To protect wilderness area values and characteristics, federal regulations have been published. These regulations prohibit specific acts and activities for all wilderness areas in the USA. They are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in section 36 CFR 261.
In addition other Forest Orders, which are enforced by the federal regulations, have been issued for certain activities for the wilderness areas on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. These Forest Orders were promulgated from specific wilderness area management plans.
Federal Regulations (36 CFR 261.18) for National Forest Wilderness
The following are prohibited in a National Forest Wilderness:
(a) Possessing or using a motor vehicle, motorboat or motorized equipment except as authorized by Federal Law or regulation.
(b) Possessing or using a hang glider or bicycle.
(c) Landing of aircraft, or dropping or picking up of any material, supplies, or person by means of aircraft, including a helicopter.
Note: Other regulations that also apply to wilderness areas can be found in the 36 CFR sections 261. This also includes drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Forest Orders for All Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Wilderness areas
The following are prohibited in all Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Wilderness:
Motorized /Mechanized: Possessing or using a wagon, cart or other wheeled vehicle is prohibited (Forest Order 242). Mechanized forms of transportation are incompatible with primitive wilderness characteristics and the legal definition of wilderness. Wheelchairs are exempt from this regulation.
Camping – Stay Limits: Camping in excess of 14 days within any 30 day period is prohibited (Forest Order 2010-0616-WW-12).
Feed, Straw, Grain and Mulch: Possessing, storing or transporting hay or crop products that are not state certified weed free, to include any hay, hay cubes, straw, grain or other crop or mulch product is prohibited. Note: This is a regional order for Oregon and Washington for all Forest Service land both in and out of wilderness, and State law for Idaho. Supplemental feed can be a source of weed seeds that are not a natural part of the wilderness ecosystem. Learn more about recreational and backcountry weed-free feed requirements.
Commercial Activities: All commercial activities except outfitter-guides operating under permit are prohibited. Commercial gain through wilderness is incompatible with the legal and ethical definition of wilderness.
Structures: Permanent structures are prohibited except for those of historical value. Wilderness is to remain wild where no sign of humans exists except that which is historical.
Cutting of Trees: Cutting or damaging any tree is prohibited. Both live and dead trees are a part of the natural ecosystem. Use dead and down wood for campfires.
Note: Other Forest Orders also apply to wilderness areas that can be found in the current Forest Order list.
Forest Orders for Hells Canyon Wilderness
The following are prohibited in Hells Canyon Wilderness:
Group Size: Entering or being in the wilderness area, or on the trails with more than 8 people and 16 head per party is prohibited (Forest Order 098-10). Large groups multiply impacts to the wilderness and disrupt the solitude of others.
Pack and Saddle Stock: Hitching or tethering of horse(s) or other saddle or pack animal(s) to trees at campsites except for the purposes of loading, unloading, saddling, and unsaddling is prohibited (Forest Order 400-01). Stock tied to trees damage the tree trunks, eat bark and dig out the protective soil around the roots.
Forest Orders for Eagle Cap Wilderness
The following are prohibited in Eagle Cap Wilderness (Forest Order 2017-0616-WWMO-001, Exhibit A, Exhibit B, and Exhibit C)
Permits: Entering or being in the Eagle Cap Wilderness without a permit is prohibited. Permits are being used to collect visitor use information only. Permits are self-issued at trailheads. There is no fee.
Group Size: Entering or being in the Eagle Cap Wilderness with a party of more than 12 persons and/or 18 head of stock is prohibited. Large groups multiply impacts to the wilderness and disrupt the solitude of others.
Camping and Group Size: Camping in the Lakes Basin Management Area with a party of more than 6 people and/or 9 head of stock is prohibited. Large groups are especially disruptive in a fragile heavily used environment.
Camping: Camping within 100 feet of lakes and 100 feet of posted wetlands is prohibited. Stream and lakeshore vegetation are fragile areas easily impacted by humans. Camping near lakes also restricts access to water for wildlife and reduces wilderness solitude for others.
- Building, maintaining, or attending, using a camp fire within 100 feet of lakes and 100 feet of posted wetlands are prohibited, unless the site is designated as a campsite.
- Building, maintaining, or attending, using a camp fire within 1/4 mile (1320 feet) of the following lakes is prohibited: Bear Lake (Bear Creek Area), Blue Lake, Chimney Lake, Dollar Lake, Eagle Lake, Frazier Lake, Little Frazier Lake, Glacier, Hobo Lake, Ice Lake, Jewett Lake, Laverty Lake, Maxwell Lake, Mirror Lake, Moccasin Lake, Prospect Lake, Steamboat Lake, Sunshine Lake, Swamp Lake, Tombstone Lake, Traverse Lake, and Upper Lake.
Campfires consume wood, kill vegetation, sterilizes soil, and scars the land. Decaying wood improves soil for future plant growth and provides insect and bird habitat.
Pack and Saddle Stock:
Grazing of horse(s) or other saddle or pack animal(s) within 200 feet of any lake is prohibited. These areas are sensitive to the effects of repeated grazing. Bacteria in the water source and damage to fragile vegetation can upset the natural balance of the lake.
Hitching or tethering of horse(s) or other saddle or pack animal(s) within 200 feet of all lakes and within 100 feet of all streams and posted wetlands is prohibited
Hitching or tethering of horse(s) or other saddle or pack animal(s) to trees at campsites in the Eagle Cap Wilderness except for the purposes of loading or unloading.
Restoration Sites: Entering any posted restoration site as closed is prohibited. These sensitive and damaged areas have been replanted to restore natural condition.