Over the last several years, Yosemite National Park has noted a significant increase in demand for permits to hike the John Muir Trail (JMT). From 2011 to 2015, there has been a 100% increase in JMT permits requested. The trail’s rising popularity has strained the traditional methods that hikers use to access the JMT. The increased number of JMT hikers has made it difficult for non-JMT hikers to get wilderness permits for other trails within Yosemite National Park. Also during this same time, the NPS has noted an increase in the number of resource related impacts within the Sunrise Creek and Lyell Canyon areas. Finally, some wilderness campsites along the JMT in Yosemite have seen a sharp increase in overnight users, which negatively impacts the quality of the visitor experience.
To protect access for other hikers and preserve the quality of the JMT experience, Yosemite National Park is implementing an exit quota on an interim basis. The exit quota will help the park to address access and resource concerns until a comprehensive approach can be developed through the upcoming wilderness stewardship planning process. The interim quota will limit the number of hikers exiting the Yosemite Wilderness over Donohue Pass to 45 per day. The exit quota applies to all wilderness permits reserved or issued after February 2, 2015.
Wilderness trailhead quotas are not being reduced. The interim solution will help to restore traditional wilderness use patterns, balance access for JMT hikers with non-JMT hikers in the Yosemite Wilderness, and reduce physical and social impacts. Additionally, the interim quota will allow Yosemite National Park to collect visitor use and impact data along the JMT. Yosemite National Park anticipates launching a planning process to develop an updated wilderness management plan this spring and invites all to participate.
For more, click here.
Good hiking, Ray