Pine and Pere Marquette River Permit Policy

Watercraft permits are for the Pine and Pere Marquette Rivers are now on-line at  or by calling 1-877-444-6777,  from January 2 at 12:01 a.m.. until the Monday after Labor Day each year. 



  • When searching on-line at use one of these phrases to get to the right river:
    • “Pine National Scenic River Watercraft Permits”  "Pine River Permits" "Pine River Watercraft" "watercraft permits" "river permit" "river permit pine river"
    • “Pere Marquette National Scenic River Watercraft Permits" "Pere Marquette Permits" "Pere Marquette Watercraft" "watercraft permits" "river permit pere marquette"
  • When calling the call center at, select option 2 to reach the desk for the watercraft permits.  
  • You can print a copy of the permit to a pdf and keep it on your phone instead of printing a paper version.  You will need to have your phone on you during your trip so you can show you have your permit if you are asked.  
  • You have to print the permit, on paper or as a pdf, for the permit to be considered issued, the confirmation email will not be accepted as proof of a permit.   


Permits are required from Friday, May 23, 2014 to Monday, September 1, 2014 this year.


Reservation Information:

  1. Permits are $2.00 per watercraft, per day.  There is a $6.00 transaction fee for each reservation made.

  2. A maximum of 4 reserved trip dates with up to 8 watercraft per day, at one time, including one holiday weekend, per person will be allowed.

  3. Permits may be obtained on the same day you plan to take a river trip.  Keep in mind, opportunities for obtaining a permit the day of your trip may be limited, particularly for weekends, holidays, or on certain stretches of the Pere Marquette River.


Pine National Scenic River - Dobson Bridge - boat launchTrip Planning

  • Office staff can assist you in answering questions about obtaining a permit, however, permits are only available on-line or by calling
  • Your permit will be printed on-line and will be available for printing 14 days prior to your trip, until 10:00 a.m. eastern time the day of your trip. You will no longer need to pick a permit up at one of our offices or go through the mail. 


Know Before You Go

Some things to know before starting your trip on the Pine and the Pere Marquette Rivers:

  • Recreational watercraft hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The river corridor is a mix of private and public lands.  Before exiting your watercraft know where you are.  Use only public sites for rest stops.
  • Remember there are others enjoying the river.  Treat other watercraft users, anglers, and land owners respectfully.
  • Plan to carry out all you carry in. Equip your watercraft with a mesh bag or other securely fastened container to hold personal effects and litter.
  • A Recreation Pass or a day use fee is required at the following river access sites and may be purchased at the site, a District Office, or online at
    • Pere Marquette River site page: Claybanks, Green Cottage, Gleason’s Landing, Bowman Bridge, Rainbow Rapids, Upper Branch, Maple Leaf, and Indian Bridge.
    • Pine River site page: Elm Flats, Dobson Bridge, Peterson Bridge, and Low Bridge.
  • Camping in the river corridor is only allowed at designated sites.  Use the links above, to the river site pages, to find out more about campgrounds along each river. 
  • The Forest Service has a policy that encourages a four (4) can beverage limit per person for river users.
  • Motorized watercraft are
    • only permitted downstream from Indian Bridge on the Pere Marquette.
    • not allowed on the Pine at all.
  • Brochures, with maps, are available at river access sites, all District Offices and on-line on the Maps and Publications page of the site.


General Information

 A watercraft permit has been required since the late 1970’s early 1980’s on the Pine and Pere Marquette Rivers from mid-May through mid-September.  Watercraft permits limit use to ensure protection of the rivers’ outstandingly remarkable values while providing high quality recreation experiences.