Forest Service Expands Permit Season for Enchantments

Due to increasingly high use, the Forest Service is expanding permitted access to the Enchantments. We support their efforts to balance access while protecting the outdoor experience for generations to come.
Katherine Hollis Katherine Hollis
February 02, 2016

The beauty of our wild places is what inspires and motivates so many  Mountaineers to get outside. Access to the Pacific Northwest's stunning places is fundamental to our mission. To assure these places remain picturesque for generations to come, we practice and teach responsible, low-impact recreation in all of our volunteer-led trips. To that end, we support the Forest Service’s decision to expand the permitted season for the Enchantments in order  to balance access  with protecting the fragile environment of this special place.

“Starting this year, the limited entry overnight permit season for the Enchantment Permit Area will increase by six weeks to help manage increased visitor use and resulting resource damage at this popular destination," said the recent press release by the Forest Service. Permits for overnight stays will now be required from May 15 through October 31.

The option to have a longer permit season was approved in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Recreation Use Environmental Analysis in 1993, but the Forest Service has waited until now to enact it.

“Increasing popularity of the Enchantments has led to concentrated and unsustainable overnight use before and after the previously implemented permit season, frequently exceeding daily use levels established to minimize impacts from high recreation use,” said the Forest Service.

A number of consecutive years of low-snow have also lead to increased use, especially in 2015. Low snow years have translated into longer snow-free seasons, with significantly more people going into the Enchantments before the permit season started.

The Forest Service cites that the “development of new campsites and social trails can be created in one high-use weekend where a scarcity of durable surfaces or previously impacted sites cause visitors to camp and travel on fragile vegetation. A key consideration in developing permit quotas is to ensure adequate campsite availability and protection of the wilderness resource from over-use. Increasing the length of the limited entry overnight permit season will ensure protection of the natural resources of the Enchantments for the entirety of the current and projected high-use season.”

Enter the Lottery to Reserve Your Spot

Lottery applications for the Enchantment Permit Area will begin February 15th and end March 2nd. 

Reservations can be made through www.Recreation.gov

Find out more details about the lottery process on the Okanagon Wenatchee Forest Service  website.

For additional information about the permitting process, contact Wenatchee River District Ranger Jeff Rivera or Wilderness Manage Gabe Snider at 509-548-2550.

 

Don’t worry, if you don’t win the lottery, you can always find other great backpacking destinations by searching our website!



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