Saturday, May 18, 2024

New mobile app streamlines Enchantment permit area daily lottery

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LEAVENWORTH- The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has announced a new mobile application process for hikers seeking to obtain an Enchantment Permit Area Daily Lottery permit. Starting May 14, the Forest Service will transition from the previous in-person daily lottery to a new mobile-based geofence lottery system through the Recreation.gov mobile app or mobile browser. This administrative change aims to improve customer convenience and staff efficiency by reducing the impact of the former manual lottery and permit processes.

Wenatchee River District Ranger Erica Taecker stated, "The Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest is pleased to be working with Recreation.gov to pilot this new technology this summer. The Enchantment permit programs help the Forest Service manage visitor use to this high demand area while balancing opportunities for spontaneous recreation within Wilderness. Streamlining the daily permit system will also increase convenience for visitors while helping us better utilize limited staff resources to better serve the public."

The new mobile application requires interested applicants to be physically located within a 1-mile geofence perimeter centered around the Wenatchee River Ranger Station in Leavenworth, WA. Applicants must use their mobile phones with "location services" enabled to confirm their location and apply for the lottery.

Wilderness Manager Carly Reed explained, "With the updated Enchantment Permit Area Daily Lottery, applicants won't have to wait at the ranger station, nor will they need to remain within the geofence perimeter following the lottery application process. Instead, participants are free to enjoy the local area, grab a bite or hike in other locations. Applicants are only required to be physically within the perimeter briefly to use the mobile application to apply and check on the status of their application. Successful applicants will also need to be within a cellular or Wi-Fi service area to accept and pay for their permit, and to come to the ranger station to pick up their permit before 4 p.m. to be ready for their trip departure the next day."

Key points for hikers to be aware of include:

- Installing the Recreation.gov mobile app in an area with service coverage prior to applying for the lottery.

- The daily lottery application will be available between 7:00 a.m. and 10 a.m. for overnight hiking trips departing the following day.

- Lottery notifications will be distributed by 11 a.m. to the email associated with the applicant's Recreation.gov account.

- A $6 non-refundable application fee is required to participate in the lottery, and successful applicants will have an additional $5 per-person hiking permit fee per day.

- Successful applicants must pick up their permit in person at the Wenatchee River Ranger Station by 4:00 p.m. on the same day they applied for the lottery.

- The daily lottery application process will only be offered on weekdays, Monday through Friday, during the permit season from May 15 to October 31.

While most Enchantment overnight permits are distributed through the Advanced Lottery process in February, a smaller number of permits are reserved for the daily lottery distribution. No changes are proposed for the Advance Lottery process.

For more information about the Recreation.gov mobile application, including how to install the application, visit Recreation.gov.

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