Recreation Passes & Permits

Adventure Pass - Question and Answers

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Who will need to purchase a National Forest Adventure Pass?

This is a pass to use designated sites and areas of the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. Visitors to these four forests will be required to display the Pass in their vehicles when using the Forest for recreation purpose. The Adventure Pass is not a national pass like the America the Beautiful Interagency Passes. It is a local regional pass, required only on the four forests listed above. America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are also accepted at all locations where the Adventure Pass is required. Go to the page links below to view a listing of the Sites & Areas that require a recreation fee. These pages include additional links to maps and vendors sales outlets.

How will I know where the fee is required when I'm in the Forest?

Look for the signs shown below to be posted near the entry to designated fee Sites & Areas.

Adventure Pass Sign - Leaving Rec Fee AreaAdventure Pass Sign - Entering Rec Fee AreaAdventure Pass Sign - Parked Vehicles Must Display Valid Rec Pass

Recreation fee information will be posted at various locations. Look for these signs when traveling through forests.

Pass Availability

Where do I obtain passes & permits? - You can buy Adventure Passes and America the Beautiful Interagency Passes at all Forest Service Offices in southern California or through this website. Just click these buttons for more information.

Adventure Pass Sold Here

Many vendors and Forest Service offices display signs and posters like the one to the left at locations where passes are sold.

 

One of the unique features of the Adventure Pass program is the participation of private vendors: small and large local businesses that sell the pass in more than one hundred communities near the forests. The idea behind the vendor program is to make it easy and convenient to purchase an Adventure Pass in advance of a trip to the forest. Online Sales! Buy passes online anytime! The public can access the forests in many ways. We cannot rely entirely on a vendor system, so we have implemented other ways to improve pass availability. Many Ranger Stations have expanded their weekend hours to improve visitor service, and traditional “fee tubes” have been installed in some remote areas. Credit & Debit card are accepted for payment for passes ordered by phone or mail. Visit the Pass Options section for more information.

Ordering Passes from an Online Vendor (fastest service)

Please view our Online Vendors and Local Vendors Adventure Pass page for ordering and information.

What is a Standard Amenity Fee Area (SAFA)?

Standard Amenity Fee Area are authorized under Section 3(f) of the legislation. This section defines "Standard Amenity Recreation Fees" and states that such fees can be collected in an area that provides significant opportunities for outdoor recreation and has substantial Federal investments. The agency must be able to collect fees efficiently in the area, and the area as a whole must contain the following amenities:

  • Designated developed parking
  • Permanent toilet facility
  • Permanent trash receptacle
  • An interpretive sign, exhibit, or kiosk
  • Picnic tables
  • Security services

The legislation gave the agencies broad authority in establishing "areas", so the Forest Service developed implementation guidelines to ensure national consistency. Under the guidelines, "areas" may only be established where there is heavy recreation use. The use, and associated impacts, maybe uneven through out the greater "area", and need not be tied to specific sites within the area. In order to avoid multiple fees, the fee charged is for the recreation use of the entire area rather than for individual amenities or activities. Evidence of having paid the fee is by properly displaying a valid recreation fee pass. These would include a valid Adventure Pass, or an America the Beautiful Interagency Pass or either a Golden Age or Golden Access Passport upon the parked vehicle.
The prohibition on collection of fees in dispersed recreation areas contained in Section 3(d) has led some to believe that fees are only authorized in specific developed sites. This is incorrect. The prohibition applies only to dispersed areas with low or no investment. Collection of fees in areas where heavy investment is needed to address impacts is specifically authorized as a Standard Amenity Fee in Section 3(f).
In identifying the SAFAs, managers of the southern California National Forests carefully evaluated each area within the forest to determine the locations where significant public use is occurring and where significant investment is needed to manage recreation impacts. Each location was then further evaluated to ensure that the area had the six amenities required by the legislation, and that the area could be understandably described with clearly identified boundaries and access points.

Are there exceptions to the need for an Adventure Pass?

You will not need a pass when traveling through the Forest and not stopping, when stopped for activities incidental to through travel (stretch break, photo-opportunity, use a restroom), when you are parked at your residence or at an organization camp, or within areas covered by special use permits. A Pass is not required for people stopping for information at Ranger stations, visitor centers and other Forest Service offices, or for off-road vehicles (displaying California State OHVMR Green or Red stickers) while they are parked within a designated OHV route or area. Volunteers and educational institutions, such as schools that bring children to the Forest for an outing, are also exempt. During 2006 there are two (2) free days authorized - National Trails Day, June 3rd, and National Public Lands Day, September 30th.

What is an Administrative Pass?

National Forests are managed for multiple use. We realize that people may visit their public lands for purposes other than recreation. For that reason, we have implemented an "administrative pass" program for educational groups, volunteers and others conducting business who may be in the forest. Administrative passes are issued free for convenience purposes. They must be requested through the Forest Service office where you plan to visit. Administrative Passes are also issued to Native Americans for the conduct of traditional cultural and religious activities, and to persons conducting mining and prospecting activities. Due to the special requirements applicants must meet, Administrative passes for exempt activities are only issued at local Forest and Ranger District offices.

What about places like ski resorts and campgrounds, where I already pay?

You won't need an Adventure Pass while parked at places where a site-specific fee is already charged. The Adventure Pass covers day-use of certain campground, and these will be posted on-site. If you're uncertain whether or not you need a Pass, please call your local Forest Service office or view the listing at Designated Recreation Sites.

What about Golden Age, Golden Access and Golden Eagle Passports?

Beginning January 1, 2007, the Golden Passport program was replaced by the new America the Beautiful Interagency Pass Program. The new Interagency Passes cover most of the same benefits of the Golden Pass program, with a few changes. The Golden Passports will continue to be valid until they expire. Please view the special instructions for persons who have a damaged Golden Pass.

The Interagency Passes are national passes, and cover the same standard amenity fees on any national forest or park nation-wide. So, if you plan to travel and visit many national forests outside the southern California travel zone, you will find the Interagency Passes a better buy. America the Beautiful and Adventure Passes may be obtained by phone or mail.

More information about the America the Beautiful Interagency Pass Program is available online.

What if I have more than one vehicle?

When you purchase an annual Adventure Pass, you may also purchase a Second Vehicle Pass for an additional vehicle for $5.00. If you decide to purchase the Second Vehicle Pass at a later time, simply bring your Annual Pass with you when you make your purchase. Second Vehicle Passes are validated for the same month and year as the annual Adventure Pass. Therefore it is to the buyer’s advantage to purchase both passes at the same time. Tip: When buying Annual & Second Vehicle Adventure Passes or America the Beautiful Interagency Passes, consider making your purchase near the beginning of the month. Why? Because these passes are valid until the end of the month of purchase in the following year. Plan ahead and get 13 months use from your Adventure Passes or America the Beautiful Interagency Passes! Visit this link for more information about second vehicle passes.

What about Refunds, Exchanges or Extensions?

The general policy is that there are NO refunds, exchanges or extensions given for Adventure Passes. Each Line Officer may evaluate individual circumstances. For instance, if a pass has been severely damaged it may be replaced with a new pass if the line officer believes they can distinguish the validity of that pass.
On rare occasions, the Forest Supervisors may decide to offer a short-term "general" refund or extension program. Refunds are not usually given for America the Beautiful Interagency Passes.

I Received a Notice of Required Fee - Now What?

The objective of the recreation fee compliance program is to inform and educate visitors to the need for recreation fees. Field Rangers are trained to use their discretion in these situations, and will often rely on verbal information rather than written warnings make the point.

During the development phase of the fee program, planners recognized that a large number of forest visitors are “new” to the forest on any given day. These new visitors have little familiarity with local rules upon arrival, in particular the requirement for displaying the passes. A very unique compliance program was developed. A warning notice called the “Notice of Required Fee” (NRF) was designed that educates "first time" visitors to the fee requirement, while allowing for the fee to be paid after-the-fact. The enforcement option is reserved for the “habitual violators”, those who repeatedly fail to take care of their notices. Repeat violators expect the law-abiding visitors to carry the financial burden of paying for the benefits they automatically enjoy while visiting the forest.

The Adventure Pass Fee Compliance program is educational and informative.

Resolve your NRF online

If you were not involved in recreation use of the forest, or the facilities or services provided, you may send a brief note of explanation to the address at the bottom of the NRF.

San Bernardino National Forest
Pass Program Headquarters - Notices
602 S. Tippecanoe Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92408-2607

Typical examples of exemptions to the fee are vehicle mechanical trouble, stops for activities incidental to through travel (take a photo, brief rest, use a restroom, etc). Administrative Passes are available free for convenience purposes. Check with your local Forest Service office (for an office listing, go to Need More Information?).

If the Field Ranger missed seeing your pass, or left you a message stating that your pass was unreadable, please contact the Fee Program office at 909-382-2622, 2623 or 2618. A service representative will assist you in resolving the issue.  

Did you Know?

Any of the (7) recreation passes depicted below pay for Standard Amenity Fees (day-use) charged on the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests.
America the Beautiful Interagency Passes cover Standard Amenity Fees charged at any National Forest nationwide AND all entry fees charged at National Parks, Monuments and US Wildlife Refuges nationwide.

All versions of the America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are available at any Forest Service office in southern California. The annual version is available through this website.

When purchasing an annual Adventure Pass, you may also purchase one Second Vehicle Pass for an additional $5.00. You may decide to purchase the Second Vehicle Pass later at any Forest Service office in southern California (bring your annual pass with you).

Adventure Pass - Daily Pass Adventure Pass - Annual Pass Adventure Pass - Secondary Vehicle Pass

Daily Pass
$5.00

Sold at Forest Service offices and by private vendors.

Daily Passes are hangtags, designed to be self-validating. Visitors scratch off the day and month of their visit upon reaching their forest destination. This design allows Daily Passes to be conveniently obtained in advance of the outing to the forest.

The pass is good until 10 a.m. the morning after it is used.

Annual Pass
$30.00

Sold at Forest Service offices and by private vendors.

Annual Passes are validated at the time of purchase by the seller. These passes are valid until the end of the month of purchase in the following year.

This pass is designed to be used as either a hangtag or a peel-off bumper sticker.

Second Vehicle Pass
$5.00

Sold at Forest Service offices and by some private vendors.

Second Vehicle Passes are validated at the time of purchase by the seller. The buyer must show their Annual Pass when buying a Second Vehicle Pass. These passes are valid until the end of the month shown on the buyer's Annual Pass.

This pass is designed to be used as either a hangtag or a peel-off bumper sticker.

Interagency Access Pass - Annual Pass Interagency Access Pass - Senior Pass Interagency Access Pass - Lifetime Access Pass

The new Interagency Annual Pass replaces the Golden Eagle Passport. This pass covers Standard Amenity Fees like entrance fees to the National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges and day-use fees charged at National Forests and Bureau of Land Management sites and areas.

The Annual Pass may be purchased through this web site or at any Forest Service office in southern California. The pass is good for one year from the month of purchase.

A special hangtag used for displaying your Annual Passport is available at no cost (shown below).

Buy Now!

The new Interagency Senior Pass replaces the Golden Age Passport. It covers Standard Amenity Fees. The new Senior Pass is a lifetime pass available to citizens and permanent residents who are 62 years of age and older. Proof of Age is required. This pass must be applied for in-person at any Forest Service office.

A special hangtag used for displaying your Senior Passport is available at no cost (shown below).

The new Interagency Access Pass replaces the Golden Access Passport. It covers Standard Amenity Fees.The new Access Pass is a lifetime pass available free-of-charge to persons who are permanently disabled. This pass must be applied for in-person at any Forest Service office.

A special hangtag used for displaying your Access Passport is available at no cost (shown below).

Interagency Access Pass - Decal for Car Annual Military Pass

Interagency Decal
Holders of America the Beautiful Annual Passes may obtain the new decal for free through this web site with the purchase of an Annual Pass.

Interagency Annual Military Pass
FREE Pass is valid for 12 months from issue month Pass is for all ACTIVE Military and their Dependents Required identification includes: For Active Military Personnel – DOD Common Access Card (CAC – Geneva Convention Card For Military Dependents – DOD Uniformed Service ID, form DD 1173

Covers entrance to Fish and Wildlife Service Refuges and National Park sites that charge an entrance fee. Covers use of Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and Forest Service sites that charge a standard amenity fee.

Available starting 5/19/2012

Interagency Access Pass - Hanging Tag Senior Interagency Access Pass - Hanging Tag
New Interagency Passport hang tags 
The hang tags for America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are now available from Forest Service Offices.
New Interagency Passport hang tags
The hang tags for America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are now available from Forest Service Offices.

 

Recreation Fee Compliance & Enforcement

The objective of the recreation fee compliance program is to inform and educate visitors of the need for recreation fees. Field Rangers are trained to use their discretion in these situations, and will often rely on verbal information rather than written warnings make the point.

During the development phase of the fee program, planners recognized that a large number of forest visitors are “new” to the forest on any given day (20% on average). These new visitors have little familiarity with local rules upon arrival, in particular the requirement for displaying the passes. A very unique compliance program was developed. A warning notice called the “Notice of Required Fee” (NRF) was designed that educates "first time" visitors to the fee requirement, while allowing for the fee to be paid after-the-fact. The enforcement option is reserved for the “habitual violators”.

Fee Requirements in Roadside Parking Situations

Many people use highways and roads through the national forests for commuting or sightseeing, without engaging in other recreation activities. Travelers park briefly to stretch their legs or enjoy the sunset along these routes. Some travelers have expressed concern that they will be "cited" for not having a pass. The Adventure Pass is required to be displayed on a recreationists parked vehicle along highways and other roads on national forest lands inside the boundaries of SAFAs, and in designated recreation fee sites. To view a listing, go to Standard Amenity Fee Area, or Designated Recreation Sites.

In all roadside parking situations, Forest Officers who check fee compliance are trained and expected to use their discretion. No pass is required for activities incidental to through-travel, like taking a photograph, using a restroom, or in the case of a personal emergency or a vehicle breakdown. Passes are not required for short-term parking at designated overlook, view point or vista sites. If the officer's evaluation leads them to conclude that the vehicle is parked for recreation use purposes for an extended period of time, the officer may issue the Notice of Required Fee (a warning notice), or in the case of a "repeat violation", the Violation Notice ($100 maximum fine).

Working with Concessionaires

The Forest Service is attempting to improve public service and better maintain facilities with a shrinking federal work force. Therefore many developed recreation sites in the national forests are now managed by private concessionaires in partnership with the Forest Service. These concessionaires charge their own recreation fee for the areas they manage. This "checkerboard" application of fees is confusing for the public. Recreation program managers have been working with concessionaires to implement a "one pass" approach where possible, such as in the popular Santa Ynez Recreation Area of Los Padres National Forest.

Sites operated by concessionaires will honor Recreation Passes according to the conditions of their permits. Each concessionaire site is a little different so it is important for visitors to check ahead with the local forest. For further information, go to Designated Recreation Sites.