Weminuche Wilderness Will Require Permits and Registration in 2014

Posted: Apr 08, 2013 by Sam Szarka


According to a press release dated April 1, the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests will implement a mandatory permit for recreationists in the Weminuche wilderness beginning in 2014.

“Beginning in 2014, the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests will require recreationists to register prior to entering the Weminuche Wilderness. Registration will consist of a short two-part form available online, at agency offices and major trailheads. An individual or group leader will fill out the form, deposit one part in a box at the trailhead and keep the other part while in the Wilderness. There will be no fees associated with the program, and it will not impose any additional limits on use.”

The national forest managers site the reasons for the changes being: environmental impacts such as “denuded vegetation, overcrowding, and improper disposal of human waste.” The program will be similar to other programs in the West such as the one already in place in the Maroon Bells / Snowmass wilderness area.

The permits will be free and there will be no limits on the number of permits. The permit will consist of a two page form that will be filled out by one person per group. One half of the form is deposited in a trail-side box, while the other is attached to a group member’s backpack. The national forest indicates that the information collected from the permits will be used by forest management to monitor usage of the public lands and to reduce the environmental impacts before the impacts reach a ‘tipping point.’ The National Forest management is holding five public forums to educate and request public input on the registration systems implementation. Below is a copy of the dates and locations of the public forums:

  • Creede Community Center    Tue, Apr 16, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
  • Durango Recreation Center   Tue, Apr 23, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
  • Silverton Town Hall                Thu, Apr 25, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
  • Lake City Coursey Annex       Wed, May 1, 4 – 6 pm
  • Pagosa Community Center     Thu, May 2, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
  • Vallecito Community Center  Tue, May 7, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Weminuche Wilderness Required Registration Information – San Juan / Rio Grande National Forest