the current AT while creating easier access via a vehicle. Maybe the ATC can paint a blaze on a shuttle bus floor and make that the official route around BSP so the trail can terminate at the spot where the IAT starts :)

rickb
02-07-2017, 10:16
Your 2013 numbers of all hikers climbing K via the AT showed peak numbers in July and August.

Consider that the total numbers of hikers of all categories has steadily increased over the last several years.
And that increasing numbers of earlier start date NOBOs will likely have them arriving at BSP earlier.
And the ATC encouraging alternate thru-hikes will cause in increase in Flip-Flops hikers arriving earlier.
And that since hikers "self declare" their hike and that once one classification of hiker pass is sold out hikers will chose an alternative pass.

Even though there is a slight increase in passes over last years hiker numbers I would not be surprised to see the passes gone by mid-August.

I think sometime in September is far more likely-- but your's is a good question.

I don't have good states on when each catagory of hiker climbs Katahdin, but if you look at the Kennebeck Ferry data, one can get a some idea. Surely BSP know, right?

My takeaway from that data I posted is that crowds on the Hunt Trail (AT) are far less likely in September and October than in July and August.

The BSP plan would -- by design -- throttle Thru Hiker entries in the slowest months, I think. Why on the world would that make sense?

But it is even nuttier than that. Their "cap" actually encourages hikers to end their thru hikes hikes earlier. That is to say, at tims when the Hunt Trail sees greater than average traffic.

If they are truely concerned about the numbers of hikers on the mountain on any given day, why would they come up with something like this?

On a side note, I retract my idea about ending the AT at the National Monument-- for all the wise reasons others have posted. Better to just make sure that the AT terminus remains where Congress dictated it to be, and make sure that anyone who spends the time and effort to walk there, can.

LoneStranger
02-07-2017, 10:40
Pretty sure their concern isn't just how many people are on the mountain. They've already addressed overall trail crowding via the introduction of the DUPR and the limits that creates. They are also concerned about the number of thru hikers arriving without reservations and expecting to find a spot at The Birches waiting for them. Spreading the arrival dates out makes good sense in terms of resolving that issue since earlier in the season The Birches is lightly used until the crowds start pulling in. There simply is not unlimited capacity to accommodate unexpected arrivals so saying that everyone who arrives should be given access runs into that reality.

My thought would be to get the state to expand their Abol campground by a fair bit and run a shuttle between there and KSC. Thru hikers could hike into KSC and shuttle back to Abol if The Birches was full, then return the next morning via shuttle and finish their hike. BSP may not want that shuttle on their roads, but I'd wager they'd accept that long before they'd agree to expand capacity inside the park.

FreeGoldRush
02-07-2017, 10:45
My thought would be to get the state to expand their Abol campground by a fair bit and run a shuttle between there and KSC. Thru hikers could hike into KSC and shuttle back to Abol if The Birches was full, then return the next morning via shuttle and finish their hike. BSP may not want that shuttle on their roads, but I'd wager they'd accept that long before they'd agree to expand capacity inside the park.

This sounds reasonable. What is the argument against it?

MuddyWaters
02-07-2017, 11:10
Ive read the appalachian trail section of the national scenic trails act a few times.

Not once, does it mention the right of anyone to thru-hike or have special concessions made for ability to do so....

It would seem simple to eliminate the Birches, route AT in the Togue pond gate, and treat AT hikers just like everyone else. Fairly.

Couple miles road walks, ksc reservations well in advance, climb the hunt trail to hearts content. Or dont.

The time is coming when gsmnp wont take the thruhiker load as well

Engine
02-07-2017, 11:13
...If they are truely concerned about the numbers of hikers on the mountain on any given day, why would they come up with something like this? In my opinion, it simply comes down to BSP not having fully realized the likely ramifications of their seemingly arbitrary solution. Is it really arbitrary, or aimed more at getting the attention of the ATC in order to stimulate real solutions? Who knows. But, I don't fault BSP for taking a proactive stance, I'm just not in favor of their methods.

burger
02-07-2017, 11:15
Ive read the appalachian trail section of the national scenic trails act a few times.

Not once, does it mention the right of anyone to thru-hike or have special concessions made for ability to do so....

Shhhh! You're going to ruin the sense of entitlement that most people here (plus of a lot of hikers on the AT) have!

LongBlaze2019
02-07-2017, 12:13
I hate to say it but......
I think it's time to move the Northern terminal.
Instead of both sides being stubborn and not trying to understand each other and come to a workable solution while long distance hikers get stuck in the middle of the mess. Just move it and when it's all said and done BSP and the AT conservancy can move on, and hikers can keep on hiking.

peakbagger
02-07-2017, 12:17
What the new policy seems to do is to continue to give thruhikers preferential treatment until the permit limit is reached and then treats them like anyone else who trys to visit the park without reservations. North bounders actually walk a short distance on the abandoned state road that runs to the Togue Pond Gate road. I think I measured it once and its around 6 miles to the gate house. Once at the gate house, the park staff will work with the thru hiker like anyone else that shows up at the gate without reservations to find a space in the park for them to stay. Practically there is no trail paralleling the road to KSC so any thru hiker on foot is going to have a very dusty potentially dangerous walk along the narrow curvy park road with no shoulder if they do get a reservation. There really is no real option to dayhike to the summit from the gatehouse without a ride or a place to camp as the mileage to KSC is around 8 miles from the Togue Pond gate one way.

rickb
02-07-2017, 12:42
What the new policy seems to do is to continue to give thruhikers preferential treatment until the permit limit is reached and then treats them like anyone else who trys to visit the park without reservations. North bounders actually walk a short distance on the abandoned state road that runs to the Togue Pond Gate road. I think I measured it once and its around 6 miles to the gate house. Once at the gate house, the park staff will work with the thru hiker like anyone else that shows up at the gate without reservations to find a space in the park for them to stay. Practically there is no trail paralleling the road to KSC so any thru hiker on foot is going to have a very dusty potentially dangerous walk along the narrow curvy park road with no shoulder if they do get a reservation. There really is no real option to dayhike to the summit from the gatehouse without a ride or a place to camp as the mileage to KSC is around 8 miles from the Togue Pond gate one way.

Are SOBO Thru hikers getting preferential treatment?

How about flip-floppers and section hikers starting their leg with a climb up Katahdin?

Why the quota on them -- just to make a point?

Should AT Hikers be encouraged to put in KSCG reservations like everyone else and compete with families for the limited number of camping sites? That would not be a good thing at all!

Starchild
02-07-2017, 12:55
There really is no real option to dayhike to the summit from the gatehouse without a ride or a place to camp as the mileage to KSC is around 8 miles from the Togue Pond gate one way.
Th
Thru hikers are not above hitchhiking, actually they are very willing and able to do so. Unless BSP launches a campaign to not give rides to thru hikers, this will not be a problem, thru hikers are loved and their stories are greatly valued, a ride in is the least that someone could give them for that.

Lone Wolf
02-07-2017, 17:11
Ive read the appalachian trail section of the national scenic trails act a few times.

Not once, does it mention the right of anyone to thru-hike or have special concessions made for ability to do so....

It would seem simple to eliminate the Birches, route AT in the Togue pond gate, and treat AT hikers just like everyone else. Fairly.

Couple miles road walks, ksc reservations well in advance, climb the hunt trail to hearts content. Or dont.

The time is coming when gsmnp wont take the thruhiker load as well
agree...............

Slo-go'en
02-07-2017, 17:23
Most of the people here bitching will never get to Baxter in the first place...

rickb
02-07-2017, 17:44
agree...............

Probably doesn't say anything about taking private citizen's land witnout their consent either.

That would never happen at Baxter -- no way, no how -- but that Act of Congress does suggest that the NPS has more than a spectator's roll with regard to control of the AT. The entire AT, no matter some individuals' untested claims to the contrary.

Be that as it may...

Still not sure why a SOBO needs a special permit, and why one would be subject to a fine and expulsion from the Park if he fails to present his "special" card/papers to the authorities on demand while climbing K.

Sobos must make he same reservations and follow the same rules as everyone else, right? No Birches or special entry accomodations.

Is there some perceived "characteristic" associated with SOBOs that makes this kind of discrimination OK? Is it because they are more likely to be from "away" and skew outside the preferred demographic? However a handful of individuals chooses to define that.

Something is up.

Starchild
02-07-2017, 18:15
Ive read the appalachian trail section of the national scenic trails act a few times.

Not once, does it mention the right of anyone to thru-hike or have special concessions made for ability to do so....

That's the beauty of the AT thru hikers, they don't need that to get special privileges. People realize that these people are doing something that transcends society and bring a great positive to humanity and they have to make a offering of thanksgiving. This offering of thanks is expressed in privileges (some encoded in law) on the federal, state, local and private lands.




It would seem simple to eliminate the Birches, route AT in the Togue pond gate, and treat AT hikers just like everyone else. Fairly.

There does not seem to be that intention, the limits are set to preserve the Birches, BSP is just saying that they are taking a stand against the suggestions that they expand their thru hiker accommodations.


Couple miles road walks, ksc reservations well in advance, climb the hunt trail to hearts content. Or dont.

Or camp out at the gate, swipe all the day reservations before the first car arrives. This is not a solution, it's just BSP saying that they which to cap the numbers at the capacity of the birches.


The time is coming when gsmnp wont take the thruhiker load as well

Perhaps but I have not seen any indication and the current system as it seems to accommodate the number of thru hikers (much greater numbers / more concentrated than BSP) in their current system of allowing tenting near shelters that are full.

LoneStranger
02-07-2017, 18:24
...
Or camp out at the gate, swipe all the day reservations before the first car arrives. This is not a solution, it's just BSP saying that they which to cap the numbers at the capacity of the birches.
...

Togue gate is actually about a mile or so inside the park so no camping there. Hikers don't need a parking reservation so can't take them all before the cars arrive even if there are any unbooked DUPRs available. Totally agree with you about them saying that once The Birches are full you need to make other plans because they aren't adding more space.

Starchild
02-07-2017, 18:43
... Hikers don't need a parking reservation so can't take them all before the cars arrive even if there are any unbooked DUPRs available. ....

Can you explain this? Not sure from the words you use what you mean?

As for your other points, mine is that the way that BSP structured the permits it may cut into the limit of other visitors, so more thru hikers, less 'other people' will be allowed in due to this policy. As for when the permits are gone, the thru hiker will compete with the other users of the park, bumping them out.

I don't see how these logistical hoops BSP is setting up is going to deter someone who has walked 2000+ miles to get there. What they can do is charge for thru hikers more than they do, though that really does not solve the problem either.

Lone Wolf
02-07-2017, 19:07
People realize that these people are doing something that transcends society and bring a great positive to humanity and they have to make a offering of thanksgiving

ummm, no......

Starchild
02-07-2017, 19:13
ummm, no......

Evidence disputes your statement. You may not agree like it should be, you may not like it, but you simply can't deny it and stay in the real world.

TJ aka Teej
02-07-2017, 19:39
That's the beauty of the AT thru hikers, they don't need that to get special privileges. People realize that these people are doing something that transcends society and bring a great positive to humanity and they have to make a offering of thanksgiving. This offering of thanks is expressed in privileges (some encoded in law) on the federal, state, local and private lands.
Have you ever met a thru-hiker?

Starchild
02-07-2017, 19:56
Have you ever met a thru-hiker?


Many, I have hosted them at my home, gave numerous rides to, worked for ATC, and thru hiked myself in 2013, NoBo in the bubble where I met many other thru hikers. How about you?

LoneStranger
02-07-2017, 19:57
Can you explain this? Not sure from the words you use what you mean?

As for your other points, mine is that the way that BSP structured the permits it may cut into the limit of other visitors, so more thru hikers, less 'other people' will be allowed in due to this policy. As for when the permits are gone, the thru hiker will compete with the other users of the park, bumping them out.

I don't see how these logistical hoops BSP is setting up is going to deter someone who has walked 2000+ miles to get there. What they can do is charge for thru hikers more than they do, though that really does not solve the problem either.

http://baxterstateparkauthority.com/reservation/parkingReservations.htm

That has all the info on Day Use Parking Reservations. $5 gets you advance registration for a specific day for a single vehicle. Show up by 7am and you are in. If they don't sell out you can just drive up and get access and they give out no show space after 7am, but getting a reservation is the only sensible way to go.

Again, none of that applies to a thru hiker with no vehicle wanting day access. What does apply is a very long and dangerous road walk if they need to get from Togue gate to the Hunt TH. Some feel as you do that hikers are magical folk who should be gifted with all honor and assistance, but I have to warn you there are a lot of folks with plates from a state to our south that drive very fast on the twisting and dusty park roads who will run you down if you don't leap off the road when you hear them coming. That is based on my personal experience road walking in the park which is far more extensive than I'd prefer. Not sure how they feel about thru hikers, they may love em. Just saying that doesn't matter much once you go under the front bumper :)

Starchild
02-07-2017, 20:00
http://baxterstateparkauthority.com/reservation/parkingReservations.htm

That has all the info on Day Use Parking Reservations. $5 gets you advance registration for a specific day for a single vehicle. Show up by 7am and you are in. If they don't sell out you can just drive up and get access and they give out no show space after 7am, but getting a reservation is the only sensible way to go.

Again, none of that applies to a thru hiker with no vehicle wanting day access. What does apply is a very long and dangerous road walk if they need to get from Togue gate to the Hunt TH. Some feel as you do that hikers are magical folk who should be gifted with all honor and assistance, but I have to warn you there are a lot of folks with plates from a state to our south that drive very fast on the twisting and dusty park roads who will run you down if you don't leap off the road when you hear them coming. That is based on my personal experience road walking in the park which is far more extensive than I'd prefer. Not sure how they feel about thru hikers, they may love em. Just saying that doesn't matter much once you go under the front bumper :)



This seems irrelevant as thru hikers will not be walking, they will hitch a ride, that's what they do.

Venchka
02-07-2017, 20:01
Meanwhile, and I ain't saying where, there are empty trails waiting for a person or two to enjoy. With good beer, tacos, enchiladas and pizzas nearby.
Wayne


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Lone Wolf
02-07-2017, 20:08
This seems irrelevant as thru hikers will not be walking, they will hitch a ride, that's what they do.

no, they call for shuttles these days

rickb
02-07-2017, 20:24
This seems irrelevant as thru hikers will not be walking, they will hitch a ride, that's what they do.

Back to Abol Bridge?

I am assuming a Thru Hiker will be permitted to enter the park there (Abol Bridge) after checking in at the gate, and not need to get a special dispensation from Park HQ, right? Or not.

Of course if he arrives in late September or October (when he fewest number of people are on K, BTW) BSP might well have closed the Birches based on their Cap number. Meaning another hitch out of the park and back to finish up.

And this somehow protects the Hunt Trail and the Summit?

Or does is motivate Thru Hikers to scarf up the few remaining last-minute openings of 4-person plus lean-tos at KSCG with a call from Monson or even farther south -- much to the disappointment of hard-working families wanting a respite from real-life jobs that didn't allow them to plan far in advance.

BSPs plan is nuts-- and does a disservice to more people than just Thru Hikers.

Starchild
02-07-2017, 20:29
no, they call for shuttles these days


Perhaps, the AT is becoming more like EL Camino in many ways. Goodwill is becoming standardized in services which are discounted.

Starchild
02-07-2017, 20:36
Back to Abol Bridge?

I am assuming a Thru Hiker will be permitted to enter the park there (Abol Bridge) after checking in at the gate, and not need to get a special dispensation from Park HQ, right? Or not.

Of course if he arrives in late September or October (when he fewest number of people are on K, BTW) BSP might well have closed the Birches based on their Cap number. Meaning another hitch out of the park and back to finish up.

And this somehow protects the Hunt Trail and the Summit?

Or does is motivate Thru Hikers to scarf up the few remaining last-minute openings of 4-person plus lean-tos at KSCG with a call from Monson or even farther south -- much to the disappointment of hard-working families wanting a respite from real-life jobs that didn't allow them to plan far in advance.

BSPs plan is nuts-- and does a disservice to more people than just Thru Hikers.

From what I have heard of it, you summarize it nicely. But consider that the number of thru hiker permits is about equal to the number of spots/day at the Birches it is just them stamping their feet and saying that they are not building more AT thru hiker accommodations. It really does not seem to have any effect on the thru hikers as the limits at the Birches is already there.


Why BSP can't do something like make a second 'birches' a mile or two before the current one to help spread out the AT crowds, and even reduce the capacity of both from 12 to 8, well the mind boggles.

rickb
02-07-2017, 21:03
Another thing that about this scheme is that every NOBO who elects to play by the same rules as tradional park users -- perhaps because the have elected to summit with their family as daynikers or join up with them them at one of those great Darcey Pond Cabins -- will be counted towards the Cap.

Why is that, I wonder?

peakbagger
02-07-2017, 21:23
The abandoned state road from Abol Bridge to the park entrance road is not used very much, it can be hours before a car will go over it, it was close to completely unpassable to passenger cars until a landowner did a big timber harvest a few years ago and roughed it back to passable condition. They ran a road grader down the road and stripped much of the old pavement and got rid of the trees growing up in the middle of it. I don't hold out a lot of hope that its going to be kept open to passenger cars in the long run. Thus a thru hiker may not have the option of hitching this road. If they know exactly where they are on the Golden Road, they may be able to hitch from Abol Bridge to the correct intersection for a cross road that cuts over to the state highway that eventually dead ends at the park. There are numerous unsigned dead end logging roads that cut off the Golden Road with variable signage. A map helps but the roads change every few years.

By the way, there is an option in place for "hard-working families wanting a respite from real-life jobs that didn't allow them to plan far in advance" 20% of all sites in the park are reserved for Maine residents two weeks prior to the date so that they have a chance to go there without having to plan in advance. This is per Baxter's wishes. There is a similar policy in place for DUPRs to give Maine folks a leg up. Therefore the contention that they will be disappointed due to thru hikers is not valid. If and only if a Maine resident doesn't book a spot does the general public including thru hikers have chance to book the reserved Maine slots. Read section 1.1 of the rules regarding that the park has the right to develop administrative policies and procedure for the processing of reservations. If you look at the rolling reservations later in the season you will see the 20% of the sites that cant be booked. Once they get two weeks out they will switch to booked. The reality is that with some flexibility there is almost always a place to stay in the park last minute. Last summer two weeks prior to Labor Day weekend I booked a lean to at Abol on the Friday prior to the weekend, I would have had to switch to an open campsite for Saturday and Sunday night but elected to head to the north end of the park which had numerous sites open.

I realize that the prior poster is desperately trying to justify making BSP into an evil entity but its obvious that he is trying to do it without all the facts in hand. Its guess its easy to try to armchair quarterback a fairly complex administrative system from afar but it ends up garbage in garbage out. Instead of armchair quarterbacking spend some time at the park actually seeing how the system works. What you will find is that the staff is very busy dealing with day to day operations and spend a lot of time they don't have dealing with thru hikers. Its amazing they can pull it off.

FreeGoldRush
02-07-2017, 21:31
Why BSP can't do something like make a second 'birches' a mile or two before the current one to help spread out the AT crowds, and even reduce the capacity of both from 12 to 8, well the mind boggles.

And that hits the nail on the head. BSP is making it very clear that "free to all" will not be tolerated. It's only free to those who get there early and apparently to those who have a car and a parking resevation. Insisting on free just is not sustainable. There are better ways that can also accommodate thru hikers.

rickb
02-07-2017, 21:47
The last minute spots reserved for Maine residents have been in play for a very long time.

A bunch hikers calling from Monson will compete with folks from out of state -- like you and me -- as well as Maine residents who have not already booked their sites yet.

Not good.

But what of the Thru Hikers who book a 4-plus person leanto from Gorham -- three or four weeks out? The new policy encourages that.

Not good for anyone, includiing Maine residents.

As for Baxter being evil -- far from it. I expect the Superintendent believers in his mission, and I respect that focus.

It is just that this cap bad idea. It will not achieve the intended results, and will impact more than just Thru Hikers.

Starchild
02-07-2017, 21:52
And that hits the nail on the head. BSP is making it very clear that "free to all" will not be tolerated. It's only free to those who get there early and apparently to those who have a car and a parking resevation. Insisting on free just is not sustainable. There are better ways that can also accommodate thru hikers.


What is the 'free for all'? Currently there are nightly limits at the Birches of a max of 12 and the thru hikers have to pay for those spots.

My suggestion was to make a second one, not drop the fee.

FreeGoldRush
02-07-2017, 22:05
What is the 'free for all'? Currently there are nightly limits at the Birches of a max of 12 and the thru hikers have to pay for those spots.

My suggestion was to make a second one, not drop the fee.

"Free to all" is the current trail culture. I see a future where there is a permit fee and the fees are applied to creating better facilities. That would provide access to all. But that honestly is not what they want and it's not what a lot of hikers want. Limiting access is just part of government. They have all done it going back to the Roman Empire. Why change with the changing demands of the people when you have the power to simply restrict access? They'll say they are protecting the wilderness by limiting the foot traffic. And they are. I'm simply saying that the trail should be maintained to support the traffic demand. That also protects the wilderness.

rickb
02-08-2017, 04:20
Not being a Maine resident, I was never motivated to understand the exact particulars of BSP reservation system for them, but Peakbagger's comments got me wondering.

I get (after a Google) that about 30% of each CG's sites are set aside for Maine Residents -- and what is left of those those 30% is only made available to out of state resident if they are unclaimed a week (2?) out.

But once those 30% are reserved by Maine Residents (from 4 months to 1 week prior to their visit -- how fast they are scarfed up probably depends on the date and particular CG) do Maine residents have any priority over what may remain?

Or would they be forced to compete with everyone else -- including thruhikers -- for reservations?

Traveler
02-08-2017, 08:08
From what I have heard of it, you summarize it nicely. But consider that the number of thru hiker permits is about equal to the number of spots/day at the Birches it is just them stamping their feet and saying that they are not building more AT thru hiker accommodations. It really does not seem to have any effect on the thru hikers as the limits at the Birches is already there.


Why BSP can't do something like make a second 'birches' a mile or two before the current one to help spread out the AT crowds, and even reduce the capacity of both from 12 to 8, well the mind boggles.

It might help to review the charter/mission of the Park to understand why development is not embraced quickly. If, however, those promoting this idea would offer to pay for this expansion (a considerable cost even if completed with volunteer labor) and fund the personnel necessary to monitor and care for them, it may help move that argument a little. However, I doubt it will get past Baxter's conditions of land use.

peakbagger
02-08-2017, 08:27
I guess the armchair quarterbacks are missing a fundamental issue when they try to somehow link thru hiker usage from denying others from using the Park. The park has numerous campgrounds with only KSC impacted significantly by thruhiker traffic. Abol and Foster Field can get some minor impacts but that generally requires park staff involvement. As anyone who has actually camped in the park knows, KSC, Abol and Foster field are not really destination campsites, they are a drive in place to stay while on the way to a day destination in the park. KSC is a quite a dense campground with fairly close spacing between the tentsites. The lean tos are nice but there is a steady stream of hiker traffic walking quite close behind them from 6 AM to 8PM. Its still a nice spot despite the crowds but there are far nicer campgrounds in the park for folks who want to head in for several days and many of them don't book up fully during the week and even on popular weekends there are frequently openings. Most folks only climb Katahdin once from KSC on a multiday trip so the rest of the time they are going elsewhere in the park.

Thus the contention that thru hikers are potentially denying the right for a hard working mainers to make a last minute trip to the park is pretty weak. Since the vast majority of hard working Mainers drive to the park, all they need to do is book one of the majority of the campgrounds of little interest to thru hikers. Even on the most busy weekend there are sites open in the park although they may be the NE corner of the park which has attractions of its own.

MuddyWaters
02-08-2017, 08:53
I guess the armchair quarterbacks are missing a fundamental issue when they try to somehow link thru hiker usage from denying others from using the Park. The park has numerous campgrounds with only KSC impacted significantly by thruhiker traffic. Abol and Foster Field can get some minor impacts but that generally requires park staff involvement. As anyone who has actually camped in the park knows, KSC, Abol and Foster field are not really destination campsites, they are a drive in place to stay while on the way to a day destination in the park. KSC is a quite a dense campground with fairly close spacing between the tentsites. The lean tos are nice but there is a steady stream of hiker traffic walking quite close behind them from 6 AM to 8PM. Its still a nice spot despite the crowds but there are far nicer campgrounds in the park for folks who want to head in for several days and many of them don't book up fully during the week and even on popular weekends there are frequently openings. Most folks only climb Katahdin once from KSC on a multiday trip so the rest of the time they are going elsewhere in the park.

Thus the contention that thru hikers are potentially denying the right for a hard working mainers to make a last minute trip to the park is pretty weak. Since the vast majority of hard working Mainers drive to the park, all they need to do is book one of the majority of the campgrounds of little interest to thru hikers. Even on the most busy weekend there are sites open in the park although they may be the NE corner of the park which has attractions of its own.


Theres a few folks that I think need to take BSP at their word.

1. they dont want an unlimited use model whereby #s are ever escalating. This doesnt bode well 5, 10 yrs out at growth rates. The rest of BSP is fixed by parking and camping capacity.

2. they dont want their staff spending ever growing time on the radio making arrangements for long distance AT hikers that are too ignorant or entitled to make prior arrangements for themselves. This includes a number of sobo as well. This includes shuttles and pickups in the park, as well as BSP campgrounds .

In late sept, KSC reservations arent that hard to come by. Other times of year, July, Aug they are . Displacing a bunch of NOBO to hit BSP during times when KSC is booked is a problem when the birches runs out. Also a problems for SOBO all the time,

LoneStranger
02-08-2017, 09:18
I have made multiple trips every year for some time now. Usually I make my reservations as soon as the dates are available four months ahead of time to be sure to get the spots we want. Other times we'll just decide at the last minute and let availability dictate our plans. None of my trips have ever included an overnight stay in any part of the park a NOBO thru hiker might want to use. I'm just not seeing a problem with thrus booking a site in advance or soaking up availability.

The real issue is where do they go when there is no room at the inn? I'm guessing there will be a lot of tickets written for illegal camping this season if that happens often and then people will start complaining about The Man keeping them down for that.

rickb
02-08-2017, 09:26
Thus the contention that thru hikers are potentially denying the right for a hard working mainers to make a last minute trip to the park is pretty weak. Since the vast majority of hard working Mainers drive to the park, all they need to do is book one of the majority of the campgrounds of little interest to thru hikers. Even on the most busy weekend there are sites open in the park although they may be the NE corner of the park which has attractions of its own.

OK, I think I get what you are saying.

Is it that if a thru hikers start scooping up leans to at KSCG through the normal reservation process, that will not impact the plans of others looking to Climb Katahdin?

That makes sense if other campgrounds are available-- plus, thru hikers camping in KSCG are unlikely to have cars, so they won't be taking a parking spot.

With that in mind, perhaps there really is no down-side to Thru Hikers making reservations at KSCG from Monson or Gorham or even farther south.

I was thinking that if they did that it would screw everything up for a more tradional park user, and the subsequent fix (which would surely come) would make matters worse.

Good to hear that will be a non-issue.

rickb
02-08-2017, 09:46
One question on logistics.

Would a Thru Hiker with a reservation at KSCG (or even Abol) be guaranteed access to the Park via the Trail at Abol Bridge after the NOBO quota has been met?

Starchild
02-08-2017, 10:22
...

The real issue is where do they go when there is no room at the inn? I'm guessing there will be a lot of tickets written for illegal camping this season if that happens often and then people will start complaining about The Man keeping them down for that.

Would they be denied day hiking and staying in Millinocket at night, hitching or shuttling in and out?

peakbagger
02-08-2017, 11:30
One question on logistics.

Would a Thru Hiker with a reservation at KSCG (or even Abol) be guaranteed access to the Park via the Trail at Abol Bridge after the NOBO quota has been met?

Good question, I expect that the park is going to have a plan in place if and when the permit limit occurs. I think folks believe that the park makes this stuff up as the go along, they do give the individual rangers discretion and expect that gets the rangers in trouble when they go out of their way to help thruhikers and interferes with another duty they should have been doing. Common sense is that the new policy is for thru hikers who just show up and want to be accommodated. They have been given plenty of opportunities to understand the risks they are taking with respect to park entry without reservations they just have elected to roll the dice. I would expect that a thru hiker with valid reservation would be treated the same as someone driving into the park gate but expect some folks who want to make the staff into devils will assume that common sense wont rule. My experience over 30 plus years at the park is to the contrary, the staff do what they can to help everyone unless the folks have an attitude and want a bad interaction with the staff.

The "no room at the Inn" is probably a fundamental issue that doesn't have a good cure. I expect if its nice stretch of sunny late august to mid September weather, folks go in the park stay the night,, hike tot he summit and catch the shuttle out that evening. Lets assume that the Birches is full and several thru hiker groups called ahead and booked a shared campsite that will hold 4. For ease of math lets assume 12 more thruhikers in KSC. As they bed down for the night the dark clouds move in and a stalled front forms over the park. That means 2 to 5 days of crappy weather on the summit at a minimum with some days dangerous. So what is a thruhiker to do if they cant climb to the summit?. Odds are they want to stay an extra night. That means 24 folks need a spot to stay without a reservation as 24 more thru hikers are behind them. Now extend that for a couple of days and there quickly can be 72 thruhikers or more looking for a spare spot to stay. Odds are someone knows someone with a car and the logical way to spend the down time is to head into town and buy beer and food as most only had one day worth of food to finish their hike. BSP is carry in/carry out, do you expect that folks who have partied for a couple of days are going to carry out their debris? highly unlikely. There is no cell service so at least a portion of these folks are going to be desperate to reach civilization so they can reschedule their plans to go home That means the BSP staff has to deal with all these issues to the diminution of their other tasks. I see folks advocating another Birches but given the potential numbers I expect there will need to be several other Birches just to handle the foul weather days. BSP has pretty well drawn the line a few years ago and told the ATC and NPS that that's not their mission. The AT Lodge may enjoy the extra business and will charge for it but even they have limits on how many folks they can drive into the park to day hike the summit. I must admit that on a couple of trips up there I have been skunked by bad weather. I make the best of it and usually head home early. I don't expect that the park is going to try to extend my stay until the weather clears.

By the way there are three adjacent group campsites at Fosters Field which hold a total of 49 (12, 12 and 25) campers. Its 2 miles down the road from KSC but is remote from KSC and any other adjacent campgrounds. I don't think the park would outright hand the three sites off to the ATC but expect that they may be amenable to ATC staffing the large site and letting them deal with the issues. The problem is that the groups that normally reserve this spot are going to rightfully complain that the thruhikers are being given special preference. Many of these groups are youth groups and their expectations of proper decorum are probably not going to line up with thru hikers and they are backed up by Park rules. Practically its also a money loser. 25 folks and lets say $2 a head for management is $50 a day to pay for an employee to work a potentially 16 hour day? Its would be an overflow site so that means many times it would be less than full further reducing revenue. They would need a vehicle and most likely a Satellite phone and most likely they would need someone to relieve them on occasion. I expect this has been discussed during the meetings between MATC, ATC and BSP but I expect everyone realizes its not a viable option.

Bansko
03-13-2017, 20:24
I foresee a fair amount more stealth camping

No need to camp at Baxter, stealth or otherwise. You can start early at Abol Bridge, hike into Baxter, summit and descend Katahdin, and hitch a ride into Millinocket all in the same day. At least that's what I did, and I wasn't rushing.

Krippledprophet
03-23-2017, 07:20
going over the mountain bypasses the permit system for soho as you get the permit after you climb. my sobo is beginning at roaring brook you get a permit after hiking by stopping in at ksc ranger station.

these were instructions given by baxter. it bypasses permit issues officially as it is a traditional use of two campsites. logistically more difficult as you carry a full pack up helon or cathedral then camp at ksc then hike out of baxter.

my itinerary is

june 30 shuttle to roaring brook and camp
july 1 day break hike up helon taylor cross knifes edge to baxter peak (have option to stay a second night for weather)
july 1 descend hunt trail.
july 1 camp ksc
july 2 camp ksc
july 3 hike out of baxter


the flaw with this plan is weather as dudley is closed so there is no trail that is really suitable for ascent in bad weather without experience as cathedral and knifes edge are both rather foolish with bad wind or rain. I have done both in horrid weather and don't recommend them. there is no alternate path to the summit once you ascend helon and if you can't do the chimney or are squeamish about heights the only option is to turn around and lugging a full pack on that stretch is not ideal for most.

egilbe
03-23-2017, 07:39
going over the mountain bypasses the permit system for soho as you get the permit after you climb. my sobo is beginning at roaring brook you get a permit after hiking by stopping in at ksc ranger station.

these were instructions given by baxter. it bypasses permit issues officially as it is a traditional use of two campsites. logistically more difficult as you carry a full pack up helon or cathedral then camp at ksc then hike out of baxter.

my itinerary is

june 30 shuttle to roaring brook and camp
july 1 day break hike up helon taylor cross knifes edge to baxter peak (have option to stay a second night for weather)
july 1 descend hunt trail.
july 1 camp ksc
july 2 camp ksc
july 3 hike out of baxter


the flaw with this plan is weather as dudley is closed so there is no trail that is really suitable for ascent in bad weather without experience as cathedral and knifes edge are both rather foolish with bad wind or rain. I have done both in horrid weather and don't recommend them. there is no alternate path to the summit once you ascend helon and if you can't do the chimney or are squeamish about heights the only option is to turn around and lugging a full pack on that stretch is not ideal for most.

May be easier to start at Chimney pond, hike up Hamlin Ridge, bag Baxter peak and then descend Hunt.

Krippledprophet
03-23-2017, 07:51
May be easier to start at Chimney pond, hike up Hamlin Ridge, bag Baxter peak and then descend Hunt.



hamlin is a nice hike generally quiet too. its the distant third option for me if weather just isn't cooperating.

the good thing about actually being a mainer is how accommodating the park is for in state users. baxter gets a bad rep from people for all the rules and enforcement but whats there is worth protecting.


I considered going a couple days earlier to tag the traveler loop as its one of the nicest hikes in the state. I have never actually seen another hiker on it when I do it. generally 1-2 times a year

rafe
03-23-2017, 08:36
No need to camp at Baxter, stealth or otherwise. You can start early at Abol Bridge, hike into Baxter, summit and descend Katahdin, and hitch a ride into Millinocket all in the same day. At least that's what I did, and I wasn't rushing.

I applaud you on your fitness, ambition, preparation, etc. Still, that's a 30.2 mile hike with 8,000 of vertical change.

Most finishing thru hikers, I imagine, would not want to rush through that last day.

Baxter is a special kind of place. It's worth making nice with the officials. They really do mean well and for the most part they've bent over backwards to accommodate AT hikers.

peakbagger
03-23-2017, 10:10
hamlin is a nice hike generally quiet too. its the distant third option for me if weather just isn't cooperating.

the good thing about actually being a mainer is how accommodating the park is for in state users. baxter gets a bad rep from people for all the rules and enforcement but whats there is worth protecting.


I considered going a couple days earlier to tag the traveler loop as its one of the nicest hikes in the state. I have never actually seen another hiker on it when I do it. generally 1-2 times a year

The Saddle trail is probably the easiest way up from the east side. Its the least exposed below where it pops out onto the Table land although the last 4000 feet of this hike via the combined Hamlin Ridge/Saddle trail is very exposed to weather (like all the trails on the Tableland). I do admit that most folks miss out on quite a nice hike up Hamlin Ridge trail as the view down North Basin and the view north up the Howe Peak ridge.

TJ aka Teej
03-23-2017, 18:52
going over the mountain bypasses the permit system for soho as you get the permit after you climb. my sobo is beginning at roaring brook you get a permit after hiking by stopping in at ksc ranger station.

these were instructions given by baxter.

If it "bypasses the permit system" why do "you get the permit after you climb"?

rickb
03-23-2017, 20:19
going over the mountain bypasses the permit system for soho as you get the permit after you climb. my sobo is beginning at roaring brook you get a permit after hiking by stopping in at ksc ranger station.

these were instructions given by baxter. it bypasses permit issues officially as it is a traditional use of two campsites. logistically more difficult as you carry a full pack up helon or cathedral then camp at ksc then hike out of baxter.

my itinerary is

june 30 shuttle to roaring brook and camp
july 1 day break hike up helon taylor cross knifes edge to baxter peak (have option to stay a second night for weather)
july 1 descend hunt trail.
july 1 camp ksc
july 2 camp ksc
july 3 hike out of baxter


the flaw with this plan is weather as dudley is closed so there is no trail that is really suitable for ascent in bad weather without experience as cathedral and knifes edge are both rather foolish with bad wind or rain. I have done both in horrid weather and don't recommend them. there is no alternate path to the summit once you ascend helon and if you can't do the chimney or are squeamish about heights the only option is to turn around and lugging a full pack on that stretch is not ideal for most.

Why not spend the first night at a lean-to or bunk house at Roaring Brook so you can get an early start over Katahdin?

FWIW, I had planned going your route but the Ranger talked me out of the Knife Edge, and I hiked up the Saddle Trail instead. Even so, it was good to get an early start, and a long day.

Krippledprophet
03-24-2017, 08:13
If it "bypasses the permit system" why do "you get the permit after you climb"?

it prevents actually getting hit with a cap as the permit is gotten at the end of your climb basically as you are already leaving.

the reason you get the permit after is to assist baxter in tracking numbers of thru and section hikers. they asked me to check in with a ranger at ksc upon finishing my climb
as they are closely monitoring long distance hikers to further refine the system.

Krippledprophet
03-24-2017, 08:18
Why not spend the first night at a lean-to or bunk house at Roaring Brook so you can get an early start over Katahdin?

FWIW, I had planned going your route but the Ranger talked me out of the Knife Edge, and I hiked up the Saddle Trail instead. Even so, it was good to get an early start, and a long day.




the route i have laid out is daunting in bad weather. its a matter of seeing whether or not pamola will turn a blind eye to my trespass.

peakbagger
03-24-2017, 09:52
I have been on this route with a backpack on a day where the winds came up more than expected. Luckily I was going down so I got over the knife edge before it got gnarly. Even then the Helon Taylor trail has about the longest above treeline exposure of any of the katahdin trails without a lot of cover. We got pushed around quite a bit. Both Helon Taylor and Hamlin Ridge run down to 3100 exposed but the lower section of Hamlin ridge has a tad bit of cover up to about 3400, from there is more of sharp ridge compared to Helon Taylor. If in doubt the Saddle is the safest choice but still exposed from Saddle spring up t the summit.

Krippledprophet
03-24-2017, 11:20
It's likely my farewell to the mountain and Maine. I've climbed it generally 3-4 times a year for over 20 years and leading winter expeditions at least annually for the last decade It's the mountain that got me interested in winter mountaineering.

I grew up in the area. I am almost done with the grid in nh

cbxx
03-24-2017, 12:49
I applaud you on your fitness, ambition, preparation, etc. Still, that's a 30.2 mile hike with 8,000 of vertical change.

Most finishing thru hikers, I imagine, would not want to rush through that last day.

Baxter is a special kind of place. It's worth making nice with the officials. They really do mean well and for the most part they've bent over backwards to accommodate AT hikers.

How do you figure? Abol Bridge to summit 15.1 with about 4,700' vertical, back down to KSC is 5.2 all downhill = 20.3 mi, with 4,700 vertical. May not be your cup of tea, but infinitely
doable.

rickb
03-24-2017, 15:56
the route i have laid out is daunting in bad weather. its a matter of seeing whether or not pamola will turn a blind eye to my trespass.

I read your itinerary too quickly-- I now see you at planning to spend the night at Roaring Brook. That only makes sense, of course.

But why 2 nights at KSG? Actually I think I may know.

As one who carried 10+ days of food over Katahdin -- on a far easier route-- I can attest to the fact that most would be beat to hell by the walk with a full pack. Coming down from Katahdin was the first and last time I really believed going down hill is harder.

That said I was young and pliable and survived.

You sound more seasoned, which is a good thing. At the same time, I am thinking that carrying a relatively heavy pack over Katahdin on the first day of a long hike is challenging fate. Especially if you are older. It's not like you have the option to call your day short if bio-mechanics get the best of you.

Which my long winded way of saying you might want to find a way to have your pack (or at least most of its contents) shuttled to KSCG.

Sort of a risk vs. reward kind of decision, IMHO.

rickb
03-24-2017, 15:59
Forget that last post.

I read you last post and see you have it dialed in.

Have a great hike!

rafe
03-24-2017, 16:02
How do you figure? Abol Bridge to summit 15.1 with about 4,700' vertical, back down to KSC is 5.2 all downhill = 20.3 mi, with 4,700 vertical. May not be your cup of tea, but infinitely
doable.

I was assuming round trip from Abol Bridge to summit and back, roughly 4000' vertical each way. That's 30.2 miles.

Krippledprophet
03-24-2017, 23:29
I read your itinerary too quickly-- I now see you at planning to spend the night at Roaring Brook. That only makes sense, of course.

But why 2 nights at KSG? Actually I think I may know.

As one who carried 10+ days of food over Katahdin -- on a far easier route-- I can attest to the fact that most would be beat to hell by the walk with a full pack. Coming down from Katahdin was the first and last time I really believed going down hill is harder.

That said I was young and pliable and survived.

You sound more seasoned, which is a good thing. At the same time, I am thinking that carrying a relatively heavy pack over Katahdin on the first day of a long hike is challenging fate. Especially if you are older. It's not like you have the option to call your day short if bio-mechanics get the best of you.

Which my long winded way of saying you might want to find a way to have your pack (or at least most of its contents) shuttled to KSCG.

Sort of a risk vs. reward kind of decision, IMHO.



the beauty of 2 days at ksc is a little rest and maybe a little bit of baxter fun walk to blueberry ledges. some swimming cook up some good chow before striking out.