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Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness

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Area Management

The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness is part of the 110 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 Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.

Bureau of Land Management Information

Unless otherwise specified, no motorized equipment or mechanical transport, with the exception of wheelchairs, is allowed. This is generally true for all federal lands managed as designated wilderness.

Forest Service Information

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.


General Wilderness

Maximum party size is 20 persons.

Debris and garbage must either be completely burned or packed out.

Shortcutting trail switch-backs is prohibited.

Camping in areas outside the river corridors for more than 14 consecutive days within 45 day period is not allowed.

Storing equipment, property or supplies more than 14 consecutives within a 45 day period is not allowed.

Placing salt to attract wildlife is not allowed.

No wagon, cart or other vehicle (including "game carts") is allowed within the wilderness.

Main and Middle Fork of the Salmon River Corridors

Camping in the Middle Fork Wild and Scenic River Corridor is limited to no more than 8 days.

Camping in the Salmon Wild and Scenic River Corridor is limited to no more than 14 days.

All visitors are required to use portable toilets and pack out all human waste.

All visitors must use a fire pan for fires in the river corridors.

Public nudity is not allowed in the Salmon River and Middle Fork River Corridors.

Overnight camping within a 250 yard radius of Barth Hot Springs is not allowed.

Landing aircraft, dropping or picking up any supplies, materials, or person by means of an aircraft or helicopter is not allowed within the Salmon Wild and Scenic River corridor.

Chamberlain Airstrip

Within a 1/4 mile of the Chamberlain airstrip, building, maintaining, attending or using open (uncontained) fire outside of a fire ring provided by the Forest Service or without using a fire pan is prohibited.


All hay, grain, straw, cubes, pelletized feed or mulch must be certified as being noxious weed free or noxious seed free by an authorized State of Department of Agriculture official or designated county official; each individual bale or container must be tagged or marked as weed free and must reference the written certification.

Saddle or pack stock on any trail must be ridden or led in single file (no free-trailing of stock).

Maximum number of stock per party or group is 20 head.

Livestock salt should be fully contained off the soil surface.

Do not ride, hitch, tether, or hobble pack or saddle stock in the Chamberlain airstrip campground, except at designated sites.

Within 200 ft of Crescent Meadows, Fish Lake Meadow, and Cougar Basin: Grazing or camping with stock for more than 3 nights within a 30 day period is not allowed; Individuals or groups may not possess more than 12 head of stock when camping.


A permit is required for all watercraft on the waters of the Middle Fork and Salmon River.

A permit is required to enter or to be on the Salmon Wild and Scenic River with a power boat.

The possession or use of prohibited water craft such as jet skiis, air boats, hover craft, etc., in the Salmon Wild River Corridor is not allowed.

Solid waste must be removed from the Wild and Scenic River corridors.

Fires are restricted to fire pans and all garbage must be packed out of the river corridors.

Camping is limited in the Middle Fork Corridor to 8 days. Camping is limited in the Salmon River corridor to 14 days.

Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness.

Wilderness Permit System

A wilderness permit system has been implemented for this wilderness. This involves a use limiting permit system with quotas and reservations. Wilderness permit systems are implemented to collect information on use levels and patterns and as an education and information tool. Use limiting systems are implemented after monitoring has determined that current use levels are resulting in unacceptable impacts to the resource and/or to the wilderness recreation experience. These systems help distribute visitor use throughout the season and help minimize crowded conditions at popular areas. People interested in visiting the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness should contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more information about this permit system, which may vary by location or time of the year.


The following user fee system(s) have been implemented for this wilderness: RIVER PERMIT. 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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