Sno-Park locations • PDF Maps • Rules • Permits • Trail Etiquette • Wilderness Areas • Advisory Committee
Wilderness….A special place
Established by Congress through the Wilderness Act of 1964, "Wilderness" is a special land designation
within USDA National Forests and certain other federal lands. These areas were designated so that an untouched
area of our wild lands could be maintained in a natural state. Also, they were set aside as places where
people could get away from the sights and sounds of modern civilization and where elements of our cultural
history could be preserved.
Wilderness, as defined by the Act, "has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined
type of recreation." The law prohibits the use of mechanized or motorized equipment, including snowmobiles, in
Wilderness Areas (36CFR261.16a). Local managers have no latitude in this matter, except in emergencies. The law
states that possession or use of motorized equipment in Wilderness Areas is punishable by up to $500 and/or six
months in jail (36CFR261.1b). Unfortunately, each year more and more people are riding snowmobiles into designated
Wilderness Areas, which is a major concern for land managers, the public and many snowmobile groups. This may be
for a variety of reasons; many snowmobilers may not know where the Wilderness boundaries are or may not realize
that an area is closed.
Invasive plants, including noxious weeds, are a serious threat to natural areas. They out-compete native plants,
degrade wildlife habitat, and reduce soil and water quality. They also cause economic losses in natural areas by
reducing aesthetics and recreational opportunities. While these weeds can be extremely difficult to remove once
they've established anywhere - cropland, rangeland, yards, abandoned lots - they are especially hard to detect
and then eradicate in Wilderness Areas. The Forest Service passed an order [36 CFR 261.58(t)] to help prevent the
introduction of new weed seeds into designated Wilderness Areas. Effective Jan. 1, 2007, forage transported into
all Wilderness Areas and adjacent trailheads in a national forest is required to be commercially processed feed
pellets or certified weed-free hay or straw. Recreational stock users, dog-sledders, cross-country skiers and road
contractors must be aware of the requirements and of Wilderness boundaries. For additional information, visit the
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board website.
Join us in safeguarding winter recreation
Respecting Wilderness boundaries helps everyone. When recreationists take responsibility, they help ensure continued
support of winter recreation programs and opportunities, rather than potential closures and stronger enforcement.
How can you help?
- Familiarize yourself with National Forest Service and Wilderness boundaries.
- When snowmobiling, obtain a map and don’t cross Wilderness boundaries.
- Know the laws and requirements related to your recreational activity.
- Do not trespass on privately owned property or gated areas.
- Pack it in – pack it out. Keep our forests clean!
- Carry these messages to clubs, groups and friends.
For more information about snowmobiling opportunities or Wilderness areas, please contact:
- Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (360) 902-8500
- Washington State Snowmobile Association (800) 784-9772
- North Cascades National Park (360) 854-7245
- Colville National Forest (509) 684-7000
- Gifford Pinchot National Forest (360) 891-5000
- Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (425) 783-6000
- Mount Rainier National Park (877) 270-7155
- Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (509) 664-9200
- Olympic National Forest (360) 956-2402
- Umatilla National Forest (541) 278-3716
Maps showing Wilderness Areas are posted on bulletin boards at trailheads in all
For information on how to volunteer to put up/maintain Wilderness Area boundary
markers, call your local U.S. Forest Service Ranger District.
This information made available through the USDA Forest Service, Washington State Parks and
Recreation Commission and the Washington State Snowmobile Association.
Download 1MB PDF version of map.
To protect untouched areas of our wild lands, Congress passed the Wilderness Act,
creating designated Wilderness Areas within national forests, national parks and
certain other federal lands. Motorized equipment is prohibited in these areas.