Resource Management

Law Enforcement - General Rules


By following national forest rules and reminders, your outdoor recreation experience should prove rewarding and other visitors will likewise enjoy their visits.

Regional Foresters and Forest Supervisors may issue orders which close or restrict use of certain areas when the need arises. These orders will be posted so as to reasonably bring them to the attention of National Forest visitors.

Copies of such orders will also be available in Forest Supervisor and District Ranger offices.

Information on all permit requirements is available from any Forest Service office.

If you have questions, or need help, please contact your nearest Forest Officer or visit the nearest Forest Service Office.


Obey federal laws. All visitors and users of the National Forests are subject to Federal Regulations. The points of conduct listed below are generally included in and enforceable through Federal Regulations. All of the regulations are published in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations and are on file at all Forest Supervisor and District Ranger Offices. Violation of orders and Regulations is subject to punishment by a fine or imprisonment. Authority: 16 USC 551, 7 USC 1011(f).



  • BE CAREFUL!!! Look out for natural hazards and dangers when you are in the forest. If you hike off trails or swim or dive in streams and lakes, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK. You are primarily responsible for your own safety.
  • Be especially alert for "hazard trees" - trees damaged by last year's storms that may fall across a trail, road, or recreation area.


  • Throw all garbage and litter in containers provided for this purpose or take it with you. Garbage containers, when provided, are reserved for visitors to the national forest, not for visitors or owners of private lands or lands under permit.
  • Wash food and personal items away from drinking water supplies. Use water faucets for drawing water only.
  • Prevent pollution--keep garbage, litter, and foreign substances out of lakes, streams, and other water.
    Use toilets properly. Do not throw garbage, litter, fish cleanings, or other foreign substances in toilets and plumbing fixtures.

Operation of Vehicles:

  • Obey all traffic signs. State traffic laws apply to the National Forests unless otherwise specified.
  • When operating vehicles of any kind, do not damage the land or vegetation, or disturb wildlife. Avoid driving on unpaved wet roads or trails.
  • Use cars, motorbikes, motorcycles, or other motor vehicles only for entering or leaving campgrounds and other recreation sites, unless areas or trails are specifically marked for them. Park only in marked parking areas.
  • For the safety and convenience of others, please do not block, restrict, or interfere with the use of roads or trails.
  • Operate bikes and other off road vehicles to avoid damage to the forest. Obey area and trail restrictions on such use.



  • Obey restrictions on fires. Fires may be limited or prohibited at certain times.
  • Within campgrounds and other recreation sites, build fires only in fire rings, stoves, grills, or fireplaces provided for that purpose.
  • Keep flammable materials away from campfires.
  • You are responsible for keeping fires under control. Be sure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving.


  • Use picnic sites, swimming beaches, and other day use areas only between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm.
  • Campgrounds and other recreation sites can be used only for recreational purposes. Permanent use or use as a principal residence without authorization is not allowed.
  • In campgrounds, camp only in those places specifically marked or provided.
  • At least one person must occupy a camping area during the first night after camping equipment has been set up, unless permission has otherwise been granted by the Forest Ranger.
  • Camping equipment cannot be left unattended for more than 24 hours without permission by the Forest Ranger.
  • The Federal Government is not responsible for any loss or damage to personal property.
  • Remove all personal property and trash when leaving.

Fee Areas:

  • You must pay a fee to use certain developed sites and facilities. Such areas are clearly signed or posted as requiring a fee.
  • Where fees are required, they must be paid before using the site, facility, equipment, or service furnished.


  • Do not carve, chop, cut, or damage any live trees.
  • Preserve and protect your National Forests. Leave natural areas the way you find them.
  • Buildings, structures, or enclosed areas in National Forests may be entered only when expressly opened to the public.
  • Cultural sites, old cabins, and other structures, along with objects and artifacts associated with them, have historic or archeological value. Do not damage or remove any such historic or archaeological resources.

Public Behavior:

  • No fighting or boisterous behavior.
  • Please keep noise at a reasonable level. Be courteous to other visitors.

Pets and Animals:

  • In undeveloped areas (dispersed camping sites and hiking trails, for example), pets must be kept under control. Pets in developed recreation sites must be crated, caged, kept on a leash not longer than 6 feet, or otherwise under physical restrictive control. .
  • Pets are not allowed in swimming areas.
  • Saddle, pack, or draft animals are allowed only in authorized areas. The are prohibited along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT).

Business Activities:

  • Permits are required for: (1) selling any merchandise; (2) posting or distributing any handbill, circular, paper, or notice; and (3) conducting or participating in a public meeting, assembly, or special event. Contact your District Ranger office for more information.

Audio Devices:

  • Please operate any audio device, such as a radio or musical instrument, so that it will not disturb other forest visitors.
  • A permit is required to operate a public address system in or near a campsite, developed recreation site, or over a body of water.

Fireworks and Firearms:

  • Use of fireworks or other explosives is prohibited within campgrounds and other recreation sites.
  • Firing a gun is not allowed: (1) in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area; (2) across or on a road or body of water; or (3) in any circumstance whereby any person may be injured or property damaged.

National Forest Wilderness:

  • Motor vehicles or motorized equipment are not allowed in wilderness areas.
  • More information on Green Mountain National Forest wilderness can be found in the wilderness pages of this web site.
  • Preserve the wilderness. "Leave only footprints, take only pictures."

Camper Etiquette  


Campers and picnickers are encouraged to use charcoal or camp stoves for cooking. If an open fire is necessary, "dead and down" wood may be gathered. Do not cut living trees or standing dead trees. Never leave a fire unattended. Check for any fire danger restrictions before starting a campfire. 

Quiet Time 

Be courteous to your neighbors. Please observe quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Generators should not be operated after dark. Keep music and voices low. Listen and enjoy the natural sounds. 


To avoid creating potential sources of disease, dispose of sewer water (black water) only in sanitary dump stations. Collect kitchen and bath water (gray water) in a bucket or holding tank and empty in dump station. Please do not use a drain hose for direct disposal. Wash personal items away from campground water faucets or pumps. Help keep the area clean for all to enjoy. 

Canine Courtesy 

The most common nuisance in campgrounds is a loose dog. A usually obedient and innocent dog is often noisy when its owner is away. An unrestrained dog can harm campers, other pets, and wild animals.

Always keep your pet on a leash in the campground, and never leave your dog unattended. On trails, dogs can interfere with people, horses or bicycles. Keep your dog close to you and under control at all times.