Umatilla NF FAQs

What is the difference between the Forest Service, the National Park Service, Department of Natural Resources, and State parks?

The Forest Service manages the National Forests, and is dedicated to management for multiple uses and benefits, and for the sustained yield of renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, wood, and recreation. Multiple use means managing resources under the best combination of uses to benefit the people, while ensuring the productivity of the land and protecting the environment.

The National Park Service focuses on preservation. The agency manages National Park system areas to preserve, unimpaired, the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this, and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

Washington State Parks are similar to National Parks but are managed on a state level and have different regulations. There are 125 state parks in Washington. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission acquires, operates, enhances, and protects a diverse system of recreational, cultural, historical and natural sites.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources is a state agency whose role is to protect and manage many valuable assets that belong to the residents of Washington State including 5 million acres of land. The DNR mission is to provide professional, forward - looking stewardship of our state lands, natural resources, and environment, and to provide leadership in creating a sustainable future for the trusts and all citizens. A principal focus is providing revenue for the state school system.


What is a Wilderness area?

According to the Wilderness Act of 1964, wilderness areas are where earth and its community of life remains untrammeled, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. Some mark is left in wilderness each time we visit, but each of us can make sure the mark is a small one. Minimum impact or no-trace camping should be considered common sense behavior in the backcountry.

Permits are required if one plans to enter the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. They are free, self-issuing, and are available at all trailheads. To enter the Enchantments (a part of the Alpine Lake Wilderness), a reserved permit is required. This must be obtained in advance, though some may be issued for day of use entry at the Leavenworth Ranger Station. See the Wenatchee National Forest website.

For all other wilderness areas within the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, no permit is needed; however, if you cross onto National Park Service land and stay overnight, a free self-issuing permit is required. If you park at a trailhead on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, a Northwest Forest Pass is required.


Do I need a permit to recreate on Forest Service land?

It depends on your type of recreation, your destination, and some other variables, different permits may apply.

A Northwest Forest Pass is required if you are parking at or within a quarter mile of many Umatilla National Forest trailheads. It is also valid in any national forest in Washington or Oregon and in the North Cascades National Park. The cost is $30 for an annual pass and $5 for a day pass. The money goes directly towards trail and trailhead maintenance. They can be purchased at any Forest Service office and at many local vendors.

Golden age and Golden access pass holders do receive 50% off the Northwest Forest Pass. Golden age, and access passes can be purchased at Forest Service and Park Service offices. For more information, contact the office you plan to purchase a pass from.

Other permits:

Sno-Park Permit: The state of Oregon requires Sno-Park permits during winter in certain mountain recreation areas. Proceeds keep Oregon's winter recreation areas accessible. Permits are available at Department of Motor Vehicles offices, local ski shops and area lift ticket offices. There are two types of Sno-Park permits available; one is a season access to all Sno-Parks in Oregon and the other is a day pass to any Sno-Park.


Why are Forest Passes needed?

Only a very small percentage of federal tax dollars now go toward maintenance of campgrounds, trails, and other federal recreation facilities. Appropriated dollars cover only a part of the total need. Maintenance of facilities depends on volunteers, partnerships, concessionaires, and others who help to make up the funding shortfall. As recreation activity continues to increase, the impact from visitors requires additional work to maintain recreation facilities and natural resources. Whether on foot, horseback, motorized vehicles, water rafting, or climbing - all of these activities creat some impact or damage to the facilities or to the land. Those who recreate in national forests carry a special responsibility to assist in the upkeep.


Where can I find information on Forest trail and road conditions?

Most forest roads and trails are inaccessible during the winter months. Because it's difficult to access these areas to gather information during this time, the forest does not issue an updated Recreation Report. Beginning in late spring and through late fall, you can find the most up to date information of campgrounds, cabins, roads and trails on our web recreation report.

How do I locate an established campground, dispersed campsite, or cabin?

Most recreational camping takes place between Memorial Day and Labor Day, however, numerous sites and campgrounds are open from May to October. Sites tend to be busy on weekends and especially on holiday weekends so plan accordingly. Please contact a Forest Service office near where you plan to visit for additional information on current fire danger, directions, and fees. Umatilla National Forest Campground Information

All established campgrounds in the Umatilla National Forest are first come first serve so plan ahead.

Dispersed Campsites: This qualifies as any place in the forest that is not posted as a designated campground. Unless it lies within a quarter mile of a trailhead, dispersed campsites are free, no pass is required, and are first come first serve. There is a limit of no more than 14 days, out of any 30-day period on this Forest. Call local Forest Service offices for current status on campfire restrictions.

Cabin Rentals:


Are pets allowed on Umatilla National Forest trails and in the campgrounds?

Pets must always be restrained or on a leash while in developed recreation sites and on trails. Pets (except guide dogs) are not allowed in swimming areas. Saddle or pack animals are allowed in recreation sites only where authorized by posted instructions.. top

Where on the forest can I use off road vehicles (ORV, ATV), snowmobiles, and bicycles?



Where in the Umatilla National Forest can I get information to cut firewood? Posts and Poles? A Christmas tree? Pick mushrooms?

Permits for cutting personal-use Firewood go on sale in May. Christmas tree permits go on sale in November. Both are available at most Forest Service offices and at many local vendors. A map of the permissible cutting areas is available at all permit sale locations. All of these areas are accessed by gravel-surfaced roads.


What are the fishing, hunting, and firearm regulations in the Umatilla National Forest?

The Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife regulates hunting and fishing activities even on National Forest land. Find the rules and regulations on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

Firearms: Firing a gun is not allowed: a) In or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area b) Across or on a road or body of water c) In any circumstance whereby a person may be injured or property damaged.