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Thread: DUPR At Baxter

  1. #1
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    DUPR At Baxter

    Do I need a DUPR for a Katahdin trailhead if I camp anywhere in park that is NOT one of the three DUPR sites, i.e. Roaring Brook, Abol and Katahdin Stream? The site only says "campers do not need a DUPR" but it doesn't stipulate a camper at ONE OF THESE THREE SITES or ANY CAMPER inside the park?

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    Unless things have changed in last three years, no you do not need a DUPR. With a big "but", you can only park where the day use parkers park, your campsite reservation slip on your dash proves you have the right to be there if there is a spot. Therefore, if you get to the lot and its full, you are out of luck. This is rarely an issue during the week but on weekends it can be. So get an early start from whereever you are staying and get ahead of the morning rush when they open the Togue Pond gate and let the DUPR holders into the park. Note that it takes time to process the DUPR folks so you dont need to be past Togue Pond gate at 7 AM (or whenever the gate is open these days) but you should try. That means a real early morning if you are staying up at Nesowadnehunk and want to go to Roaring Brook. Especially on the Roaring Brook side, its worth starting in the dark, if you are taking Helon Taylor trail, you get above treeline quite early and the view of the eastern wall of the katahdin massiv lit up by the low angle early morning sun is quite a sight. Photographers do not call it the golden hour for nothing. The animals are also aware of the morning rush and you are more likely to see them in early AM.

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    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    Please delete this empty message
    Last edited by Hillwalker; 08-04-2022 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Delete

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Unless things have changed in last three years, no you do not need a DUPR. With a big "but", you can only park where the day use parkers park, your campsite reservation slip on your dash proves you have the right to be there if there is a spot. Therefore, if you get to the lot and its full, you are out of luck. This is rarely an issue during the week but on weekends it can be. So get an early start from whereever you are staying and get ahead of the morning rush when they open the Togue Pond gate and let the DUPR holders into the park. Note that it takes time to process the DUPR folks so you dont need to be past Togue Pond gate at 7 AM (or whenever the gate is open these days) but you should try. That means a real early morning if you are staying up at Nesowadnehunk and want to go to Roaring Brook. Especially on the Roaring Brook side, its worth starting in the dark, if you are taking Helon Taylor trail, you get above treeline quite early and the view of the eastern wall of the katahdin massiv lit up by the low angle early morning sun is quite a sight. Photographers do not call it the golden hour for nothing. The animals are also aware of the morning rush and you are more likely to see them in early AM.
    OK. I have a friend staying at a cabin at Kidney Pond a few FRI nights from now and she is hoping to hit Katahdin from Roaring Brook SAT. I told her not to chance it and just spend the $5 and get one but there are no DUPR's online. It'll be peak demand no doubt on a SAT AM. I hope she lucks out.

    As a side note Baxter, seems to be extraordinarily heavily booked this year - even midweek there is nothing anywhere. Even finding a random tent site for one night midweek is a challenge. Looks like I am not going to make it up there this year for the first time since 2016....

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    Senior Member MikePS's Avatar
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    The Togue pond gate opens at six, traffic hits Roaring Brook lot by 6:20, ideally your friend should arrive before that on a weekend. She would not need a DUPR, but could check with reservations. Interestingly, I was at RB for three nights in July, great weather, hiking lots full but not all sites were occupied, speaking with the ranger he said the campground was fully booked but more people are booking out three nights and picking the best summit day and staying one night. Unfortunately they do not let they do not let the park know they are leaving the site vacant. seems selfish to me. Hope you luck out and something opens for you.

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    I have done the Kidney Pond to Roaring Brook run previously on a holiday weekend, luckily, I am an early riser.

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    Senior Member Sherby's Avatar
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    We camped for 4 nights at Nesowadnehunk 2 weeks ago, we went to Kathadin Stream and Roaring Brook (twice!), you don't need an extra permit, just to get up early.

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    Senior Member Sherby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikePS View Post
    Interestingly, I was at RB for three nights in July, great weather, hiking lots full but not all sites were occupied, speaking with the ranger he said the campground was fully booked but more people are booking out three nights and picking the best summit day and staying one night. Unfortunately they do not let they do not let the park know they are leaving the site vacant. seems selfish to me. Hope you luck out and something opens for you.
    Yeah, talking about that, being stuck with only Nesowadnehunk left, it was "interesting" to see how many sites were unnocupied at Kathadin Stream and RB..

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikePS View Post
    hiking lots full but not all sites were occupied, speaking with the ranger he said the campground was fully booked but more people are booking out three nights and picking the best summit day and staying one night. Unfortunately they do not let they do not let the park know they are leaving the site vacant. seems selfish to me.
    This is turning into a major problem everywhere. Camp sites are cheap enough to book as "insurance" and if you wind up not going it is no big deal. I have seen this at just about every campground I've stayed at the past few years. Really sucks missing out on a trip because of a no-show. They really should institute some sort of no show penalty to encourage people to call and cancel if they know thy won't be there.

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    I guess they need to switch over to demand pricing I miss the good old days of Opening day, if someone is willing to drive up to Millinocket in January, they probably are going to use the reservations they make.

    I always recommend for first timers to book a couple of days in the park if their goal is to climb Katahdin. Folks who are only focused on checking a box on a list are going to leave early once they get that box checked. The park does ask people leaving the park for good to deposit their camping pass. In theory if the park had the resources, the park could process those passes to determine last minute free spaces in the park but what value is an open slot that night to someone living several hours away from the park?. I think in the past the staff did what they could to fill last minute open spaces at KSC and Abol with thru hikers. From a management perspective, the slot is paid for and it reduces the occupancy of the park so its not a high priority.

    Unless the rules have changed, a no show on the first night cancels the rest of the reservation, assuming that policy is still in place, then it is just folks leaving early. The problem is in order to book those last minute reservations that open up requires getting one of the clerks on the phone and with the decision to force all backcountry reservations to phone only for Covid, getting a reservation clerk on the phone is major challenge. It probably does not help that the Park has not had a director since the beginning of the year. My bet is the Chief Ranger just does not have the bandwidth to deal with longer term issues like reservations utilization.

    Folks leave early for lots of reasons, I think it would be hard to penalize folks who do so. How would you propose it be done?

  11. #11
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    Skip the reservations https://www.bizquest.com/business-fo...ice/BW1880175/ 800K and its yours. Just a short bike ride into the park

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Skip the reservations https://www.bizquest.com/business-fo...ice/BW1880175/ 800K and its yours. Just a short bike ride into the park
    That's a steep upgrade from the $5 DUPR.

    I wonder why more places don't list on Reserve America and/or develop a comparable system? It makes it so easy to find, book, change and cancel a reservation. Would help get those canceled spaces back in play for other people quickly. I would assume the cost for a campground to list on it is minimal because all the tech infrastructure is with Reserve America. Not sure about the incentives and mechanics of the whole thing.

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    My guess is BSP tends to be behind the times technologically and do not think they would be receptive to handing it off to a third party as there will be extra cost and in order to keep expenses down they would need to show costs savings by reducing staff which I believe they would be very reticent to do. When they have raised rates in the past they get a lot of flack. I dont see how effectively any reservations system would improve availability of a site from someone deciding at 8 AM in the morning that they are going to head out a day early. Based on my own experience when I have left early, I take my time to pack up and it may be late morning or noon before I head out. On other trips I have hiked all day, gotten down early and the forecast is for rain the next day so I drive home around from 4 to 6PM. (I did that the night before Hurricane Irene hit New England and managed to miss the impact as some of the roads I drove that night were underwater the next day) So if my early departure is automatically recorded as I leave the gate, a slot will open up in the reservations soon after. Given that BSP is quite a distance from populated areas it would only be of value to those camping nearby or "local Maine residents" but they already have access to the resident reservations that are held back until 2 weeks before the date. In my case If I knew at noon that there was a slot I could make it over there before the gate closed but expect most folks in Mass or farther west would not. If I remember correctly last minute reservations of open slots are handled at the headquarters in Millinocket as I have known folks who have gotten them. I think in most cases they are not filled effectively although KSC and Abol will be used to house thru hiker overflow if slots are available.

    I really do not think an improved reservation system is going to improve availability to someone vacationing from out of state unless they intentionally headed up and stayed somewhere outside the park in hope that something would open up. Possibly a reason to go camp at the National Monument and hope that something opens up in the Park?

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    I am personally very much down on Reserve America, the Ticketmaster of hiking sites. I don't appreciate paying an exorbitant service fee on a tentsite that costs $10 a night.

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    You are not the only one who has complained about the rise in fees when they RA gets involved. The FS really could care less is they make money on a campsite so maybe they eat the extra cost. They just want to offload tasks so they can reduce head count of FS employees (or hand work off to retirees who do work for stay). If you look at BSP admin staff its pretty slim and since they are independently endowed, they are under less pressure to cut heads. No doubt RA has a surge pricing option ready to roll as I expect their profits are tied to the dollar amount of reservations they process.

    BTW for many years the Opening Day reservations in January were unlimited and locals and local guides took advantage of that fact. Many of the cabins at Daicey and Kidney would be booked for months by people who would move in and use it like their own camp during much of the summer. Guides would reserve up blocks off reservations at popular sites like Russell and Chimney Pond. They would advertise in outdoor magazines for guided trips in the Maine woods with Katahdin prominent in the ads. In reality they would take the clients outside the park in the North Maine Woods free campsites and then close out the trip with a couple of nights in the park. In some cases they skipped the illusion of guiding and just scalped reservations in the park at a big markup. Us folks who sent in reservations would rarely get our first second or third choice and getting a popular weekend or anything at Daicey or Kidney during prime months was rare. They did finally revise opening day to limit reservations to a maximum of 14 days in the park for each reservation on opening day and froze out reservations at a campground once 20% of the sites were booked on opening day. I got some of my best reservations at the park I ever got during the revised opening day events. IMHO the rolling reservations worked well until Covid hit and they went to phone reservations only for backcountry.

    Unfortunately I think the Friends of BSP is greatly diminished from the past. They did seem to have some skill in getting park policy changed but I think when Bissel left, the new director just did what he wanted including dumping opening day. The most likely candidate to run the park is the chief ranger who is acting director. He comes from the AMC 100 Mile Wilderness properties so maybe he will institute changes, but I think AMC also runs their own reservation system and also does not deal well with vacancies at the huts as they do not refund last minute reservations. Reportedly the hut crew are given a lot of latitude at filling last minute spaces at the huts.

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