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Mount Baker Wilderness

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Area Management

The Mount Baker 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 Mount Baker 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 12, in any combination of people and pack or saddle stock. Dogs are not counted as part of the group size limit.

-- Camping is prohibited within 1 mile slope distance from the following lakes, except at designated sites: Mazama Lake, Iceberg Lake, Hayes Lake, Arbuthnot Lake, Chain Lakes Trail (#682), Ptarmigan Ridge Trail (#682.1), Yellow Aster Butte Trail (#686.1).

-- Campfires are prohibited within one mile slope distance of the following trails: Lake Ann Trail (#600), Heliotrope Ridge Trail (#677), (HogsBack Route #677.1), High Divide Trail (#630), Excelsior Trail (#670), Welcome Pass Trail (#698), High Pass Trail (#676), Skyline Divide Trail (#678), Yellow Aster Meadows Trail (#699), Yellow Aster Butte Trail (#686.1), Ptarmigan Ridge Trail (#682.1), Chain Lakes Trail (#682), Winchester Mtn Trail (#685), Goat Mtn Trail (#673), Table Mtn Trail (#681), Hannegan Pass Trail (#674), Hannegan Peak Trail (#674.1), Ruth Arm Trail (#674.2). Stoves are approved.

-- Do not shortcut switchbacks.

-- Do not enter areas closed for restoration.

-- Do not cut standing green trees, snags, and boughs for firewood or other purposes.

-- Pack out all debris, garbage, or other waste. If you are in an area where fires are allowed, remove all non-combustibles such as foil and glass from fire rings. Never put litter into a backcountry toilet.

-- Caching or storing equipment, personal property, or supplies longer than 48 hours is prohibited.


-- Certified weed free hay, grain, or other forms of livestock feed is required on all Wilderness trails and at trailheads.

-- Grazing, hitching, or tethering of pack or saddle stock within 200 feet of lakes is prohibited. Watering is permitted.

-- Do not tie pack or saddle stock directly to living or dead trees. The use of highlines, hobbles, and/or movable pickets will help to prevent damage to trees and other vegetation.

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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