Plan for Cedar Creek proposes 75 permits per day

By Karen Brainard

Palomar Ranger District is taking public comments until May 17 on its proposed permit system to hike the Cedar Creek Falls trail.

The proposal would allow a maximum of 75 permits per day with each permit allowing up to five people, Bjorn Fredrickson, district recreation and lands officer, told the Ramona Community Planning Group at its May 3 meeting.

Planners questioned the possibility of 375 people hiking the trail per day and whether the forest service would have rangers on site to monitor the area. Fredrickson said each of the permits would be issued per vehicle and on average each vehicle contains three hikers. That would drop the number of hikers per day to 225, he noted.

The permit system would pertain to both access points to the Cedar Creek Falls trail — at the end of Thornbush Road in San Diego Country Estates in Ramona and off Eagle Peak Road in Julian.

Fredrickson said the maximum number of permits allowed per day could decrease or increase, depending on usage and comments.

“Nothing’s set in stone,” planning group Chair Jim Piva said.

“It’s a proposal,” Brian Harris, public affairs officer for the Cleveland National Forest, told the Sentinel. “We’re asking the public to comment and give us their thoughts.”

The forest service closed the falls and access to the falls on July 9, 2011, after a teenage boy fell to his death from a rocky cliff. Numerous rescues had also been performed for users who were not prepared for the strenuous hike, and neighbors of the Thornbush Road Trailhead complained of throngs of hikers coming to the trail, parking on their residential streets, littering and partying.

The parking lot at the Thornbush trailhead can accommodate 29 vehicles. With the numbers proposed for the permit system, planners questioned the location of overflow parking.

Although parking had been suggested for the end of Ramona Oaks Road, Fredrickson said that is not included in the plan due to costs and because the condition of the trail at that spot is worse than the trailhead on Thornbush.

Piva noted that if parking becomes an issue again in that neighborhood, the county is prepared to put in parking restrictions.

The permits, Fredrickson said, would be reserved by phone or online and would cost $7 in administrative fees. The permits will contain health and safety advice to educate the hikers about the trail.

Other proposed changes to the trail or trailhead include no jumping from the rocks at the falls, closure of the cliffs at the falls to public entry, and a prohibition on alcohol.

Planners asked about law enforcement or ranger patrols on the trail. Fredrickson said that on most weekends and holidays there will be a ranger, forest service staff, or volunteer patrols on site.

After the permit system is in place, the rangers will be monitoring any infrastructure damage on the trails, rescue operations, littering, and parking, he said.

Harris said the trail may be open in mid to late summer, but that is dependent on public comments and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

The ranger district’s draft environmental assessment on the proposal is at

Related posts:

  1. Forest service opens access to Cedar Creek Falls near Julian
  2. Forest service works on Cedar Creek plan, ranger tells planners
  3. Cedar Creek Falls to remain closed until April
  4. Officials work to resolve Cedar Creek trailhead brouhaha
  5. Sheriff’s deputies assist forest service enforce Cedar Creek closure

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on May 9 2012. Filed under Backcountry, Government, News, Ramona. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

8 Comments for “Plan for Cedar Creek proposes 75 permits per day”

  1. Your Father

    Just blow the ******* thing up and get it over with. I’m tired of watching fun places destroyed by red tape thanks to a few morons. How’s this for a new rule: Don’t climb to the top and stand at the edge of a 200ft cliff. Also, make the ******s who can’t make the hike and have to be ‘rescued’ pay a large fee.

    • hiker

      Amen, amen, amen! Say it again! When do the majority of normal people stop being punished by the minority of morons?

  2. Outdoorsman

    I'm no fan of red tape, but permits and quota systems have been used for years with success at many popular trailheads in California. Not only does a permit provide the opportunity for Forest Service personnel to speak with the visitor about preparation, but it also makes the visit more enjoyable due to less people on the trail and at the destination.

  3. Donna Shaw

    It is sad that the "permit" system has to be implemented. This is a beautiful hike and one that should be taken seriously. Thanks to a few people that were not prepared to hike, or were not serious about their surroundings, the rest of us must now make arrangements to hike. I like to hike all around and being spontaneous about where to go. This all goes to show that people are not willing to be serious and must be treated as children with these rules red tape.

  4. Peter Dixon

    The permit system is a good idea, but what would be better is to increase the amount and use the money to fund an insurance that would pay for the costs of 'rescuing' those that cannot make it back

    • hiker

      How about charging those that have to be rescued the costs of 'rescuing' instead of making the rest of us pay for it?

  5. john

    So do they close down the beach and make people buy "permits" when a surfer dies? How about the desert when a dirt biker dies? Do they close down the mountain when a skier dies??? You put up as many restrictions as you want but you still can't fix stupidity. It is a fact that stupid will still jump from 100ft rocks and kills themselves. Big deal, that's just Darwin taking out the trash.

  6. Lauren

    I spent six months helping to construct this trail, and I fully support this proposal.

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