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  1. #1

    Default Ridgerunner Responsibilities

    Walking out of Clingerman Dome in a pretty significant ice, snow, rain and wind environment and I got shook down by a ridgerunner for my Smoky Permit. The guy was condescending and rude. I told him I had it in my pack or a receipt on my phone; he wanted my name - full name, not trail name. Bottom line, unless he was trying to earn his park ranger merit badge, he should stick to his responsibilities - trail maintenance and teaching LNT.

  2. #2

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    I wasn't there so I can't comment on the "attitude" of the RR. I was also asked by a RR in the Smokies for my permit when I went through in 2017. Guy was polite and friendly. Whenever I am hiking on a permit, I try to keep it available just in case. Last year in the Sierra, I had four different rangers ask for my permit over a 12 day period. No problems and I took advantage of their knowledge and perspective.

    My experience with Rangers and RR's has always been great. They are there to protect you from the Park and the Park from you. That is an important job.

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    1. Your attitude sucks.
    2. Did you read line 3 on your permit?

    Assuming you really had one.

    if you can't show a permit don't look for sympathy from other people you're not going to find any from people that respect the rules.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-09-2019 at 21:36.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Soldier View Post
    Walking out of Clingerman Dome
    I'm not familiar with that mountain... is it near Newfoundland Gap?

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    why are you surprised that he asked you for your full name?


    trail names are not reality...........

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    from the compendium---

    Permits a r e required for all overnight stays in thebackcounty, except for those nights spent at the MountLeConte Lodge. The permit must be in the camper'spossession while in the backcountry and must be exhibitedupon the demand of an authorized person




    https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/manag...endium-all.pdf




    sounds like said person was doing his job....

    so what's your beef again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    1. Your attitude sucks.
    2. Did you read line 3 on your permit?

    Assuming you really had one.

    if you can't show a permit don't look for sympathy from other people you're not going to find any from people that respect the rules.
    Your response made me wonder if RR's had any authority to ask for your permit. I don't even see any mention of them on the permit or NPS GSMNP website. I could have easily missed something, do you have any reference to their authorization to ask for a permit. Only thing I can find is that the permit must be attached to your pack or tent. It does not say it has to be visible.

    Does anyone have more information?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    from the compendium---

    Permits a r e required for all overnight stays in thebackcounty, except for those nights spent at the MountLeConte Lodge. The permit must be in the camper'spossession while in the backcountry and must be exhibitedupon the demand of an authorized person




    https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/manag...endium-all.pdf




    sounds like said person was doing his job....

    so what's your beef again?
    to play devil's advocate for a minute-

    the OP is in an area thats often inundated with day hikers (ie people who don't need permits) so why bother and on what basis did he/she ask for the OP's permit? no permit was needed to be out hiking (assuming this was during daylight). do we just hassle people who appear to be carrying camping gear? what if someone carrying a backpack that vaguely appears to be larger than a daypack responds to "can i see your permit?" with "i'm just out for a day hike?" is the RR going to follow you until dark and see what you do?

    this sort of maybe seems like a case where both parties are kind of being more difficult than was strictly speaking necessary.

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    Maybe the ridgerunner was trying to keep trash in the park to a minimum, you know "getting after it!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Soldier View Post
    update. sassafras shelter has a serious pile of trash , dirty site. ridgerunner - get after it!

  10. #10

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    Was it a volunteer ATC RidgeRunner? Or a NPS employee?

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    Here's an article about the life of a ridge runner in the GSMNP. In the article he states that he checks permits and can give out permits on the spot for those who have not gotten one.
    https://www.nationalparkstraveler.or...onal-park24845
    More walking, less talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Here's an article about the life of a ridge runner in the GSMNP. In the article he states that he checks permits and can give out permits on the spot for those who have not gotten one.
    https://www.nationalparkstraveler.or...onal-park24845
    Here is information about applying or the position. http://pnts.org/new/wp-content/uploa...ement-2019.pdf

    Nothing mentions checking permits. It sounds like they are there to educate. A search of the NPS site has no mention of them so I suspect they have the same authority as anyone else on the trail that they can report problems to Park Rangers. They may ask for your permit, but can anyone find anything that says that you have to show it to someone who is not a NPS employee?

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    Define walking out of Clingmans Dome? On what trail from what start to what destination? Where were you originally coming from before Clingmans Dome? Share your behavior or what could have been perceived as questionable behavior prior to your RR incident? Were you rude?

    You'll get asked much less about birth name or other ID when openly displaying a permit attached to the outside of the pack in a clear plastic fishing license case with multiple safety pins or in a clear plastic sheet on lanyard around the neck stored under a shirt. Sold anywhere they sell fishing licenses and HD, Lowes, left over from backstage passes, music venues, sold also at Office Max and WalMart etc. Or, some permits that are WP(many NP permits are) have attached strings or a twisty as do the GSMNP permits I'm most familiar. I may tie it on a strap and tuck the permit partly into a pocket. If I'm asked about having a permit I'll produce it fully and verify the permit's info. Easy peasy.

    Checking a name with additional ID against the name and details on a hiking or camping permit is common procedure possibly more so when you don't openly display it which might be what led to the experience. Ridge runners can and will verify legality of permits. RR's do make judgments, and so will others, like it or not about legality and can call in professional LEOs if need be. Most RR's encounters dont need to take it that far as most folks are cooperative. I'll take it on myself as responsibility or with others to do it as well if we notice questionably legal shady scamming of the rules entitled BS.


    Have you considered GSMNP is the most visited NP in the U.S.? Have you considered the AT is one of if the most competitive places to obtain a permit? Have you considered the NPS budget isn't what it should or could be and there was a recent gov't shutdown resulting in the NPS scrambling to catch up so could currently be a bit spread thin ? Have you considered working with authorities and those who may have greater insight rather than rebelling against them?

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    The ridgerunners are hired representatives of the ATC. Who report to....NPS.

    If they request to see a permit where one is required for the AT, it is because they must have authority to do so.

    Yes, most of their work is clean up, reporting on trail conditions, and teaching people about proper trail behavior. Two out of three of those is a shame that it's necessary. They are not tasked with enforcement, but that does not mean they can't or shouldnt report people breaking rules or laws to jurisdictional authorities. Although typically they take a role to try and help people to obey the rules, as opposed to punishing them for not doing so.

    However, if someone's a di@k....

    Line 3

    Screenshot_20190309-220359.jpg
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-10-2019 at 00:17.
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    ..........
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 03-10-2019 at 07:22.

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    [QUOTE=MuddyWaters;2240175]The ridgerunners are hired representatives of the ATC. Who report to....NPS.

    (/QUOTE]

    not 100% sure on this but i think in GSMNP what we're calling a ridgerunner exists and functions outside of the AT, which leads me to believe they aren't ATC employees.

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    [QUOTE=tdoczi;2240178]
    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    The ridgerunners are hired representatives of the ATC. Who report to....NPS.

    (/QUOTE]

    not 100% sure on this but i think in GSMNP what we're calling a ridgerunner exists and functions outside of the AT, which leads me to believe they aren't ATC employees.
    Ridgerunners in gsmnp are still ATC employees.
    But they also carry radios and can call LE rangers if needed.

    if someone doesn't have the permit typically I understand they can issue you one. You pay for it after you leave the park. You have 72 hours. For them to behave otherwise is interesting........
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-10-2019 at 00:45.
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    You thought you could provide a fictitious name and you'd be good?

    Next bridge loan I'm going to sign it Mr. Dogwood.

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    [QUOTE=MuddyWaters;2240179]
    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post

    Ridgerunners in gsmnp are still ATC employees.
    But they also carry radios and can call LE rangers if needed.

    if someone doesn't have the permit typically I understand they can issue you one. You pay for it after you leave the park. You have 72 hours. For them to behave otherwise is interesting........
    so even though the permit system is park wide there is a special group of permit checking people who only do so on the AT and not elsewhere in the park? and these people have special access to the park's permit system (would that be for the whole park or just the AT?)

    thats so dumb it has to be true.

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    [QUOTE=tdoczi;2240183]
    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post

    so even though the permit system is park wide there is a special group of permit checking people who only do so on the AT and not elsewhere in the park? and these people have special access to the park's permit system (would that be for the whole park or just the AT?)

    thats so dumb it has to be true.
    well, since ridgerunner is only on the AT they have no reason to check or issue permits for anywhere else in the park. To issue a permit, I'm guessing all they do is radio the backcountry office and get them to do it. whether or not they have a paper permit to give you at that point I have no idea.

    However Park rangers, can also be on the AT and can check permit and issue permits , or assist in changing permits, as well as in the rest of the park too.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-10-2019 at 01:50.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

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