Before you plan an activity on national forest lands, please check whether or not you need a permit or pass. Many of the facilities and services are free; however, some activities require fees or permits to help maintain, manage and improve the amenities that you enjoy.The majority of the recreation fees collected stay on the forest and go right back into improving the recreational opportunities visitors use and value the most - campgrounds, developed day use sites, boat ramps, trails, and much more.
Always contact a Forest Service district office for information prior to collecting any forest product to find out if you will need a permit. Please remember that many wildflowers, orchids and medicinal plants found on the Forest may be listed as sensitive, threatened or endangered.
A permit may be required for group gatherings or events, filming or videography, research, mineral, gold panning, rock collecting, or long term uses such as outfitter guides, roads and water systems. Each district office has a special use coordinator who is available to answer your questions.
Ginseng Collection Special Permits
The National Forests in Alabama are not currently issuing collection permits for American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). The policy and federal regulations found in FSM 2409.18_87 and 36 CFR 223.219 direct forests to issue and manage permits for Special Forest Products (including Forest Botanical Products) in an ecologically sustainable manner. Therefore, collection permits are only issued for plant products when the collection and associated actions will not jeopardize the viability of the species and/or its populations. Past botanical surveys and monitoring efforts on the National Forests in Alabama have indicated that there are not sufficient numbers of American ginseng plants available to offer collection at this time in a sustainable manner.