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Author Topic: May 11, 2013, St. Helens  (Read 13085 times)
andyski
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Posts: 455


Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #25 on: 05/16/13, 09:46 AM »

Yeah, life would be a lot better if the 600+ people on Mt St Helens all bought sleds.   Wink 
I was thinking more of the three people on this thread and the 1.3 million Rainier threads Smiley.
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CascadeClimber
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Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #26 on: 05/16/13, 10:08 AM »

It's funny how those most allergic to structure and regulation seem to gravitate to exactly the "wild" places that have the most of both (Paradise, MSH, the Enchantments). Thickness in the crowds alone has removed any sense of wilderness in such places.

So you think my position would be somehow more valid if I was talking about places where I never went? I don't think you would, and even if you did, there would someone else who would stand up and say I don't have any business spewing my opinion on places that I don't frequent.

For what it's worth, I've spent a total of one night in the Enchantments, in large part due to my aversion to the red tape. And I rarely visit Paradise or that side of Rainier in the busy summer months. Those who know me would be surprised that I enjoyed a day on St. Helens with 683 other people; I hadn't been on that mountain outside of winter/early spring in a decade or more.

Anyway, this is a good and important discussion.
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Not all who wander are lost.
wolfs
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Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #27 on: 05/16/13, 12:09 PM »

John / pinnatifid thank you for bringing some facts to the discussion. The "where does the money go" question is really essential to getting to an understanding one way or another. If no facts are provided people have had too much of government doing things the wrong way and are sure to think the worst. We've certainly seen that in the Paradise-on-Tuesday threads and the park has provided nothing to curb it. That taint extends to any nonprofits under government wing.

Here's my attempt at a rude q&a for what you're up against here:

  • Why do snowmos with their higher impact on environment ride for free?
  • Why do I have to pay again? I already bought a trail pass or sno park. I am getting no extra services at all.
  • Why is the climbing permit fee aligned in any way whatsoever with efforts like keeping the Coldwater facility open? That structure is a mistake, a boondoggle of national repute, and no business plan can possibly work there.
  • No raincheck/rebook procedure at all (excepting blanket mountain closure)? Any permit system that regulates a mountain environment with no rain check and need to register months in advance is INHERENTLY promoting unsafe behavior - you are $-incentivizing people to climb in weather that shouldn't be climbed into because they might lose money and their one chance of the year.
  • Why this obsession about the numbers for impact when as stated there's this massive rush in the pre 5/15 window (and by snomos in winter?)
  • What trail maintenance is required or even sensible or possible on a perpetually self-degrading pumice pile?
  • Your website says that 5$ supports a volunteer program? Why can't I 'volunteer' to pay 5$ to this only if I feel it's a worthwhile use of 5$?
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andyski
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Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #28 on: 05/16/13, 04:21 PM »

So you think my position would be somehow more valid if I was talking about places where I never went? I don't think you would, and even if you did, there would someone else who would stand up and say I don't have any business spewing my opinion on places that I don't frequent.
Certainly anyone's credibility is improved when they practice what they preach (i.e.: I prefer true wilderness, and therefore don't go to Paradise in the summer. I don't believe in additional fees, so I don't go to MSH). It sounds like you mostly ( Cheesy) do that.
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Koda
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Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #29 on: 05/16/13, 09:19 PM »


The funds MSHI collects from the climbing permit program are used to support our volunteer programs, especially the Mountain Stewards....

I thought volunteers worked for free? How much does it cost to organize the volunteers?
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #30 on: 05/16/13, 09:45 PM »

On the Mt St Helens Institute web page, it says:

Quote
A permit is required to climb above 4,800 feet on Mount St. Helens year-round. Begun in 1987, the permit system helps protect the volcano and its organisms from harm, reduces crowding, and helps inform climbers regarding hazards, Leave No Trace principles, and safety.

As I mentioned before, I don't think the permit system does any of these things effectively.

But I'd like to focus on the claim that it reduces crowding.

This thread demonstrates the absurdity of that claim. The permit system hugely distorts visitation on the mountain because of the 100-person daily limit between May 15 and October 31.

There's a reason 684 people were on the mountain last Saturday. Because of the permit system!

I'm willing to bet that if you eliminated the high-season limits, you'd never see 600+ people on the mountain. Visitors would spread themselves out over time. There would be no Chilkoot Pass syndrome in early May, like you see today.

I think the permit system has made the overcrowding problem on Mt St Helens much worse.
« Last Edit: 05/16/13, 10:06 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
KLW
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Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #31 on: 05/17/13, 08:13 PM »

Bump! Cuz more people need to read this thread!
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #32 on: 05/18/13, 07:45 AM »

Here are a few more facts about climbing permits on southern Cascade volcanos.

Website sources:

Mt St Helens:
http://mshinstitute.org/index.php/climbing/obtain_a_permit

Mt Adams:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/giffordpinchot/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5144542

Mt Hood:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mthood/recreation/climbing/?cid=fsbdev3_053506

Details:

Mt St Helens:

  • From November 1 through March 31 permits are free and must be obtained in person from the Lone Fir Resort during business hours.
  • From April 1 through October 31 permits are $22 (no limits on numbers) and must be purchased through the mshinstitute.org website and picked up in person at Lone Fir Resort.
  • From May 15 through October 31 permits are $22 and limited to 100 per day (via mshinstitute.org and Lone Fir Resort).
  • Permit price is the same every day of the week.
  • Permit is required for travel above 4800ft.

Mt Adams:

  • No permit required from October 1 through May 31.
  • From June 1 through September 30, permits are $10 on weekdays, $15 on weekends.
  • Permits can be obtained at the self-issuing station at the Mt Adams Ranger Station.
  • Permit is required for travel above 7000ft.
  • No limits on the number of permits.

Mt Hood:

  • Permit required year-round to climb above Timberline.
  • Permits are free and self-issued, available 24/7 at Timberline Lodge.
  • No limits on the number of permits.

The Mt St Helens permit system is irritating to me because it seems arbitrary and overly burdensome.  Mt St Helens is the smallest and easiest to climb of the three volcanos here, yet it has by far the most expensive and onerous permit system.

As I said before, the permit system on Mt St Helens makes sense only as a way for the Forest Service and the Mt St Helens Institute to collect revenue "because they can."

The Mt St Helens permit system was instituted in 1987 when the mountain (closed since the 1980 eruption) was re-opened to the public.  My sense is that the permit system was an opportunistic response by the Forest Service which leveraged off the fact that the mountain had previously been closed completely.  Were it not for that closure, I don't think the Forest Service could have gotten away with instituting the permit system at that time.  Things have gotten progressively worse since then. 
« Last Edit: 05/19/13, 07:03 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Robie
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Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #33 on: 05/18/13, 08:47 AM »

Ive been opposed to the new permit system and MSHI since day one .
My number one gripe is
Between April 1st and May 15 is prime ski mountaineering time on MT St Helens. With The MSHI system Skiers and climbers are forced to use the online system buying a permit for a particular day. With no option to change that day if inclement weather or avalanche issues occur. What could go wrong with that ?  No quota is effect in that time period so why not make the permits open dated for April 1st -may 15 .  Under the old system permits were picked up at Jack's as one went in.

Fees I understand but frankly MSHI doesn't get it and hasn't seen my money in quite a while. Unfortunately neither have any of the businesses along the Woodland Cougar corridor.

And now we find out That there is a fledgeling MT Adams institute!
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Andrew Carey
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Re: May 11, 2013, St. Helens
« Reply #34 on: 05/18/13, 09:39 AM »

I too have longed disliked the climbing permit system on msh.  Why does it exist?  I posit some issues, because I'm bored this rainy a.m..

1. Congress has never fully funded outdoor recreation on Forest Service lands; in the past, much of OR was funded collaterally by timber harvests.

2. Congress has passed such a mishmash of laws governing federal agencies such that it is practically impossible for the FS to do management well.

3. Conservative members of Congress doubt there is significant demand for or benefits from OR to the public and as a result they imposed fee programs. 

4.  Along the same line, because they felt the government was wasteful, they imposed user-pay programs and reduced general management/overhead funds. I could provide many examples but this move cripples local management units.

5.  Congress has demanded transfer of duties and responsibilities to private, non-governmental (profit and non-profit) organizations, including institutes and concessionaires.

6.  Congress has limited the ability of federal agencies to raise funds/sell goods and services from outside of government, thus a plethora of NGO institutes.

7.  Many agencies, because of budgets, are forced to rely on volunteers and interns; while this provides a public benefit in terms of experience to the public it often is not an efficient way to get work done.  For example, I put myself thru college working trail in the wilderness (and fighting forest fires); now much of what I did is done by interns and volunteers.  I believe our paid efforts were more cost effective than volunteer/intern productivity (based on my participation in those programs).

8.  Neither the Executive nor Congress have put any real effort into ensuring federal managers are competent at management; many are simply promoted from technical positions, many are simply opportunist, and all must play political games and not rock the boat.

In my view, we have routinely elected legislators and executives who are adept at self-fulfilling prophecies about government waste, fraud, and abuse; this has not always been the case.  At one time (long ago) the FS was held up as a model of how to manage efficiently and effectively.

Only recently have the Inspector Generals began once again investigating and reporting on mismanagment, fraud, and criminal activity in the goverment; even an IG or too has been exposed as corrupt.

In addition, our legislators and federal agencies reflect the marked schizophrenia of the US public: hate of government interference, resentment when government doesn't solve problems, demands for goods and services (including ecological services) from public lands, and demand for reduced taxes.  Furthermore we all seem to favor a fair degree of fraud and corruption in all our institutions (government and non-government), given how much is routinely reported and how few big guys are prosecuted for it.

Have a good day.
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... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
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