How might we improve the lottery system?



What if there was a way to (marginally) improve your lottery odds and also contribute to conservation efforts?

There are more people recreating outside than ever before, leading to lottery systems that are used to manage visitation. It’s a challenging problem, with no easy solutions.  What if you could earn bonus entries by participating in local conservation efforts? Imagine this. You attend a local trail cleanup or volunteering opportunity and provide your email to the organizer. You get home, and *ping!* you get a notification from the app that you’ve earned a bonus lottery entry.

Naturally, there would need to be some sort of limit (let’s just say 5) per year, but you could then apply these additional entries to lottery applications. So, if you *really* want to get an Enchantments permit, maybe you apply 3 additional “entries” when you submit your lottery application. Or, you go all in on that Selway permit.


I’m sure there would be detractors to this approach. Would it create additional inequalities by favoring recreationalists that have the time/means to volunteer? Would it have a positive impact on local conservation efforts or incentivize a type of person who’s not there to participate or learn, and rather just to get their “reward”? The reality is that an approach like this still isn’t guaranteed to snag you a permit. We’re not talking Mega Millions odds here, but there’s still 20k+ people applying for 63 Selway River permits each year.

There would be a significant amount of development and logistical work required to make this a reality. It’s dependent on a database of approved and organized volunteer opportunities (inside, as well as a human component requiring organizers to upload emails in some fashion. This could probably be ameliorated with the use of a custom QR code per event or something, but still, significant overall effort.

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