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Welcome Creek Wilderness

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Area Management

The Welcome Creek 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 Welcome Creek 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 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 for more specific information about the regulations listed.


-- Party size is limited to no more than 10 people.

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

-- Mechanical transportation (including wagons, game carts, or other vehicles) is prohibited.

The following information is applicable between April 1 and December 1:

-- All human, pet, and livestock food (except bailed or cubed hay without additives) and garbage must be stored in approved bear-resistant containers, attended, or hung at least 10 feet off the ground and four feet out from any upright support (trees, poles, etc.).

-- Attractants cannot be burned in an open campfire, buried, or discarded.

-- All wildlife carcasses, birds, fish or other animal parts that are within 0.5 mile of any camp must be stored in an approved bear resistant manner during the nighttime hours or when otherwise unattended.


-- Overnight visitors cannot occupy a single location for a period longer than 16 consecutive days within a 30-day period. Any camp relocation within the 30-day period must be at a distance of at least 5 air miles from the previous campsite. This applies to people, equipment, personal property, and supplies.

-- Camping for more than 45 accumulated days on the Missoula Ranger District within the same calendar year is prohibited.


-- Using more than 10 head of pack or saddle stock in any group is prohibited.

-- All pack or saddle stock feed must be certified weed seed free. Weed seed free products must be certified as being noxious weed 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 reference the written certification.

-- Grazing of pack and saddle stock without providing for and using supplemental feed is prohibited due to limited availability of natural forage. Overnight users must provide at least 10 pounds of hay or pelletized supplemental weed seed free feed per animal per day.

-- Possessing or using a pack and saddle stock on the following trails is prohibited: Twin Lakes Tr. #330, Boulder Lake Tr. #333 (segment from jct. with Tr. #504 to Boulder Lake, only), Glacier Lake Tr. #327 and Fly Lake Tr. #336.

-- The responsible party shall report the death and location of livestock to a Forest Service official within 24 hours of discovery.

Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness.

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