Saturday, July 01, 2017

Plan Would Limit Entry To Key Oregon Wilderness Areas

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing sweeping new rules that would limit the number of people allowed into five of Oregon’s most popular wilderness areas. A sharp increase in crowds — and environmental damage that’s followed — has led the agency to propose major changes to the way people access Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, Three Sisters, Waldo Lake and Diamond Peak wilderness areas. Under the proposal, any person backpacking or hiking into the five wilderness areas would likely need a permit purchased in advance. Backpackers spending the night would need a permit regardless of where they entered or chose to camp. Day-hikers would need a permit if they entered from one of the 40 trailheads near highways 22, 242 and 46 (see full list of trailheads below). Permits would cost between $6 and $12, and only a limited amount would be available. The number of permits granted is still to be decided. Rules could be implemented by summer of 2019...more 

Federal law defines wilderness as a place "where man himself is a visitor who does not remain".

Well now he is a paid and permitted visitor with limited access, as the management prescription is seemingly always to restrict our access. There is no remaining, because you were never there in the first place.

 If these areas were not designated wilderness, and were managed instead for their recreational values, a vast array of management techniques would be available to allow more visitors while still protecting the resource. But those options aren't available on 109 million acres of wilderness, including 765 areas in 44 states. That's an area larger than the land area of 11 of our states combined where access is slowly but surely being shut off.

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