Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is continuously vexed by how to manage its gargantuan number of visitors each year, but the park’s main play seems to always remain the same: more paperwork and permits is the ultimate solution to managing the masses.
The latest proposal from RMNP has a few different options when it comes to day-use management in the park, with one option suggesting that guests who want to summit Longs Peak would require an “educational permit.”
The permit would essentially require aspiring Longs Peak hikers to be educated about the area, the terrain, and the gear that’s required to summit such a mountain. Spoiler alert: you should be researching this type of shit anytime you go on a hike or recreate in the Rocky Mountains to begin with.
It’s a tough line to have to draw. Can we depend on the public to educate themselves to the point of not playing it fast and loose when it comes to their own mortalities? Or should the government be in charge of holding our hands through our own outings in Mother Nature? If it’s any consolation or helps to change your mind, our parents let us eat dirt growing up and we turned out just fine.
We don’t need to get into the big points of whether permit systems should be seen as progressive ways to manage recreation in the mountains, but we do know one thing for sure: we’ve always lost our whimsical urge to go enjoy nature’s spoils anytime that there was paperwork involved.