“I suppose you might see more traffic on a weekend day in the summer, but parking is limited at most of the trailheads and you can’t park along the road at some of the trailheads. I haven’t noticed an increase in the number of hikers on the trails when I’m out there wandering around.”
I guess you haven’t spent much time on the San Bernardino Peak trail since the permit system went away. Having been up and down that trail a dozen or so times a year every year for a decade or more, i can tell you that the parking lot size has not limited the crowds. Cars line the dirt road for a half mile on both sides on busy summer days. Before the Lake Fire, you’d see maybe ten or 15 cars in that lot on a beautiful summer saturday. Since then, fire-related trail closures and the growing popularity of commercialized social media hiking challenges (San Bernardino peak is one of the peaks in the popular “6-pack of peaks” challenge where you pay to participate and get badges and t-shirts, i guess) has caused usage of that trail to increase. With the canceling of the permit system, traffic on that trail has absolutely exploded.
Are quotas the answer? I don’t know. The old quota system, which limited usage by number of permits, not users, didn’t make any sense. 1 permit could be a single hiker, or it could theoretically be a group of 12 people with 12 horses and 12 dogs. I’ve never understood the philosophy behind that.
I didn’t mean to start a “for or against” permits/quotas discussion. That dead horse gets beaten plenty, and this is a forum for information about trail conditions. If the permit system is coming back, that is (tangentially) trail condition information. I just wanted to hear from someone connected to the SBNF who can validate or clarify what i was told by a volunteer this past weekend. Would be nice to know a little about what the SBNF is planning to do in advance, rather than have a new order come out of nowhere, or to discover that they’ve randomly let a 50+ year old system of wilderness management expire without notice or reason.