The plan to ration and limit the entry into one of Oregon’s most popular backcountry destinations is being delayed for a year due to COVID-19.
was set to begin on May 22. It would have put into effect day-use limits to 19 out of 79 trails and overnight limits to all trails in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters wilderness areas.
“Our focus has been on responding to COVID-19, and preparations for the permit system were delayed,” Willamette National Forest Supervisor Dave Warnack said. “We felt there was too much uncertainty for the public on when we might open the reservation system. Therefore, we made this difficult decision.”
The Deschutes and Willamette National Forests will delay the implementation of the limited entry permit system until May 2021.
More restrictive access limits are currently in place during the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service has authorized the closures of developed recreation sites across Oregon and Washington.
That includes trailheads, campgrounds, day use areas, cabin and fire lookout tower rentals, restroom facilities, and sno-parks. The closures are meant to align with the governors' stay at home orders in both Oregon and Washington.
One aspect of the Central Cascades Wilderness Strategies decision that will be implemented this year is elevational campfire bans. The ban all campfires above 6,000 feet elevation in Diamond Peak Wilderness and all campfires above 5,700-foot elevation in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, and Three Sisters wilderness areas, as well as some areas lower than 5,700 feet in elevation.
The Willamette National Forest will maintain the Pamelia and Obsidian limited entry areas, and both forests will maintain the free self-issue permit systems for entering the wilderness areas.