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Sipsey Wilderness

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Area Management

The Sipsey 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 Sipsey 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.


Riding, hitching, tethering, or hobbling a horse or other saddle, or pack animal except upon roads open to vehicular traffic or those roads, trails, and/or areas, which are designated and signed open to equestrian use. 36 CFR 261.58 (aa)

1. Entering or being in the area with or on a saddle, pack or draft animal, except on designated trails specifically singed for such use. 36 CFR 261.57 (a)

2. Entering or being in the area for the purpose of collecting animals or plants for educational studies. 36 CFR 261.57 (a)

3. Possessing any type of firework(s). 36 CFR 261.57 (c)

4. The grazing of unauthorized livestock. 36 CFR 261.57 (e)

5. Storing equipment, personal property or supplies. 36 CFR 261.57 (f)

6. Disposing of debris, garbage or other waste. 36 CFR 261.57 (g)

7. Camping for a period longer than seven (7) days. 36 CFR 261.58 (a)

8. Camping with saddle, pack or draft animals except at designated campsites. 36 CFR 261.58 (e)

9. Entering or being in the area as a member of a group or party in excess of ten (10) people. 36 CFR 261.57 (a)

Going into, or being in caves designated as closed for the protection of endangered, threatened, or rare species of animals. 36 CFR 261.53 (a) and (b)

Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness.


The following user fee system(s) have been implemented for this wilderness: TRAILHEAD PARKING. Fees are most often used to offset the operating costs of a permit system or to help fund management activities such as trail maintenance. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information on this fee system.

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