Partner logos: Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, National Park Service, University of Montana Logo
Connecting federal employees, scientists, educators, and the public with their wilderness heritage

Bell Mountain Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Images

Area Management

The Bell Mountain Wilderness is part of the 109 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Bell Mountain Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.

General Wilderness Prohibitions

Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.

In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information.

These general prohibitions have been implemented for all national forest wildernesses in order to implement the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act requires management of human-caused impacts and protection of the area's wilderness character to insure that it is "unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness." Use of the equipment listed as prohibited in wilderness is inconsistent with the provision in the Wilderness Act which mandates opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation and that wilderness is a place that is in contrast with areas where people and their works are dominant.

Wilderness-Specific Regulations

Wilderness managers often need to take action to limit the impacts caused by visitor activities in order to protect the natural conditions of wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Managers typically implement 'indirect' types of actions such as information and education measures before selecting more restrictive measures. When regulations are necessary, they are implemented with the specific intent of balancing the need to preserve the character of the wilderness while providing for the use and enjoyment of wilderness.

The following wilderness regulations are in effect for this area. Not all regulations are in effect for every wilderness. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information about the regulations listed.


-- Group size is limited to no more than 10 people per party.

-- Overnight visitors cannot occupy any single location longer than 14 days within a 21 day period.

-- Do not camp within 50 feet of any water source, trail, cave, rock shelter, or occupied campsite.

-- Do not enter caves unless the cave is posted open.

-- Campfires or wood-burning stoves are prohibited within 50 feet of trails.

-- Completely extinguish all campfires.

-- Storing equipment, personal property, or supplies (caching) is prohibited.

-- Pack out all debris, garbage, or other waste.

-- Do not place pollutants into any water source (including biodegradable soaps).

-- Public nudity is prohibited.

-- Do not discharge a firearm within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, across or on a Forest Development road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage.

-- Using, possessing, or occupying any permanent, elevated device for the purpose of hunting is prohibited. Using, possessing, or occupying any unlabeled portable elevated device for the purpose of hunting is also prohibited.

-- Using, possessing, or occupying a portable tree stand 15 days after the close of archery season to 15 days prior to the opening of archery season.


-- Hitching or tethering pack or saddle stock directly to live trees is prohibited.

Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness.