2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Are you a seasoned hiker, or just starting out? Let us know your questions or experience with the backcountry permit process.

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zozeppelin
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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by zozeppelin »

Glad to hear Scott. I know it wasn't your 1st pick (or 2nd or 3rd) but at least it's something, worst case a fallback if nothing else more desirable is available for walk-in.

The denied permit where availability is showing is also annoying and should never happen. If they are going to block something for the year, just block it and open if/when availability can be confirmed.

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by sbosecker »

zozeppelin wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:42 pm
Glad to hear Scott. I know it wasn't your 1st pick (or 2nd or 3rd) but at least it's something, worst case a fallback if nothing else more desirable is available for walk-in.

The denied permit where availability is showing is also annoying and should never happen. If they are going to block something for the year, just block it and open if/when availability can be confirmed.
Zozeppelin,

Thanks!

I don't know what went into this situation but, in the end, it all worked out. I would be surprised if I can't come up a more attractive itinerary when I walk in in September ...but I've already been surprised by this year's difficulty in getting an Advance Reservation so... HA!

One thing... Ranger Dillon indicated that I would be permitted through the gate to access the Apgar Backcountry Office to convert my reservation into a permit. He indicated that I would be allowed to pass through either on the day before or the day that the itineary started. However, I didn't see anything on the "Your a Winner" advance reservation email that mentioned that right.

I don't think, if challanged at the west gate, that saying, "Ranger Dillon said I would be allowed to enter.", will cut it. Is there somewhere on the web site that this issue is addressed? ...or is it just common sense that if you have a Backcountry Reservation you need to be allowed to convert that to a premit and thus you will be allowed to enter?

Scott

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by zozeppelin »

Here is the official website: link.

Here is the most detailed verbiage I have found (bolded mine):
Entry Reservation Tickets are included with any overnight lodging and service reservations along the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor between the West Entrance and St. Mary Entrance. This includes visitors with overnight accommodations, including Village Inn, Lake McDonald Lodge, Rising Sun Motor Inn, Granite Park and Sperry Chalets, Fish Creek Campground, or in-park private lodging, and visitors with reservations for wilderness camping, boat rides, guided hikes, horseback rides, or bus tours along the Going-to-the-Sun Road between the West and St. Mary Entrances of the park. An Entry Reservation Ticket for the day is included in your service reservation. The included Entry Reservation Ticket applies only to the dates of your service reservation. Proof of a service reservation is required and will serve as your day-use entry reservation ticket.
Dates really aren't mentioned in the any of the other descriptions, just a 'service reservation'. Now how does this 'dates of service reservation' apply?
  • You are allowed to pickup your permit the day prior as part of the reservation -does this mean you can enter the day before your reservation technically starts? (your question)
    The 'advanced reservation confirmation letter' you received explicitly says "Permits can be picked up the day before your trip starts." But technically the dates of your service reservation has not.
  • Your reservation technically is for the campsite nights (and the routing). On both the confirmation and permit itself, the last date is not listed in the date column, only 'exit'. So do you have access on the exit day? (my question)
The other options would be to arrive prior to 6 AM when the rule isn't enforced, or go to any of the non-Apgar permit locations (if memory serves the gate is actually after St Mary's visitor center, such that you could go to the backcountry office there without a ticket.

I could easily see you not being allowed in the day prior if you get Barny Fife at the gate and they go by letter of the law. That said, I believe you were aiming for September, so I don't think it will be as busy. I'd recommend just snagging an advanced ticket 60 days in advance for a couple days in advance of your reservation - a lot of piece of mind for $2. That is why I plan on doing.

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by sbosecker »

zozeppelin wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:52 pm
Here is the official website: link.

Here is the most detailed verbiage I have found (bolded mine):
Entry Reservation Tickets are included with any overnight lodging and service reservations along the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor between the West Entrance and St. Mary Entrance. This includes visitors with overnight accommodations, including Village Inn, Lake McDonald Lodge, Rising Sun Motor Inn, Granite Park and Sperry Chalets, Fish Creek Campground, or in-park private lodging, and visitors with reservations for wilderness camping, boat rides, guided hikes, horseback rides, or bus tours along the Going-to-the-Sun Road between the West and St. Mary Entrances of the park. An Entry Reservation Ticket for the day is included in your service reservation. The included Entry Reservation Ticket applies only to the dates of your service reservation. Proof of a service reservation is required and will serve as your day-use entry reservation ticket.
Dates really aren't mentioned in the any of the other descriptions, just a 'service reservation'....
ZoZeppelin,

Thanks... this is exactly the information I had found as well. We both have the same concerns about the way it is written.

I did think there would be information defining this policy on my emailed Backcountry Reservation. How hard would it be to write something like:

"Bring this Advance Reservation with you to the park. It will serve as your Entry Reservation Ticket at (all the appropriate gates) on the day of, or the day before, the start of your itinerary."

Also, the way it is written on the website seems to indicate that there will be some sort of physically different object that acts as the Entry Reservation Ticket included with the other paperwork received by the guest. At least that's the way it reads to me ...up to the sentence that reads "Proof of a service reservation is required and will serve as your day-use entry reservation ticket."

Geezzz...

HA!

Best regards,

Scott

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by TnTammy »

[/quote]

Hey Tina,

What date were the permits for? Which one do you plan to use?

Paul
[/quote]

Hey Paul,
sent you a PM.
Tam & Mike

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by zozeppelin »

Hi Scott,
GNP got back to me -
You’ll just need your backcountry permit email confirmation if you’d like to pick it up a day early. You’ll be asked to flash it at the gate. As for the last day of the reservation, if your backcountry trip is from 7.14-7.19, you won’t need a Going-to-the-Sun road entry ticket for 7.19, but for 7.20 you will.
I fired back one final question on overnight parking locations. I forgot to ask to have their answers put on the FAQ page on the website.

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by sbosecker »

zozeppelin wrote:
Mon Jun 28, 2021 8:01 pm
Hi Scott,
GNP got back to me -
You’ll just need your backcountry permit email confirmation if you’d like to pick it up a day early. You’ll be asked to flash it at the gate. As for the last day of the reservation, if your backcountry trip is from 7.14-7.19, you won’t need a Going-to-the-Sun road entry ticket for 7.19, but for 7.20 you will.
I fired back one final question on overnight parking locations. I forgot to ask to have their answers put on the FAQ page on the website.
Thank you! Good to have that information.

Best regards,

Scott

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by zozeppelin »

They responded about my parking question (from Pete's comments about having to park at your permitted entry or exit trailhead):
You can park at Logan Pass if you get there early enough. Currently filling at around 7 am. Once the Highline Trail opens it may be earlier than that. The Law Enforcement Rangers may check your license plates for a backcountry permit if left more than 2 nights.
All of these email conversations are well and good until you aren't allowed in or have your car towed, so I did request they add these to the FAQ on the website for 'official' guidance.

To summarize:
  • Confirmed permit application holders can access Apgar via the GttSR checkpoint the day prior to their itinerary starting to pickup their permit
  • Ticketed entry is covered from the day prior to the hike start (to pickup permit) to the last day (exit)
  • Parking not restricted to trailhead locations (need to enter license plate when picking up permit)
  • Can pickup/validate shuttle tickets in advance of the 72 hour window when picking up permit

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by sbosecker »

zozeppelin wrote:
Mon Jun 28, 2021 8:01 pm
Hi Scott,
GNP got back to me -
You’ll just need your backcountry permit email confirmation if you’d like to pick it up a day early. You’ll be asked to flash it at the gate. As for the last day of the reservation, if your backcountry trip is from 7.14-7.19, you won’t need a Going-to-the-Sun road entry ticket for 7.19, but for 7.20 you will.
I fired back one final question on overnight parking locations. I forgot to ask to have their answers put on the FAQ page on the website.
zozeppelin,

...upon further review, I have a paranoid question. It's only because the quoted material from GNP allows for two ways to look at "the last day of the reservation".

A backpacking advance reservation - and i believe the actual permit - have the last date LISTED on the paperwork as the date one arrives at the last campsite. The next day one hikes out - that date isn't on the reservation or the permit.

...so if the if I start my 4-night itinerary on Sept 2, the campsites will be listed Sept 2, 3, 4 & 5 on the paperwork. Yet I will hike out on Sept 6th and it would be nice not to need a Going-to-the-Sun Road Entry Ticket on Sept 6th. Does the park consider my trip to be from the 2nd to the 5th or from the 2nd to the 6th? I would think the latter but since the 6th isn't listed on the paperwork I hate to assume anything.

If there weren't so many rules, we wouldn't need so many rulings. You've posted in your FAQ suggested wording the way I think it should work but that's not necessarily the way the quoted material reads.

Any clarification on that detail? HA!

Best regards,

Scott

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by zozeppelin »

Hi Scott,
I agree it isn't clear. I can confirm the last day will not be listed on your permit nor reservation, only 'EXIT'. The quote I provided above is word for word from GNP email, but not sure how much that means at the gate. They responded today saying they'd pass along the website FAQ update request for the website, we'll see where that goes.

All that said
  • You're in the middle of September if I recall, so I'll speculate that there won't be much demand at that point and they may not even be enforced.
  • It's really only a problem if you're wanting to double back, because presumably your permit ends on GttSR, so you're already 'in' if your car is there.
  • There should be plenty of availability for tickets 60 days in advance (again assuming mid September) such that $2 eliminates any potential issue

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by sbosecker »

zozeppelin wrote:
Thu Jul 01, 2021 7:41 pm
Hi Scott,
I agree it isn't clear. I can confirm the last day will not be listed on your permit nor reservation, only 'EXIT'. The quote I provided above is word for word from GNP email, but not sure how much that means at the gate. They responded today saying they'd pass along the website FAQ update request for the website, we'll see where that goes.

All that said
  • You're in the middle of September if I recall, so I'll speculate that there won't be much demand at that point and they may not even be enforced.
  • It's really only a problem if you're wanting to double back, because presumably your permit ends on GttSR, so you're already 'in' if your car is there.
  • There should be plenty of availability for tickets 60 days in advance (again assuming mid September) such that $2 eliminates any potential issue
zozeppelin,

Thanks. I'm mostly thinking of something like a Belly River - and beyond - itinerary that starts, and ends, at Chief Mountain. On the day of my exit I'd want to drive the GTTS road to get back to my hotel in Kalispell. That's the issue I'm thinking of.

Looks like the need for a "Hall Pass" for the GTTS road goes to September 6th - prefect. HA! That's my exit day.

Will I be allowed to get a advance corridor pass if I already have a backcountry reservation that overlaps dates I'd be requesting? I guess I'll find out tomorrow as that's when I can request one for Sept 1st.


Best regards,

Scott
Last edited by sbosecker on Fri Jul 02, 2021 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by sbosecker »

I made a mistake (effectively posted the same material twice) but I am unable to delete the second post.

However I can edit, erase & leave this explanation.

Scott

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by NDjason »

Scott,

I'll be doing an entry/exit from Chief Mountain too (Sept 4th - Sept 10th). I picked up a Ticketed Entry pass yesterday which will cover the time leading up to the trip - when we exit, the limitations should be removed. There are still many passes available for that last week - hoping that bodes well for some peace. Now if we can just get through the summer without any major fires!

On the topic of fires, we just returned from a week in Yellowstone. After a long evening of spotting wolves in the Lamar Valley, we happened to see the first wildfire of the year (lightning strike near Petrified Tree). We reported it to the park in Mammoth on our way back to Madison and were told we were the first ones to have reported it. Fortunately, it is now out (Elk Creek Fire) after an immediate suppression effort. But I saw yesterday that a new fire was started to lightning! I'm afraid it could be a long summer!

Jason
~ jason

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by zozeppelin »

Hi Scott,
I think you'll definitely need one as in/out of Chief Mountain wouldn't be a service reservation along GttSR that would exempt you from needing a ticket (if interpreted literally).

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Re: 2021 Backcountry Permit Applications: Date for submittal now March 17

Post by sbosecker »

zozeppelin wrote:
Fri Jul 02, 2021 12:48 pm
Hi Scott,
I think you'll definitely need one as in/out of Chief Mountain wouldn't be a service reservation along GttSR that would exempt you from needing a ticket (if interpreted literally).
zoseppelin,

Well...

I hadn't read it that closely and it does appear to read that way ...even though we've been told that one's advance backcountry reservation will allow one to access the Apgar Backcountry Office to acquire a permit that doesn't include a trailhead on the Going To The Sun Road.

Amazing - I am trying to think of a scenario where a person with a backcountry permit - that doesn't have a trailhead on the GTTS Road - would stop to park on the road on the day of an itinerary for any reason. (I am assuming that lack of parking is the main reason for these restrictions) I guess it's possible but I don't think that would be the norm. I'm usually making a B-Line from my lodging to the trailhead so maybe that's keeping me from seeing what the issue is. I don't get it.

I suspect most of the lodging available to visitors is on the west side of the park. If one has an backcountry itineary that starts at Many Glacier or Chief Mountain I suppose you'd better hit the west gate prior to 6 am anyway if you're going to get started on the trail before noon. HA!

Regardless, I did get a Hall Pass starting September 1st so I should be covered no matter what.

Thanks for pointing out that detail regarding what constitutes a "blessed service reservation".

Best regards,

Scott

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