Advanced reservations for Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permits for the John Muir, Ansel Adams, and Golden Trout Wildernesses, and for the Mt. Whitney Zone, are now available through the National Recreation Reservation Service, or NRRS. As of Dec. 9, reservations can now be made online at www.recreation.gov or by phone at 1.877.444.6777. Reservations are no longer being made through the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office.
Up to now, customers wanting to make reservations had to call, mail, or fax a request to the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office. With the move to the NRRS, customers can now make advanced reservations online anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For those visitors who do not have computer access or prefer not to use the internet, reservations can be made through a call center. The new system allows for changes to reservations on the website and through the call center up to two days ahead of an entry date. Customers will still convert their reservations to a wilderness permit as they have in the past by stopping at an Inyo National Forest visitor center. Customers who need extra assistance for trip planning will still be able to call the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office for more information.
The John Muir and Ansel Adams Wilderness Areas are some of the most heavily visited wilderness areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System. Overnight permits are required and quotas are implemented May 1 through Nov. 1 in the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wildernesses, and from the last Friday in June through Sept. 15 in the Golden Trout Wilderness. A lottery is in place to reserve main Mt. Whitney Trail overnight and day use permits. Mt. Whitney permits are 100% reservable, while all other quota trailheads are 60% reservable, 40% first-come, first-served available at Inyo National Forest visitor centers one day before the trip.
Reservation fees are remaining the same at $5/person for quota trailheads and $15/person for the Mt. Whitney Zone. A transaction fee of $6 is tacked on to each reserved permit to cover the cost of the online service. The reservation fees are collected under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) with 95% of reservation fees collected being retained by the Inyo National Forest. These funds can be used for wilderness ranger patrols, visitor information services, educational programs, trail maintenance, restoration work, and staffing the Wilderness Permit Office. The recreation fee program provides the additional funding needed to offer quality services to the public and protection and restoration of the wilderness resource. The $6 transaction fee will be retained by the NRRS to cover the cost of providing the online reservations.
Along with the new online service there are some changes to the process for modifying your reservation, as well as the refund policy. Changes to a reservation can now be done online or through the call center up to two days before an entry date. Last minute changes can be made when permits are picked up if space is available.
Refunds will not be made for changes to reservations for the main Mt. Whitney Trail or Mt. Whitney Day Use, however refunds will be allowed for other entry trails if reservations are cancelled or party sizes reduced at least 22 days prior to an entry date. The $6 transaction fee is non-refundable.
For more information please visit www.recreation.gov, the Inyo National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/inyo, or call the NRRS Call Center at 1.877.444.6777 or the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office at 760.873.2483. -USFS