Wilderness Permits


A wilderness permit system has been implemented for this wilderness. This involves a use-limiting permit system with quotas and reservations. Wilderness permit systems are implemented to collect information on use levels and patterns and as an education and information tool. Use-limiting systems are implemented after monitoring has determined that current use levels are resulting in unacceptable impacts to the resource and/or to the wilderness recreation experience. These systems help distribute visitor use throughout the season and help minimize crowded conditions at popular areas. People interested in visiting the Cucamonga Wilderness should contact the national forest office or visit the websites listed below for more information about this permit system, which may vary by location or time of the year. 

Within the Cucamonga Wilderness, you are prohibited from: 

  • Entering or being in a National Forest Wilderness without possessing a Wilderness Permit to show on request. 36 CFR 261.57 (a)
  • Building, maintaining, or using an open campfire of any type including charcoal. 36 CFR 261.52(a).
  • Use of trail, campsite, or other areas in the Wilderness by a group larger than 12 persons, or having more than 8 stock animals. 36 CFR 261.58
  • Camping in a location other than that specified on the Permit. 36 CFR 261.10 (k) and 261.58 (e).
  • Camping or picketing stock within 200 ft of meadows, springs, streams, trails, or other occupied camps. 36 CFR 261.58 (e)
  • Disposing of debris, garbage, or other waste material. 36 CFR 261.57 (g)
  • Placing in or near a stream, lake, or any other body of water any substance that does or may pollute the water. 36 CFR 261.11 (c)
  • Not having a shovel or hand trowel in possession for use in burying human waste during overnight camping or in cleaning sites for stove fires. 36 CFR 261.58 (e) and 261.52 (g)
  • Shortcutting a switchback. 36 CFR 261.55 (d)
  • Mutilating, defacing, removing, disturbing, injuring, or destroying natural feature or property of the US Government. 36 CFR 261.9 (a)
  • Possessing or using a motor or motorized equipment except small battery powered handheld devices, such as cameras, shavers, flashlights, and Geiger counters. 36 CFR 261.16 (a)
  • Possessing or using any wheeled mechanical device including, but not limited to, bicycles, wagons, or carts. 36 CFR 261.57 (h). Note: Use of wheelchairs by physically challenged persons is permitted.
  • Smoking except while seated in an area of at least 3 (three) feet in diameter that is barren or has been cleared of all flammable material. 36 CFR 261.52 (d)
  • Possessing a dog not on a leash or otherwise confined. 36 CFR 261.8 (d)

Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than6 (six) months, or both. 18USC36CFR1 Code of Federal Regulations





California Campfire Permits are required on public lands in California for use of campfires, camp stoves, lanterns or open flame devices.  Campfire permits are available at the local Ranger Station and are subject to local fire restrictions.



Recreation Residences have existed since before the turn of the century, when national forests were reserves and were administered by the General Land Office in the U.S. Department of the Interior. The first lots were authorized by the Forest Management Act of June 4, 1897, also known as the "Organic Act" to encourage public recreation. In 1968, in recognition of other recreation needs, the Forest Service decided against establishing any additional new tracts. In 1976, this moratorium was expanded to include no development of new lots within existing tracts.

The Forest Service Recreation Residence program gives private citizens the opportunity to own a single-family cabin in designated areas on the National Forests. They are commonly called "summer homes" or "recreation residences". These privately owned cabins (improvements) are located within formally established "tracts" on "lots" designated for that purpose and are authorized and administered under the terms and conditions of a special use authorization(permit). The individual owns the improvements but not the land.

Occasionally permit holders sell their improvements. The Forest Service does not handle the sale of recreation residences, nor does it keep track of those that are for sale. For more information on this type of permit, visit the national "recreation residences" page or contact your local Special Use Permit Coordinator.


Emergency services and public broadcasting/communication services throughout the nation require communications repeaters and towers. These sites are permitted by the National Forest under a special use permit. The locations of these are varied and are usually on high elevation sites. Any time they improve or add to the facilities, a new permit may be required. For more information on this type of permit, visit the national "communication sites" page or contact your local Special Use Permit Coordinator.


If you already have a special use permit and intend to make improvements, you may need an "Existing Use Permit". For more information on this type of permit, visit the national "existing uses" page or contact your local Special Use Permit Coordinator.


Using a National Forest System Road for commercial hauling is prohibited without a permit or written authorization. This use restriction applies to all commercial haul activity, not just activity directly related to Forest Service projects or operations.

Examples of commercial vehicles that may need a Road Use Permit are logging trucks, tractor-trailer combinations, lowboys, yarders, chip vans, sand, gravel or cement trucks. This list is not all inclusive.

Please contact the Road Manager at the appropriate Forest Service office to obtain a Road Use Permit or written authorization.





Collecting and removing firewood requires a permit.  Visit Fuelwood page



Christmas tree farms and lots are a viable industry in southern California and opening the forest to Christmas tree cutting could have a negative impact on the industry. Because of this and other issues, our policy is to not provide this opportunity on the San Bernardino National Forest at this time.



The San Bernardino National Forest will not be offering fern permits this spring and summer in the Lake Arrowhead or Skyforest area. The Forest is still actively processing fire-killed trees in the fern picking areas and have not finished clearing dead trees and hazards for public safety. Due to the impacts of the wildfire and tree removal process, we ask that the community help by allowing the ground another season to heal before fern picking resumes.  The ferns are popular with many Asian American visitors, who consider the young fiddlebacks a delicacy. Contact the Big Bear Discovery Center at (909) 382-2790 for more information.



Those wishing to collect seeds, pine cones, plant specimens, mistletoe, manzanita, and other forest products are required to obtain a permit before removing anything from National Forest land. The permit will tell you where you may collect and any restrictions which may apply.  Contact the Ranger Station in the area you would like to visit to find out how to obtain your permit. Be sure to plan ahead, as some permits require advance notice.


Certain types of uses of public lands require "Special Use Authorizations".  These include commercial activities, such as filming and guiding. Non-commercial uses may also require Special Use Authorizations, including recreation residences and organized events and gatherings.  Visit Events / Filming Page


Prospecting, mining and claim staking activities are permitted on National Forest system unappropriated land. Check with the Bureau of Land Management Office for land status pertaining to mining claims and the Ranger Station for land appropriation status.  Visit Prospecting and Mining page


The San Bernardino National Forest does not issue permits to collect rocks for personal use.