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Red Rock to begin reservations to better control crowds - Part 2

Original Post
John Hegyes · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2002 · Points: 5,621

This is the second thread discussing the new timed entry program that suddenly enacts a new reservation system upon Red Rock. The new system was announced two weeks ago with no warning or public commenting period. Reservations will be required to enter the loop road starting November 3 this year. This is apparently a permanent system that will be enforced in future years starting October 1 and lasting through May 31. 

I don’t know why the first thread was locked or who locked it. The first thread is located here:  Red Rock to begin reservations to better control crowds 

I’m compiling a list of reasons why the new reservation policy is wrong. Here are a couple more reasons to add to the list…

 By limiting the number of vehicles permitted to enter the loop road, there will be an increased natural tendency to carpool. Carpooling is normally seen as a positive for the environment and typically, it should be encouraged. However, in this case, in the middle of a pandemic, the BLM is becoming a possible super-spreader. The hiking groups that are currently active in Red Rock will be compelled to pack unrelated people into fewer vehicles in order to get people to the trailheads. By reducing the number of vehicles, BLM could actually aid in the spread of a contagious disease. For an overcrowding problem that occurs on a limited basis (weekends and holidays), the BLM is overreacting, and they could be contributing to a significant health problem. Visitors should be allowed to make decisions as to who they ride with so that we can get this pandemic under control.

 Also, the new reservation system is ripe for abuse. While the two dollar fee is abhorrent – it does not benefit Red Rock in any way, the fee goes to Booz Allen Hamilton, a major defense contractor – but the fee is actually so low that groups of people can make multiple reservations for a relatively small price. My friends and I could make 8 separate reservations on a single day, knowing full well that we’ll only be using a single reservation, leaving the remainder of time slots unused. Apparently commercial guiding permit holders need to apply for the same pool of reservations. I’m sure they’ll be purchasing way more than they will actually use. The end result is that reservations may be frequently be sold out, even when the parking areas are wide open.

 Some climbers I met at the Second Pull-Out today were saying it’s quite possible that the reservation system could be scammed automatically. Botnets could nab multiple reservations at nearly the same time on Recreation.gov. Due to the opaque nature of the system, we will never know home many reservations actually get used and how many are fake.

 There are numerous other issues with the new system; they are listed in earlier posts on the first thread. The core problem that the BLM is trying to address is a difficult one. I don’t see many alternative solutions, but I will throw one recommendation out here. The new policy is draconian and it will have the effect of treating locals very badly when they are locked out, especially when there is demonstrably plentiful space in the loop. The overcrowding happens a relatively few days each year. My suggestion is that the BLM apply the reservation policy selectively, on a limited amount of days – as in, weekends and holidays only. I also suggest a committee be established, constituted of relevant stakeholders – hikers, climbers, bikers, nature lovers, locals, business owners, land managers, and so on, who COLLABORATE on how many days per year to institute entry limits.

 I think it’s cool that SNCC is getting involved by holding a roundtable October 13. But this is actually a greater issue than just a climber issue. The new policy affects hikers and bikers, too. A lot of them will be against the new policy, too. Consequently, while I hope SNCC and Access Fund stand up and take action, I think it is quite possible that a new group may need to be formed so that all user groups can combine into a single resistance. I’d be curious to know if there are any other people out there that want to get organized so that we can start a petitioning process. Feel free to contact me through this site or speak up here.

NegativeK · · Nevada · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 40

I expect threads to have positive suggestions instead of overwhelming criticism. That wasn't happening in the original thread after seven pages, so I locked it.

The link to the SNCC announcement: mountainproject.com/forum/t…

John Hegyes · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2002 · Points: 5,621

Here is a link to an article about how the timed entry program is being received at Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Local family protests RMNP practices

As mentioned in the first discussion thread, the RMNP program is administered by the same outfit as Red Rock's new program: Recreation.gov. 

There are differences, however. In Colorado, the new program was initially advertised as a temporary response to COVID. Now that the off-season is approaching, the reservation system will come to an end soon. I have speculated that the program will be resurrected at RMNP next year, thus becoming a permanent fixture but only time will tell. Here at Red Rock, the program has been announced as a permanent system, to be operated for eight months every year.

At Rocky Mountain, a two hour entry window is permitted with a reservation. At Red Rock, a ridiculous one hour window must be observed.

At Rocky Mountain, reservations are required for entry from 6am - 5pm. At Red Rock, early entry will be permitted without reservation from 6am to 8am. Reservations will only be required from 8am to 5pm. Clearly there will be a early morning traffic jam as people that were barred from a reservation try to enter.

The above linked article has striking similarities to what has gone on here in Nevada. There was no period available for public comment before the new policies were forced into place. The local stakeholders were cut out from the process.

There have been protests at RMNP against the new policies. I see protests happening here real soon as people realize their freedom of access has been revoked unilaterally by unaccountable authorities.

I appreciate that NegativeK thinks that the overall tone of my response has been negative. I have tried to suggest positive solutions but the basic premise that the people should have a voice in what's going on has been ignored here and this new policy needs to change - preferably before it goes into effect.

Mick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0
John Hegyes wrote:

I appreciate that NegativeK thinks that the overall tone of my response has been negative. I have tried to suggest positive solutions but the basic premise that the people should have a voice in what's going on has been ignored here and this new policy needs to change - preferably before it goes into effect.

John Hegyes, FWIW I’ve appreciated your fact based and thoughtful “tone” and I thought the original thread was fine too.

B K · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 1

Perhaps I'm missing something, but as of now, the reservation system supposed to launch today and 00:01, is still not live.  Maybe they're reconsidering??

Kyle Smith · · Southern Nevada · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 1,135
B K wrote:

Perhaps I'm missing something, but as of now, the reservation system supposed to launch today and 00:01, is still not live.  Maybe they're reconsidering??

According to the BLM FAQ page they are now starting reservations on the 13th.

B K · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 1
Kyle Smith wrote:

According to the BLM FAQ page they are now starting reservations on the 13th.

That's funny.  The Zoom open forum with the BLM is set to take place on the 13th.  Seems a little odd.

Sherri Lewis · · Sequim, WA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 255
B K wrote:

Perhaps I'm missing something, but as of now, the reservation system supposed to launch today and 00:01, is still not live.  Maybe they're reconsidering??

I wonder if the last-minute delay of the new reservation policy has anything to do with the ouster of the BLM's illegally-serving acting director this past week?   From the watchdog group that brought the lawsuit against him: "“BLM must review and restart any action in which Mr. Pendley’s involvement renders the action invalid given his absence of authority.” 

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/519789-montana-asks-court-to-throw-out-major-public-lands-decisions-after

Big B · · Sin City, NV · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 1

EVERYTHING rec.gov has something to do with is....FAWKED

Colby Wangler · · Reno · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 299
NegativeK wrote:

I expect threads to have positive suggestions instead of overwhelming criticism. That wasn't happening in the original thread after seven pages, so I locked it.

The link to the SNCC announcement: mountainproject.com/forum/t…

So you didn't “like” it and that’s why it was locked?

NegativeK · · Nevada · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 40
Colby Wangler wrote:

So you didn't “like” it and that’s why it was locked?

Where "like" translates to "I thought it had degenerated into multiple pages of nonconstructive criticism", sure.

And then someone started a new thread, where the discussions can continue.

Colby Wangler · · Reno · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 299
NegativeK wrote:

Where "like" translates to "I thought it had degenerated into multiple pages of nonconstructive criticism", sure.

And then someone started a new thread, where the discussions can continue.

What if you stop liking this thread? Should we start another now to get ahead of the curve?

Josh Digs · · Lancaster, PA · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 5

John thanks for posting all of these talking points in one place. I can speak from experience that everyone in RMNP this summer just got in before the reservation times and it felt like more of a nuisance/money grab than a public health endeavor. Also the website/app blows and the RMNP workaround is to just get camping which comes with a reservation. 

I will say that all of us who want to climb in pine creek will still walk in from oak creek parking outside the loop and anyone wanting to get to first or second pullout will just walk in from red springs, doing nothing to solve the problem and creating a new one at the same time.

If there's a petition circulating I'd love to sign it.

Kevin Heckeler · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,567
Colby Wangler wrote:

What if you stop liking this thread? Should we start another now to get ahead of the curve?

He's not an admin, NegativeK (the irony) started the other thread and I believe has the ability to lock/end it.

NegativeK · · Nevada · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 40
Colby Wangler wrote:

What if you stop liking this thread? Should we start another now to get ahead of the curve?

That seems silly.

Bob Harrington · · Bishop, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 5

The BLM's FAQ has some very poor wording.  It says that "Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance of your planned visit to
the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive."  That could mean that you have to make reservations between 0 and 30 days in advance of your trip, or it could mean you have to make reservations 30 or more days prior to your trip.  I think they mean the later, but it literally says the former.  The term "up to" is ambiguous here. 

They say that "They booking system will be for arrivals, at the top of every hour beginning at 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. with an allowance for a 30-minute early arrival and 30 minutes late arrival. For example, 8-9 a.m., 9-10 a.m., 10-11 a.m., etc. If a 9 a.m. entry was purchased a visitor can arrive between 8:30 am and 9:30 a.m."  Nice that they give a little leeway, but the example they give says that for a 9-10 a.m. entry permit, you are too late if you show up at 9:45.  I hope they meant 10:30 in their example.

Maybe bicycles will be the wave of the future: "At this time, if you are entering the Scenic Drive via bicycle you will not need a timed
entry reservation,..."

Ashort · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 56

Time to pick up an electric bike?

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Bob Harrington wrote:

The BLM's FAQ has some very poor wording.  It says that "Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance of your planned visit to
the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive."  That could mean that you have to make reservations between 0 and 30 days in advance of your trip, or it could mean you have to make reservations 30 or more days prior to your trip.  I think they mean the later, but it literally says the former.  The term "up to" is ambiguous here.

Huh? "Up to" isn't ambiguous at all. You cannot make a reservation more than 30 days before.

Kyle Smith · · Southern Nevada · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 1,135
Bob Harrington wrote:

The BLM's FAQ has some very poor wording.  It says that "Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance of your planned visit to
the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive."  That could mean that you have to make reservations between 0 and 30 days in advance of your trip, or it could mean you have to make reservations 30 or more days prior to your trip.  I think they mean the later, but it literally says the former.  The term "up to" is ambiguous here. 

They say that "They booking system will be for arrivals, at the top of every hour beginning at 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. with an allowance for a 30-minute early arrival and 30 minutes late arrival. For example, 8-9 a.m., 9-10 a.m., 10-11 a.m., etc. If a 9 a.m. entry was purchased a visitor can arrive between 8:30 am and 9:30 a.m."  Nice that they give a little leeway, but the example they give says that for a 9-10 a.m. entry permit, you are too late if you show up at 9:45.  I hope they meant 10:30 in their example.

Maybe bicycles will be the wave of the future: "At this time, if you are entering the Scenic Drive via bicycle you will not need a timed
entry reservation,..."

Agreed with Marc - reserving 30 days in advance isn't ambiguous. It's likely most weekend days will be mostly reserved that far in advance. Additionally, reservations would be reserved for a single time rather than a range, such as 11am. You have 30 minutes on either side of your time to enter, in this case 10:30-11:30. You're essentially reserving an hour during which you may arrive.

Bob Harrington · · Bishop, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 5

The BLM's FAQ has some very poor wording.  It says that "Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance of your planned visit to
the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive." That could mean that you have to make reservations between 0 and 30 days in advance of your trip, or it could mean you have to make reservations 30 or more days prior to your trip. I think they mean the later, but it literally says the former. The term "up to" is ambiguous here.

Huh? "Up to" isn't ambiguous at all. You cannot make a reservation more than 30 days before.

I disagree.  "Up to 30 days in advance of your planned visit" could mean "up until 30 days in advance of..." or "not greater than 30 days in advance of..."  It's quite ambiguous.  It depends on whether your temporal frame of reference is today or the date of your trip.

If your interpretation is correct (and it may well be), then their statement that "Reservations will go on sale through Recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Those reservations will be for November 3, 2020 through May 31" is quite misleading.  If your right, then what's going on sale on October 13, 2020 are permits for November 3 through November 12, not through May 31.

And I still say this is quite unclear: "For example, 8-9 a.m., 9-10 a.m., 10-11 a.m., etc. If a 9 a.m. entry was purchased a visitor can arrive between 8:30 am and 9:30 a.m."  Elsewhere, their website talks about "a reserved time window." If 9-10am actually means 8:30-9:30, can't they just call it 8:30-9:30?

Being as you are locals, y'all probably have more and better information on this than I do, and your interpretations are may be correct.  If that's the case, this new system is terrible for climbers visiting from out of the area.  For the BLM campsites, visitors have to make campsite reservations six or twelve months in advance, but won't be able to determine if they can enter the loop road until 30 days prior to their visit.

Brian Wetzel · · Philadelphia, Pa · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 242
Josh Digs wrote:

Also the website/app blows and the RMNP workaround is to just get camping which comes with a reservation. 

Where did you find that the campground comes with a reservation?

A FAQ sheet on the BLM.gov website says: "Visitors with campground reservations will still be required to reserve timed entry into the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive. "

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Nevada
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