Did you ever wonder why a wilderness permit is needed? After all, going into the Golden Trout Wilderness is free so why all the fuss? There are good reasons to get a wilderness permit and we hope you continue to do so.
First off, wilderness permits help the Forest Service keep track of how many visitors a wilderness receives. In the case of the Golden Trout, the Sequoia National Forest can figure out what areas get the most use or what month or time of year is the most popular. This information could be used in directing volunteer groups regarding trail maintenance. The Forest Service also knows where to send patrols to monitor for trail needs as well as assist users along the way.
Second, wilderness permits can bring you face to face with a Forest Service employee when issued. The Forest Service employee could inform you of the latest trail information, water sources, and more. If you didn’t get a fire permit, you could always get one issued to you while you are in the office getting the permit.
Lastly, wilderness permits can be a great tool for safety. If a wildfire was to occur in the wilderness, Forest Service employees can look through their issued permits to make sure nobody is nearby. They may need to contact permit holders if there is a wildfire that prevents travel into certain areas. Sometimes they may send out employees to inform and direct you away from the fire. This is a good reason for following or staying close to your planned itinerary.
Now that you know why a wilderness permit is so valuable, don’t forget to also create an itinerary for family and friends. Don’t rely on the wilderness permit alone as the Forest Service won’t know if you make it out of the wilderness okay or not. They will likely only search during an emergency. Who will know if you are out of the wilderness safely? your family and friends back home.