Pine and Pere Marquette River Permit Policy

Watercraft permits for the Pine and Pere Marquette Rivers are now on-line at  or by calling 1-877-444-6777.  You can begin making reservations for the permit season (Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend) beginning January 2 at 12:01 a.m.. until the Monday after Labor Day each year. 


Recreation Fee Symbol - Sign at Recreation SitesTips:

  • 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 27, 2016 to Monday, September 5, 2016 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. 


Pere Marquette National Scenic River - near Bowman Bridge Day Use AreaKnow 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.


Pine RiverGeneral 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.