Major frustration with pay.gov/gnp

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Who here has had a bad experience with the advance online application process to secure a 'first come, first served' back country permit for glacier national park...This is the third year it has been set up this way and it is the second year my application has initially been rejected the first time through. I have been ready and waiting at the submit payment screen and at 10:00 am edt, click 'continue' and the website crashes, only for me to try numerous times and finally got accepted this year at 10:14...Last year there were over 2,500 apps submitted in the first two minutes...Super frustrated that I put in all the preparation and am ready at the exact time each year and pay.Gov tells me, "Sir , there is a high volume of traffic on the site and there are some technical difficulties"???? Really, a high volume??? And this shouldn't be expected? Super disappointed, wonder what place 10:14 am edt got me? Who's with me? I would rather go back to a lottery system, which yellowstone still has, than this garbage.
 

Nick

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#2
I hear your frustration, but the all caps is painful. I converted your post to sentence case. Pay.gov is tough but that's somewhat inevitable with so much demand. I didn't try for GNP permits but I do try for other permits and it's always a challenge. Not sure what the solution is with increased pressure for permits.
 

MikeM

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#3
Yep. Me and some friends were trying to get reservations at the Sperry Chalet a few year's ago and same thing happened, site crashed right at 8am. We were still able to get our needed reservations but it was very frustrating. I wish they would upgrade their servers or something to make it faster, but we all know they barely have the budget to keep running, let alone make any upgrades to systems.

I don't know about the backcountry permits that you are trying to reserve, but we did find that a lot of people were overbooking their reservations at the Chalets (both Granite Park and Sperry), so if you start watching the site about a month after reservations are open you might start to see people cancel their reservations and you might be able to pick something up that way. it's not ideal, but I know some friends that were able to get a night at Granite Park that way. It also helps if you're flexible, as they were, and able to pick up a reservation and make the trip on short notice.
 
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#4
I only put in for three when the permit window opened this year. Oddly the site did crash between my 2nd and 3rd one but did not keep me from doing my requests. The part of it that ticks me off is that I put in the apps, had my card charged and so far have only heard back on two of them. I would be fine with that IF my card was not still charged for all three. I've been waiting for a reply to my email on it to see if they are going to refund me the one, of if I successfully achieved that third permit.

On the bright side, I was lucky enough to get one for the Boulderfield so I can climb Longs this year. Other one I have so far is at Upper Chipmunk site so I can try to get in some mummy range fun.

I do think people put in for a bunch and then some open up later on, so keep an eye out.
 

Dave

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#5
The Pay.gov website is a joke. It crashed on me repeatedly during the process this morning. I had it ready to go right at 8, but the server rejected payment. Then it was unresponsive until 8:10. So I submitted as soon as I was able and can now only hope others weren’t able to scoot in and steal the dates from under me.
 
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#6
It crashed on me repeatedly during the process this morning. I had it ready to go right at 8, but the server rejected payment.
My experience as well. I was finally successful on my third try, got it in at 8:09:27. If there is any consolation it sounds like everyone else had the same problem.
 
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Thread starter #7
I would incourage everyone to contact pay.gov and Apgar backcountry ranger station and voice their displeasure with how broken the system is. At the very least it might prompt them to address the issues with more effort for next year. I don't see why they can't alter the site so that when you make it to the payment screen, a number is generated which locks in the order in which you submitted, then at a later time, say within 24 hours you can come back and complete the payment information. They sure we're able to transfer funds from my bank account with no delays.
 
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#8
Same site for Wonderland Trail. Do the other destinations take your $20 non-refundable just to get into the lottery as well? They make it sound like a bonus that there's no fee if you are selected, but everyone else just tossed money into the void.

Sent from my XT1575 using Tapatalk
 

Dave

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#9
The Glacier permit is pretty cheap by comparison to most every other lottery permit system, since you can essentially tell Glacier to give you anything they can within certain dates.

It sucks the site was unresponsive and it will probably kill my plans this year, but there are worse options out there. At least in Glacier you can still just show up and try to get something first come, first serve. Try doing that with a river launch.
 
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#11
I had a third reservation request that had seemed to go off into Never Never Land. However, I contacted them and voila I got two emails. One was a non-boilerplate apology email for my reservation getting lost in the shuffle and the other was an approved permit for my third request... so least it ended well. Now if I can just get wonderful weather for all three I picked!!
 

Dave

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#12
Interesting. I haven’t heard back on mine. Maybe I should call up there and shake the tree.
 
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#13
Interesting. I haven’t heard back on mine. Maybe I should call up there and shake the tree.
I was annoyed so I figured I was going to pester them till I heard one way or the other.
 

MikeM

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#15
Was just curious if you guys were able to get the permits you were looking to request a few months ago. I've noticed that, as expected, some spots are opening up daily in GNP. Might be worth looking to see if some backcountry sites are opening up, too. You have to check every morning, as I think they only update the availability once per day, but it's worth watching. Me and the family were looking at snatching a spot at Granite Park Chalet when cancellations come through.
 

Dave

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#16
My permit application was rejected. I’m still considering options but will likely not be able to do Glacier this year.
 

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