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Author Topic: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes  (Read 21587 times)
blackdog102395
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1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« on: 01/20/14, 07:59 PM »

Pan Face was a semi frozen snowshoe track minefield.
Muir was sunny and firm.
The Nisqually Chutes were spectacular.
The Gong Show at Paradise was not.

You've read this trip report a million times so no reason to dwell on details.  Rather, lets talk about the insanity that is the 5PM gate closing time.  When I left Paradise at 4:15, the parking lot was a third to half full and people were still unloading sleds.  There is no way everyone was through the gate by 5PM.  Obviously the holiday presents a special case and there needs to be flexibility, but for me, the 5PM closure is wholly unreasonable any day of the week, holiday or not.  As the days get longer, it will become more problematic.  Any ideas as to how affect change?
« Last Edit: 01/20/14, 09:15 PM by blackdog102395 » Logged
blackdog102395
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #1 on: 01/20/14, 09:01 PM »

I like this idea.  Here's another: Why not make the gate closing 1 hour after sunset/dark?  This solves multiple problems.
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vogtski
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #2 on: 01/21/14, 06:26 AM »

...lets talk about the insanity that is the 5PM gate closing time. 
...for me, the 5PM closure is wholly unreasonable any day of the week, holiday or not.  As the days get longer, it will become more problematic.  Any ideas as to how affect change?

NPS culture is that they are in possession of holy truth and their purpose is to educate (and control) the ignorant masses.  An agency so arrogant that it thinks it's finances should remain secret will not respond meaningfully to public input without considerable political pressure.  It may take years to deconstruct NPS management's myth of poverty and competence among the general outdoor recreation population. 

Judging by the TRs from Whitman Glacier and the Turtle, if one is going to be late, might as well be real late.    Wink

Just remember, the sunset police are keeping a list of late-gaters, and have threatened further access restrictions at their displeasure...
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TAndrewSki
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #3 on: 01/21/14, 09:33 AM »

 "....lets talk about the insanity that is the 5PM gate closing time. "


I was up there a few years ago when I tried coming back after the gate was closed. I talked to the people at the Paradise Inn, and they came out and unlocked it for me. Not sure if that is normal operating procedure though.
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Andrew Carey
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #4 on: 01/21/14, 10:20 AM »

I like this idea.  Here's another: Why not make the gate closing 1 hour after sunset/dark?  This solves multiple problems.

The park does not want to have two shifts of LEOs on duty in one day--that means 9-5 open hours.  Of course, this weekend was a 3-day no-fee weekend, so they obviously could afford multiple shifts of LEOs because even tho they were not generating revenue they were building the head count.  One sunny weekend with snowplay generates more visitor days than all the weekdays of backountry skiing.  And as the park showed when they cut out lift-served skiing at Paradise, their mission is not concentrated snow play but cognitive dissonance and confusion about the origins of MRNP.
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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
CascadeClimber
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #5 on: 01/21/14, 10:37 AM »

I have tried and failed for years now to effect some external influence on the spending choices made by park management to absolutely zero effect.

As near as I can tell there is zero accountability of MORA management to anyone or anything; they do as they please, nod their collective head and public input, and continue doing what they want.

The current attitude seems to be that any reduction or even threat of reduction in their budget results in immediate additional access restrictions. Less plowing, less hours, earlier closing and later opening of alternate access (White River and Mowich), etc. Hell, they've closed the entire park in each of the last two years. This year without so much as any public meetings after promising to do so last year.

Sadly, when I had the opportunity to discuss my frustrations and even fear (we had one ranger die and another extremely close call, after all) about the situation with a former chief of staff of our congressional delegation, and asked how I could possible effect change, the response I got was, "Don't waste your time or energy. Just go enjoy the park."
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CascadeSkier
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #6 on: 01/21/14, 11:54 AM »

The park does not want to have two shifts of LEOs on duty in one day--that means 9-5 open hours. 

This seems to be quite clear. Given the forest of alder brush that is required to navigate the MRNP administrative system, it also seems quite clear that it would be futile to suggest that having an employee or two work shifts of four 10 hour days each week would go along way to reducing the impact of gate open/close hours.
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vogtski
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #7 on: 01/21/14, 03:50 PM »

The plow drivers and much of the Maintenance Division have worked ten-hour days for decades.  It wouldn't surprise me if many of the LE rangers currently do too.  Are we supposed to believe they all clock out at five?  Who's making that occasional seven AM tweet?  Who's on call for evening emergencies at Longmire Inn? 

They could have two staggered shifts from 6 am to 8 pm with six hours of overlap.  In the past, Carbon River and Ohana rangers routinely supplemented the weekend force.  If those guys and gals are not already working ten-hour days, then they're spending half their shift driving to the endless meetings at Hindquarters.
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savegondor
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #8 on: 01/21/14, 03:55 PM »

has any ever gotten truly stuck above the gate?  I'm going to guess that the lawsuit from freezing to death behind a locked gate would be worse than the one MRNP would get from letting people decide their own fate and keep the gate open.  Public land should always be "use at your own risk" kind of land.  

of course...seems to me a parking garage style gate would be the solution with unidirectional pavement teeth to keep people out but not in.  
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Pete A
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #9 on: 01/21/14, 04:29 PM »

The person working the front desk at the Longmire Inn has the gate code, so I don't think its possible for anyone to get locked-in on the uphill side.
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blackdog102395
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #10 on: 01/21/14, 04:51 PM »

Maybe I'm not understanding correctly, but the 5pm gate closure for downhill traffic is a new policy implemented this year.  In the past, if you left Paradise late and the gate was closed, Longmire personnel would let you out.  Previously, there was only a stipulation on how late you were able to travel uphill but no such stipulation on downhill traffic.  My understanding is that all day trippers must be back through the gate by 5PM or else.  I'm not sure what "else" is, but there was a sign at the park gate and one just below the Paradise lost posting the 5PM closure time.  On the flip side, I believe the new policy also means the gate can never open prior to 9AM.  So, what we have is travel above Longmire open from 9am to 5pm.  All you get is eight hours, even in good weather and extended daylight.

So, I don't think this is a matter of not being let out and stuck behind the gate.  Of course they are sending you on your way, but official policy is that you need to be to Longmire by 5PM.  If you're not, then you have broken the rules.  I'll be interested to see administration's next steps if people do not observe the 5PM closure on a consistent basis.  This is the crux of my consternation.
« Last Edit: 01/21/14, 04:56 PM by blackdog102395 » Logged
kamtron
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #11 on: 01/23/14, 10:20 AM »

We were late last Saturday (by 30 min), and the rangers said they may start giving fines to repeat offenders.
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andybrnr
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #12 on: 01/23/14, 12:07 PM »

This sort of ridiculous access policy is why I cannot favor expansion of North Cascades National Park (or really any others for that matter). This mindless bureaucracy is nuts. Heaven forbid people decide for themselves when to come back down... They're content to let you camp out overnight, but exit after twilight and we fine you? How many people are now going to risk injury trying a speed descent to get back through the gate so they don't get put on "the list"? Madness.
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savegondor
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #13 on: 01/23/14, 01:45 PM »

Clearly it's going to take an act of Congress.  NPS probably just needs to go away.  Let the states manage the parks like the states manage Medicaid.  The Feds can give incentives to states that manage well and shut down the parks in those that don't.  Use it well or lose it (like Medicaid).  Or hand it over to the Forest Service...I've had much better costumer services/PR experiences with those folks.  And for God's sake take away the guns from the Federal workers.  Again, contract with local law enforcement.  They know their crazy citizens better than the Feds do anyway...most of the time...and know how to deal with tourists that can't drive in the snow.  Or some re-education on how to be an employee of the NPS means to be a servant of the people. 

*it ain't snowing, so i'm here trolling*
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Randy
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #14 on: 01/23/14, 01:48 PM »

One way to test the situation is to be a repeat offender and see if they follow though on their threat of ticketing.  If they actually do then contest the ticket and use it as means to challenge the current operating scheme.

Just wondering, when they open the gate for you after five -- do they ask to see ID and take a record your ID and the vehicle plate number?   If they aren't doing that...

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kamtron
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #15 on: 01/23/14, 04:52 PM »

I've heard the Longmire people do take down your name & plates. Plus, you'll see the rangers taking down license plate numbers at the end of the day.
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Andrew Carey
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #16 on: 01/23/14, 05:00 PM »

... Let the states manage the parks like the states manage Medicaid.  ...

LMAO!!!!   Washington has decided its parks have to be operated off user fees only; they have closed some and threaten to close others.  Our WA Parks are a mess!
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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
Andrew Carey
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #17 on: 01/23/14, 05:10 PM »

The plow drivers and much of the Maintenance Division have worked ten-hour days for decades.  It wouldn't surprise me if many of the LE rangers currently do too.  ...

Could have, would have, should have.  The voice of god (Supt. King) said they could keep open 7 days/week with a 9-5 schedule.  What counts as LEO hours?  DO YOU KNOW?   Travel from Eatonvile/ Packwood (I've seen the cars); Tahoma Woods?  What about vehicle preparation, filling out time sheets, etc. etc. 

As a past fed, with lots of work in "the field" I could assign my employees "1st 40 hours" (work as needed until 40 hours met, then overtime), "intermittent" work as needed, "4-10s" work 4 days for 10 hours, then 3 off (or overtime, Sunday differential for those scheduled for Sunday, with double time if working overtime).  But I don't know the scheduling flexibility for Wage Grade or LEOs do you?

Obviously, fixed hour don't work when weather is so variable and visitation varies so much within and between weeks.
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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
Andrew Carey
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #18 on: 01/23/14, 05:13 PM »

We were late last Saturday (by 30 min), and the rangers said they may start giving fines to repeat offenders.

Randy said
Quote
One way to test the situation is to be a repeat offender and see if they follow though on their threat of ticketing.  If they actually do then contest the ticket and use it as means to challenge the current operating scheme.

Or the Park just resorts to their preferred alternative as voiced by Supt King: closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays; he's made that abundantly clear, several times.

If they were serious about 9-5, they would put "Denver boots" on cars in the Paradise parking lots after 4:45 p.m. or have Eatonville towing on hand.  But they may  very well choose to revert to Tuesday-Wednesday--bad weather--avalanche danger--wardrobe malfunction closures.

So staying later to enjoy your day may be taken as an excuse to close 2-4 days/week.
« Last Edit: 01/23/14, 05:16 PM by Andrew Carey » Logged

... 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
Andrew Carey
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #19 on: 01/23/14, 05:25 PM »

Clearly it's going to take an act of Congress.  NPS probably just needs to go away.  ...

No, it is going to take a Congress that has not been bought and sold by corporations and the military-intelligence-industrial-civilian conractor complex and one that is interested in the welfare of the people, the environment, and the forests and parks.

We spend enought money on buying new cargo planes to immediately mothball in the desert SW OR on tanks to bury in Egypt OR on contracting with for-profit coporations run by ex-feds now making millions under the tutelage of the Carlisle Group ( overseen by Daddy Bush) to do a poor job of intelligence gather OR by contracting with for-profit corps to develop a disaster of Healthcare.gov OR in other words giving tax dollars to the wealthy while giving them tax breaks and starving federal agencies and holding 1400 hearings on Benghazi but not one on NPS management ... so much more money than would be necessary to have good effective management of parks and forests and to eliminate maintenance backlogs.

We need a Congress ensuring government of the people, by the people, for the people and we don't have one.
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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
bgombasy
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #20 on: 01/23/14, 11:57 PM »

well now that that has all been said....


* 1386011306966.jpg (88.89 KB, 750x600 - viewed 1478 times.)
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PhilH
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #21 on: 01/24/14, 10:54 AM »

This sort of ridiculous access policy is why I cannot favor expansion of North Cascades National Park (or really any others for that matter).

Amen!
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DOD
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #22 on: 01/24/14, 01:55 PM »

"The difference between communists and facists is that at least facists take the time to lie to you"
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vogtski
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #23 on: 01/25/14, 07:40 AM »

The person working the front desk at the Longmire Inn has the gate code, so I don't think its possible for anyone to get locked-in on the uphill side.

I think the Longmire Inn desk clerk goes off-duty at 11 pm.  After that, one might need to call 911 or start knocking on doors in the Longmire residental area.   Embarrassed
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snoholic
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Re: 1-20-14-Muir to Paradise via the Nisqually Chutes
« Reply #24 on: 01/25/14, 07:51 AM »

What is the current process for overnight parking? Are you supposed to obtain some sort of pass? Is anybody up there doing rounds after 5?
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