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South Warner Wilderness

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Area Management

The South Warner 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 South Warner 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 25 people.

-- No Wilderness permit is required, however, a California campfire permit is required.

-- Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any lake, stream, or trail.

-- Do not shortcut switchbacks.

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

-- Human waste must be disposed of at least 150 feet from any lake, stream, or trail.


-- Groups are limited to no more than 25 head of pack or saddle stock per party. Forest Supervisor may permit more animals through written approval.

-- Pelletized feed must be provided where adequate forage is not available. Transporting hay feed into the Wilderness is prohibited to prevent the spread of noxious weeds and non-native plant species.

-- No pack or saddle stock is permitted within 150 feet of lakes or streams except for loading, watering, or trail use.

-- Do not tether or picket pack or saddle stock within 150 feet of any lake, trail, or stream.

-- Tying pack of saddle stock as to cause injury to any tree, vegetation, or natural feature is prohibited.

-- Hobble, picket, or confine pack and saddle animals overnight in temporary corrals (rope or electric fence).

Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness.

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