Wilderness permit program sees changes
Last updated 2/23/2022 at Noon
The Central Cascades Wilderness Permit System will see some changes, designed to improve the permit system following last summer’s implementation.
According to the Forest Service, the changes will increase permit opportunities for the public and simplify the permit reservation system.
The permit season will change to June 15 through October 15 every year rather than the Friday before Memorial Day through the last Friday in September. This change aligns the permit season with the actual season of use. Last year, the Forest Service reported, people had permits in early June that were unusable due to snow and road conditions while the wildernesses were accessible in early October.
Day-use permits will not be available for full season advanced reservations. All-day use permits will be released in a 10-day and two-day rolling window during the permit season. Last summer there was a significant number of “no-shows,” primarily caused by people making advanced permit reservations and not using their reservation.
The overnight permit system has changed the most. The overnight permit quota is now based on the date of entry — meaning there is a daily entry quota for each trailhead allowing new groups to start their trip each day. This simplifies the reservation system because people will not have to block out all the days of their planned trip. The 14-day maximum stay limit will remain in place.
Reservations for the overnight permits will begin on the first Tuesday in April (April 5) and 40 percent of overnight permits will be available for advanced reservation. Once the permit season begins, the remaining 60 percent of overnight permits will be available in a seven-day rolling window
Permit quotas will slightly increase for most trailheads.
Hunters will continue to use their valid tag, issued through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, without having to secure a separate wilderness permit. A valid hunting tag allows the hunter and three additional support people into the wilderness permit area from one day before to one day after the season for the species-specific tag.
Wilderness permits are required for all overnight use within the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three Sisters wilderness areas. Day-use permits are required on 19 of 79 trailheads within those same three wilderness areas.
All reservations for Central Cascades Wilderness Permits must be made through http://www.Recreation.gov either online, via the Recreation.gov app on mobile devices, or by calling their call center at 1-877-444-6777 or TDD 877-833-6777. Search for “Central Cascades Wilderness.”
There continues to be a $1 processing charge for day-use permits per individual and a $6 processing charge for overnight-use permits per group. An overnight group can be from one to 12 people.
To check for updated information visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/