Central Cascades Wilderness Limited Entry System Delayed

Forests delay implementation of Central Cascades Wilderness limited entry system

Springfield and Bend, Ore. – After much consideration, the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests will delay the implementation of the Central Cascades Wilderness limited entry permit system until May 2021.

“Given many logistical constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are delaying our implementation until next year,” said Deschutes National Forest Supervisor Holly Jewkes.

The Central Cascades Wildernesses limited entry system was set to begin on May 22, 2020 and would bring day-use limits to 19 out of 79 trails and overnight limits to all trails in the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness.  

“Our focus has been on responding to COVID-19, and preparations for the permit system were delayed,” said Willamette National Forest Supervisor Dave Warnack. “We felt there was too much uncertainty for the public on when we might open the reservation system. Therefore, we made this difficult decision.”

One aspect of the Central Cascades Wilderness Strategies decision, which will be implemented this year is the elevational campfire ban. The ban includes:

  • All campfires are banned above 5,700’ elevation in Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three Sisters Wildernesses, as well as some areas lower than 5,700’
  • All campfires are banned above 6,000’ elevation in Diamond Peak Wilderness.

Other than the elevational fire ban, the wilderness areas will be managed this year as they were previously. The Willamette National Forest will maintain the Pamelia and Obsidian limited entry areas, and both forests will maintain the free self-issue permit systems for entering the wildernesses.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding delay in Central Cascades Wilderness Limited Entry System

Why is it being delayed?

Over the last two months, we had to turn our focus to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic rather than finalizing some logistics needed to implement the permit system. We recognize we still have many tasks to safely open our developed recreation sites in the next several weeks. Given these challenges, we felt we could not offer the public enough certainty on the permit system this year or provide the needed training to employees to smoothly begin the permit process. After a lot of consideration of different options for implementing this year, we decided the best option for both the public and our employees was to delay implementation until 2021.

Will you possibly delay it again next year?

No. We will implement the limited entry system for the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington and Three Sisters wildernesses next year. The unprecedented situation with COVID-19 and the uncertainties it has brought to our management has impacted us, however, we will have adequate time to finalize everything we need to implement the system next year.

Is it being delayed because people were not happy with the decision?

No. The decision about implementation was made last May and many people had a range of opinions about the decision, both positive and negative. The only reason implementation is being delayed is because we felt we could not implement this year without creating uncertainty and confusion for the public. With this decision, we can clearly communicate to the public what to expect.

How can I stay informed about the implementation?

Both forests will send out periodic social media messages concerning the implementation and will further educate the public as we get closer to the implementation date. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @WillametteNF and @DesNatForest. Additional information about the Central Cascades Wilderness permit system is also available on our websites: www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and www.fs.usda.gov/willamette.

What about Pamelia and Obsidian Limited Entry Areas. Will I need permits to visit those areas?

Yes, the both the Pamelia and Obsidian Limited Entry Areas will be in effect this year, as they have for the past 20+ years. Permits will continue to be available on www.recreation.gov although we have yet to determine the date that we will open the system for reserving permits.


Links to Documents about the implementation of the Central Cascades Limited Entry Permit System

FAQs with Quota Tables (pdf)

Permit System Brochure (pdf)

Mt. Jefferson Map (pdf)

Mt. Washington Map (pdf)

Three Sisters West Map (pdf)

Three Sisters East Map (pdf)