Agency eyes limits on popular Oregon wilderness areas

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Federal officials are taking public comments on management strategies for five central Oregon wilderness areas that include possible restrictions on the number of visitors.

The Bulletin reports that the U.S. Forest Service on Thursday released its draft Central Cascades Wilderness Strategies Project.

Forest Service project leader Matt Peterson says the goal is to protect vulnerable parts of the wilderness areas amid a spike in visitors while also trying not to unduly limit use of the areas.

The agency is offering a number of alternatives but is backing one that would implement a wilderness-wide permit system for overnight users.

It would also put in place a permit system for day use at 48 trailheads in three of the wilderness areas.

Meetings are planned in Sisters, Bend, Eugene and Salem.