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Fads come and go. I believe we’re nearing the zenith of the current trend toward outdoor activity. What’s cool today is passe tomorrow, and what of the meetup groups and crowds? Are they patently bad for the wilderness or are they contrary to your idea of what is best? The two may well be different, without either being right or wrong.
If it is the intention of the forest service to eventually reinstate the day hike permit system, I’m on board. I just hope that in implementing it, they revamp the old way of issuing permits. Not just the silly fax machine process, but the idea that a number of permits is meaningful, rather than a number of people, pets, and stock. As it was when it expired, a single permit could have one lone individual on it, or it might be a dozen people, each riding a horse with a dog in tow. That’s not a very good system for monitoring or managing wilderness impact.
Respectful enjoyment of the wilderness with minimal impact can be accomplished with or without permits. Solitude is and always will be available in the San Gorgonio wilderness. If you are having trouble finding it, you’re just not looking hard enough. So is camaraderie and organized social group endeavors. Not my cup of tea usually, for a day in the hills, but it’s easy to avoid, so it’s hard to complain.