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Thread: Three things about Baxter Park

  1. #1
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Three things about Baxter Park

    First, they've posted an IT job. Knowing there are hikers here with an IT problem, it might be of interest to someone.

    Second, they've posted SAR data from about 1776-2014. We discussed data in a couple other threads, mostly pertaining to NH, so this is for those hikers with SAR data curiosity. Just scroll down the home page a bit ... and there's a link.

    Third, for the life of me I can't find out (on the website) when this year's reservation "Opening Day" is. That's when people line up and test their limits for hypothermia in the quest to get exactly what they what for their summer trip. It is a fun tradition and we always make it a long weekend and combine it with some winter activities in Baxter. Anyone else going and HELP! ... when is it?

    http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/index.htm

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    Senior Member TJ aka Teej's Avatar
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    The rolling rez system works on a four month window. On 1/15 you can make reservations for 5/15, the opening day of the overnight camping season. Trails to Baxter Peak will not be open on May 15th. Abol Slide trail will remain closed until at least September. Chimney Pond and Nesowadnehunk won't open for camping until June, I think. The extended camping season was a success, and will repeat in 2015.
    Last edited by TJ aka Teej; 12-06-2014 at 10:27 PM.
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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Second, they've posted SAR data from about 1776-2014. We discussed data in a couple other threads, mostly pertaining to NH, so this is for those hikers with SAR data curiosity. Just scroll down the home page a bit ... and there's a link.
    I found 1992-2014, where are the older studies?
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    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    I found 1992-2014, where are the older studies?
    That information is maintained in a hermetically sealed summit register guarded by this strange looking critter they call Pamola. I was just impressedthat they had such well organized date going back to '92.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    The rolling rez system works on a four month window. On 1/15 you can make reservations for 5/15, the opening day of the overnight camping season. Trails to Baxter Peak will not be open on May 15th. Abol Slide trail will remain closed until at least September. Chimney Pond and Nesowadnehunk won't open for camping until June, I think. The extended camping season was a success, and will repeat in 2015.
    Thanks, yes, I know that though I've never utilized the rolling system since they went digital ... more recently than one might think.

    "Opening Day" has recently been the first working day after MLK Day and on that day you can make reservations without regard to the four month window. The only limit is that they'll book no more than 20% of a "campground".

  6. #6
    Senior Member TJ aka Teej's Avatar
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    January 14th for in person, Stan.
    "Opening day for summer camping reservations is January 14th 2015 8-4. In person only and only 20% of each campground may be reserved. Two reservation limit per person or camp group."
    I remember when we'd go up the first Monday after New ear's Day, when the ladies had huge ledgers and shoeboxes for the reservations. Hanging out outside HQ the night before was fun, and watching the cabin campers scramble for "their cabin" on "their" days was always amusing.
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    I have gone up to make reservations (and say hi to Stan) about every other year since the new reservation system has been in place. I went quite early one year but subsequently discovered that showing up anytime during the day will most likely lock in 95% of the desirable locations. There is a big crush in the morning but most folks only have one set of reservations they want and don't hang around for a second pick. As TJ alludes to the hottest commodities are specific cabins on specific dates. Both Kidney and Daicey cabins are in demand on holiday weekends but rarely does the 20% rule kick in so if someone is flexible on specific cabins it is highly unlikely that they will be shut out of a specific date (but not guaranteed). The other observation is that the crowd booking campsites is getting old and dropping in numbers every year.

    The reality is that the rolling reservation system tends to work well with the exception of group sites, the peak weekends and the very high demand cabins and possibly Chimney Pond. Even in the high demand spots, early to mid week reservations are usually available via the rolling reservation system.

    Some reasons for heading up unrelated to the actual reservations is that many or the permanent park staff are there and are usually in great mood. If you go to Baxter in the summer, most of the park staff you normally encounter may be seasonal while on reservation day its all permanent staff. The friends of Baxter State Park are usually present helping out and the many of the folks waiting in line have been going to the park for may years and are usually quite happy.

    I generally mark the date on my calendar and if the weather is good and I didn't camp there the previous year I make a run up. Heck with the lower gas prices this year it makes it more reasonable.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Thank you for that date, Teej. I don't know where you found it if on the website but I did find this interesting correspondence from the Parl to the ATC. It is probably worth a thread of its own. http://www.baxterstateparkauthority....%20scanned.pdf

    As for the "opening day" date, the lack of conspicuous information and the middle of the week date, makes me wonder whether they are working to phase this event out as participants dwindle in number. Would be a shame. It's been an enjoyable excuse every couple years for us to visit the area for winter adventure and several months to enjoy the anticipation of the reservations. The local economy can use all the inducements they can get and this seems like a nice one.

    For us, we'll be heading up the prior Friday for a long weekend at NEOC.

    Peakbagger, our summer plans will probably include a night or two over at Katahdin Lake Camps and a couple nights at South Branch and the Traveler Loop. This will be our third visit for the loop ... preferring to wait for a blue bird day ... or perhaps just an excuse to keep coming back there. Note the logistical or car spot options.

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    Boy that letter spells out a lot of valid issues. I hope the AT doesn't get blacklisted out of the park like the IAT which was forced to route itself outside the park. Reportedly one of the reasons the Northern Peaks trail was not reopened after a major blowdown closed it for several years was the IAT route had been routed over it (without park permission). I do like that they are cracking down on fake service dogs, this is becoming more and more of an issue in society and the way the regs are right now its difficult to enforce.

    Realistically I don't see why they would officially phase out opening day. Its probably a nice shot of cash flow in a slow time of the year. I don't expect that there are going to be a lot of new folks to replace those who like to camp out in the parking lot so as they fade away I expect it will be less and less of an event. I agree the local area needs every bit of help they can get although if they have good base of snow, they get a surprising amount of snowmobile tourists on the weekend.

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    Senior Member Guthook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Boy that letter spells out a lot of valid issues. I hope the AT doesn't get blacklisted out of the park like the IAT which was forced to route itself outside the park. Reportedly one of the reasons the Northern Peaks trail was not reopened after a major blowdown closed it for several years was the IAT route had been routed over it (without park permission). I do like that they are cracking down on fake service dogs, this is becoming more and more of an issue in society and the way the regs are right now its difficult to enforce.
    I am very glad to hear the park isn't taking all of this laying down. I saw a picture of a through hiker on Baxter Peak with a dog this autumn, and it just about made my blood boil. There's not a lot of regulation on the AT, and you can easily see how the trail is being "loved to death". I'd hate to see Baxter Park negatively impacted because of the party atmosphere of the trail. There's a lot about the park that can't be found elsewhere in New England, and the park's attitude of putting the resource before recreation is a big part of that.
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    Senior Member sdways01's Avatar
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    Staying at Katahdin Stream CG this summer to hike the mountain, I noticed some AT hikers head up the trail after sunset. I suspect they were trying to find a free spot as the letter mentions.
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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guthook View Post
    I am very glad to hear the park isn't taking all of this laying down. I saw a picture of a through hiker on Baxter Peak with a dog this autumn, and it just about made my blood boil. There's not a lot of regulation on the AT, and you can easily see how the trail is being "loved to death". I'd hate to see Baxter Park negatively impacted because of the party atmosphere of the trail. There's a lot about the park that can't be found elsewhere in New England, and the park's attitude of putting the resource before recreation is a big part of that.
    I'm curious what made your blood boil, is it that he had a dog Im assuming they are not allowed? Which wouldnt surprise me, that would be one more reason I will never set foot in that over regulated place again. jees, how to take a place that many should enjoy, and beat it to death with a million regs.

  13. #13
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    A good friend of mine did the AT with his dog. Got to the gate, "No dogs allowed", he turned around. He knew the rule, so wasn't surprised, but no way he was going to hit those last few miles after logging 2k with him.

    A couple of years later, after his dog passed, he completed the trip with his ashes.

  14. #14
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dug View Post
    A good friend of mine did the AT with his dog. Got to the gate, "No dogs allowed", he turned around. He knew the rule, so wasn't surprised, but no way he was going to hit those last few miles after logging 2k with him.

    A couple of years later, after his dog passed, he completed the trip with his ashes.
    That is cool, good for him on both counts.

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    Senior Member Guthook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    I'm curious what made your blood boil, is it that he had a dog Im assuming they are not allowed? Which wouldnt surprise me, that would be one more reason I will never set foot in that over regulated place again. jees, how to take a place that many should enjoy, and beat it to death with a million regs.
    Sierra, take a quick gander at the open letter, specifically pages 3-5. Pets are not allowed in Baxter State Park, but many through-hikers have been sneaking their dogs into the park, sometimes displaying counterfeit service animal credentials. What makes my blood boil is when someone blatantly disregards a landowner's rules because he thought he was somehow above them, which in turn makes the landowner more restrictive to everyone. It's the case of the few bad eggs causing trouble for all the rest of us, and it's a pretty common thing among through-hikers.

    The great thing about all those regulations in the park is that it keeps away people like you-- just kidding (sort of... read on). Some people, like me, prefer hiking in places where there is still some modicum of wilderness. Even in the wildest parts of the White Mountains, it's pretty hard to find any kind of solitude on a nice summer day. Without any kind of regulations on how many people can enter a popular place, or if the regulations are pretty lax like at Monadnock, you end up with insane crowding-- you're probably familiar with the Presidential Range and Franconia Ridge and Monadnock. The only way to keep a popular place in the eastern US from being crowded is to limit access. And because of that limited access in Baxter, those of us who enjoy a quiet moment on a beautiful mountaintop are able to get that. If it means a lot of people who don't want to deal with the rules end up going to the Whites instead, all the better.

    By the way, Baxter isn't the only large park in the US where dogs aren't allowed, or even on the Appalachian Trail. The Smokey Mountains are the same. And many National Parks in the west also don't allow dogs.

    I'm curious as to what your experience was that made you never want to set foot in "that over regulated place again". I'm guessing you had an unpleasant run-in with a ranger?
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