Wilderness FAQs

WHAT IS A WILDERNESS AREA?

Legislated wilderness is an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled or unchanged by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain (1964 Wilderness Act).

Some of the key elements in a wilderness setting are solitude and freedom. These essential qualities are most sensitive to visitor behavior and the degree of restrictions placed on the use of a wilderness.

To avoid over-regulation, wilderness management must rely on the wilderness user to assume the responsibility to practice appropriate back country techniques. For example, large groups are particularly disruptive to the quality of solitude. Even day use by large groups (15 and over) can sharply reduce other users' solitude.

Learn a NO TRACE camping ethic which leaves the wilderness setting the same as you discovered it when you arrived. Think of others who are seeking their own quality of solitude and minimize your presence in the wilderness.

ARE THERE ACTIVITY EXCEPTIONS ADDRESSED IN THE 1964 WILDERNESS ACT?

Yes, Congress did recognize that wilderness may not be an area that is absolutely pristine and undisturbed, an area that has never felt the imprint of humans. When Congress passed the Wilderness Act of 1964, they recognized that such areas may exist.

The Act defines (in part) a wilderness as an area of undeveloped federal land that "generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable." Provisions were made as exceptions to the rule for such activities as grazing livestock, mining minerals, and building trails.

ARE HUNTING AND FISHING ALLOWED IN THE WILDERNESS AREA?

In Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management wilderness areas, hunting and fishing are governed by appropriate state laws. In National Park Service wilderness areas, there are special restrictions on these activities. Please inquire at local offices for more information.

SHOULD PETS BE BROUGHT INTO THE WILDERNESS AREAS?

Pets are generally allowed in wilderness areas. However, you should recognize that they may be bothersome and dangerous to the wildlife in the area and sometimes to other visitors. As such, pets must be kept under your control at all times. In most instances relating to national forests, prohibitions will likely be posted on the entry signs. Inquire at the local ranger district offices for specific regulations.

CAN I VOLUNTEER MY SERVICE TO HELP MANAGE THE WILDERNESS RESOURCE?

Yes. All federal agencies charged with the responsibility of managing the public wilderness lands need volunteer assistance to supplement their programs. Volunteers are needed for wilderness patrols, trailhead contacts, community education sessions, fire history studies, water quality sampling, wildlife monitoring, trail maintenance and more. Some specialized programs are available, such as the Wilderness Information Specialist (WIS) and Adopt-A-Trail programs developed by the Forest Service.

OTHER WILDERNESS RESOURCES





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tonto/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5163403