Sierra National Forest (SNF), Clovis, CA., – Launching in March 2021, overnight visitors to the Sierra National Forest’s wilderness areas will be able to make their wilderness permit reservations using the website Recreation.gov. This will replace the current system, by which reservations were submitted by mail, or in person, and processed manually.
Recreation.gov provides trip planning and reservation services for public lands nationwide, using it for wilderness permit issuance will bring the forest into alignment with the adjacent Inyo National Forest, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Beginning in early March, reservations will become available in a rolling window six months in advance of entry dates.
“This new way of reserving a permit will be in real-time, showing availability information, as well as instant reservation confirmations, which visitors continue to request.” says SNF Recreation Officer Jody Nickerson-Powell. “Recreation.gov also eases the payment process and provides more specific information for different entry points. We believe that wilderness visitors will find the new system and trip planning a much better experience.”
To cover the costs associated with the new system, the quota season permit fee will increase to $6 plus $5 per person with the same 15 person maximum per permit. Refunds of the per person portion of the fee will be available in this new system in the event of cancellations or party size reductions 12 days prior to the trip.
The permit system is an essential part of the forests’ wilderness stewardship efforts, as it provides the opportunity for solitude and other valued wilderness characteristics by limiting the number of people recreating in sensitive ecosystems and ensures visitors have the information to protect themselves and the wilderness environment. When excessive use occurs at the same time, the opportunity for solitude decreases, vegetation can be damaged, erosion is accelerated, and the risk of water pollution increases.
Visitors will be able to begin making wilderness permit reservations in early March, of 2021.
Questions can be also be directed to the Sierra National Forest, at SM.FSsierranfinfo@usda.gov or by calling one of the Forest Offices, High Sierra Ranger District at (559) 855-5355 ext. 3301, Bass Lake Ranger District (559) 877-2218 ext. 0, and the Supervisors Office (559) 297-0706.