Wilderness

The Siuslaw National Forest is home to three small wildernesses established in 1984.

These areas feature coastal forests of old growth Sitka spruce, western hemlock and Douglas fir marked by wet winters and dense vegetation. These wilderness areas are not the typical high country alpine wilderness areas people often think of as wilderness. They are:

  • small
  • with short or no trail system
  • and offer limited overnight camping and hiking opportunities

Instead, they offer a unique opportunity to experience the quiet and solitude of old growth Coastal forests: big gifts in small packages!


View Larger Map

Wilderness Regulations & Guidelines

Stock use and mechanized equipment is prohibited on the Siuslaw National Forest wilderness areas

Guidelines for Visiting Wilderness

Group Size
The activities of large groups can affect the solitude of others and can increase impacts in and around campsites and near water.

  • Visit wilderness in the smallest groups possible.

  • Large groups should split to conform to group size limits (no more than 12 people) and plan on traveling and camping separately.

  • Make extra effort to minimize all unnecessary noise and impacts from large groups.

Length of Stay
The Wilderness Act defines wilderness as a place where "man is a visitor who does not remain."

  • The Drift Creek, Cummins and Rock Creek Wilderness Areas are very small and best preserved by short stays or day use.

  • Experience wilderness as a visitor whose presence is temporary.

Camping
Aquatic habitats and riparian ecosystems immediately adjacent to water are sensitive to human-caused impacts and critical to the survival of native species in wilderness. Lakes and streams are enjoyed by both overnight and day users, and camps placed too close to the water can block access to others. Trail corridors are the means of travel for those seeking wilderness solitude, and camps placed along side the trails can add to a sense of crowding in popular areas.

  • Camp away from lakes, streams, and trails to minimize resource impacts and allow others to experience recreation and solitude in wilderness. Limit the length of your stay and restore your campsite when departing to remove evidence of your visit.

Human Waste
Improper disposal of human waste can cause water pollution, harm wildlife and fish, and affect the wilderness experience of others.

  • Bring the necessary and appropriate tools and equipment, such as a spade, small trowel, waste disposal bag, or portable toilet, to be able to dispose of waste properly.

  • Locate 'cat holes' or group latrines at least 200 feet away from water, camps, and trails.

  • Never leave waste or toilet paper exposed on the ground.

Campfires
Woody debris is an important part of the soil's nutrient recycling process to help maintain natural conditions. Where visitors' use of the firewood supply exceeds what is available, significant and long term impacts can occur, such as removing limbs and stripping bark from live trees, and removing woody material used as habitat by wildlife. Evidence of campfires, such as blackening of rocks, is one of the longest lasting, most visible, human impacts to the wilderness resource.

  • Use a stove, lantern or candle. When campfires are permitted and needed, keep fires small, limit the use of firewood to just what is necessary, and gather at a distance from your site.

  • Use fire pans or fire blankets to reduce impacts to your campsite.

Dogs
Loose dogs can harass wildlife and pose a potential risk to wilderness visitors and recreation livestock. In addition, loose dogs can become lost, injured, or attacked by predators in wilderness.

  • Consider leaving your dog at home.

  • Keep dogs on a leash, or under voice control.

Bear Protection
Improper food storage practices can attract bears and other wildlife into camps and create an unsafe situation for visitors, recreation livestock, and the bears. Bears that become habituated to human food often need to be destroyed.

  • Learn and use safe food storage techniques.

Competitive Events
Competitive events are not allowed in wilderness because they typically are not a wilderness dependent activity. This activity is inconsistent with providing opportunities for primitive recreation or solitude, as required by the Wilderness Act, and there is potential for unnecessary increases in resource impacts and large groups affecting the wilderness experience of others.

  • Contact the local national forest office to determine if there is a non-wilderness location on the national forest suitable for the competitive event.

Wagons, Carts and Other Vehicles
Wagons, carts, and other vehicles are considered forms of mechanical transport and therefore included in the 'Prohibited Uses' section of the Wilderness Act. The exclusion of mechanical transportation equipment is consistent with the concept of primitive recreation, meaning human or animal-powered transportation without the use of a wheel as a mechanical advantage. The one exception to this definition, by law, is wheel chairs. If they are suitable for indoor pedestrian use, they are allowed in wilderness.

  • Plan to visit wilderness on foot, skis, or non-motorized watercraft.

Short Cutting Switchbacks
Cutting switchbacks, or not staying on trails, causes unnecessary erosion, additional repair work for trail crews, and affects the wilderness experience of others.

  • Where trails are provided, confine travel to existing routes to limit unnecessary impacts and encourage others to do the same.

Litter and Debris Disposal
Littering in wilderness affects the experiences of other visitors and the health of wildlife.

  • Pack out what you pack in and help preserve wilderness character by packing out the litter of others too.

Bottles or Cans
In certain environments, such as river/lake-based wilderness, disposal of bottles and cans in the water can be a significant hazard to humans and aquatic life.

  • Refrain from bringing bottles and cans into the wilderness by re-packaging food into light-weight, reusable containers that are packed out when empty.

Contact the Siuslaw National Forest