News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Wilderness-permit program to move ahead

Those venturing into the Sisters Country wilderness may need to secure a permit as a long-delayed program goes into effect this summer.

The Deschutes and Willamette National Forests announced last week that the two forests will move forward with implementing the Central Cascades Wilderness Permit System this year. The initial implementation of the permit system was delayed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning Friday, May 28 and ending on Friday, September 24, day-use permits will be required for 19 out of 79 trails in the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three Sisters wilderness areas. During the same period, overnight-use permits will be required for all trails in those same three wilderness areas. There are some exceptions for Pacific Crest Trail hikers, volunteers, and hunters.

According to the Forest Service, the permitting system is being implemented to manage the impact of increased wilderness traffic, which has exploded in recent years. According to the Forest Service — and many wilderness adventurers — human impacts are significantly degrading the environment and the experience of the wilderness.

More information about the permits can be found at

Reservations for the permits will open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at

Permits will be available in the following way:

Overnight use availability:

• 40 percent full season available on Tuesday, April 6.

• 60 percent available on a seven-day rolling window.

Day use availability:

• 20 to 50 percent of a trailhead’s full season will be available on Tuesday, April 6.

• 50 to 80 percent of a trailhead’s permits will be available on a 7-day rolling window to allow for people to take more spontaneous trips.

Reservations can also be made by calling 1-877-444-6777. Individuals can also get permits at Deschutes and Willamette National Forest offices, but it should be noted that, due to COVID-19, National Forest offices may be closed to the public. People should call the office ahead of time to make sure it is open.

Processing fees will be applied to the permits regardless of how they are reserved. Day-use permits will be charged $1 per permit per person. Overnight-use permits will be charged $6 per trip. Overnight permits can include up to 12 people for a trip of up to 14 days.


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