Deschutes, Willamette National Forests to implement wilderness permit system


The Deschutes and Willamette National Forests announced today that the two forests will implement a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit System this year.

The initial implementation of the permit system was delayed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning Friday, May 28 and ending on Friday, September 24, day-use permits will be required for 19 out of 79 trails in the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three Sisters wilderness areas.

During the same period, overnight-use permits will be required for all trails in those same three wilderness areas.

There are some exceptions for PCT hikers, volunteers, and hunters. More information about the permits can be found here:

Those trailheads will have daily quotas.

At Todd Lake, for example, 12 individuals per day can leave from the Todd Lake Trailhead into the wilderness.

The permit system would not have any effect on people who want to drive up to the trailhead and hike around the lake.

“We just want people to spread out across time and space and still enjoy these wilderness areas and be good stewards of them,” said Jean-Nelson Dean, a Deschutes National Forest spokeswoman. “We’re also hoping people start thinking about how much they enjoy the outdoors and how much they enjoy their experiences this summer when they got outside and all of that translates to them being better stewards.”

Reservations for the permits will open at 7 a.m. on April 6 at .

The Forest Service encourages everyone to “go on-line don’t stand in line”.

Permits will be available in the following way:

  • Overnight Use Availability:
    • 40% full season available on April 6.
    • 60% available on a 7-day rolling window.
  • Day Use Availability:
    • 20-50% of a trailhead’s full season will be available on April 6.
    • 50-80% of a trailhead’s permits will be available on a 7-day rolling window to allow for people to take more spontaneous trips.

Day-use permits are $1 per person/use. Overnight use permits are $6 per person/use.

Reservations can also be made by calling 1-877-444-6777. Individuals can also get permits at Deschutes and Willamette National Forest offices, but it should be noted due to COVID, National Forest offices may be closed to the public.

People should call the office ahead of time to make sure it is open.

Processing fees will be applied to the permits regardless of how they are reserved. Day-use permits will be charged $1.00 per permit per person. Overnight-use permits will be charged $6.00 per trip. Overnight permits can include up to 12 people for a trip of up to 14 days.




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