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PCT Hiker Impact: The First 500 Miles

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PCT Hiker Impact: The First 500 Miles

Postby postholer » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:07 pm

Over the years an increased number of hikers have graced the PCT. We've all heard about the impact, some of it expressed hysterically. Even the permit process was changed in a draconian way to address this impact.

What is the evidence for this impact?

First, trail impact is just that, impact on the trail. If a business along the trail has too many customers, they are free to close their doors. The same for a private residence. Too many wayward hikers showing up at your door? Close the door.

While plenty of emotionally fueled, anecdotal evidence is sloshing around the internet, we can't find any 'hard and fast' evidence. The following is what we know for certain and without dispute.

+ The Angeles National Forest, section D, has no permit requirements for hiking or dispersed camping. In fact, they've removed wilderness permit requirements in recent years.

+ The San Bernardino National Forest, sections B and C, is the same. Permits are optional, they are not required for hiking or dispersed camping. They also have removed permit requirements for wilderness areas in recent years.

+ The Cleveland National Forest, section A, has no permit requirements for hiking. A permit is required for dispersed camping only along the 25 mile section between Hauser Creek and Mt Laguna. Using one or more of the 4 camp grounds negates the permit requirement. Yet once again, no permit is required.

The agency that creates and enforces policy, by virtue of the their own regulations, do not show any signs of impact at all. In fact, they have relaxed the regulations.

What is going on here?

At this point, we have no clue. We dare speculate that a chosen few with influence on the permit system have decided this is best for all us, with or without presenting evidence.

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