How to Make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and USDA regulations at 7 CFR, any person can request access to USDA Forest Service records. The FOIA requires the Forest Service to allow the public access unless the information is exempt under the FOIA from mandatory disclosure (e.g., classified national security, business proprietary, personal privacy, investigative).
Your request must be in writing, either by email or mail. If your request is by email, please provide your mailing address. Indicate that you are making a request under the Freedom of Information Act and address the request to one of the following addresses:
Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland
2150 Centre Ave., Building E
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Identify the records you want by including details helpful for locating the information (subject matter, date, record creation location and author, present record custodian, etc). A request may only seek records in existence when the FOIA request is received and may not require that new records be created in response to the request.
Provide your phone number and mailing address so that our Forest may contact you if needed (for clarification of your request, etc).
FOIA Fees: Agencies are authorized by law to recover the direct costs of providing information to a FOIA requester. A requester may be required to pay fees for searching, reviewing, and copying records. You will be notified in advance if fees will exceed $25.
Fee Categories: For fee purposes, the FOIA requires that requesters be placed in one of the following four categories: (1) commercial use requesters; (2) news media; (3) educational institution; noncommercial scientific institution; and (4) all others. Commercial use requesters are charged the full direct cost of search, review, and duplication associated with processing their requests. Scientific, educational, and news media requesters are charged the cost of duplication alone except the first 100 pages are provided free of charge. All other requesters are charged the direct costs of search and duplication except that the first 2 hours of search and the first 100 pages of duplications are free of charge. No review charges are assessed for requesters in this last category.
Specify the fee category in which you believe your request falls. State the maximum amount of fees you are willing to pay or include a request for a fee waiver.
Fee Waivers: The FOIA permits agencies to waive fees if disclosure of the records is in the public interest because it: (a) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government (Does the record concern the operations or activities of the government? Is disclosure likely to contribute to the public understanding of these operations and activities? Will that contribution be significant?); and (b) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
Requests for fee waivers must be fully documented and justified by written explanation. The U.S. Department of Justice, which oversees FOIA compliance throughout the federal government, sets out a six-part test for agencies to follow when evaluating a request for fee waivers.
Privacy Act: Under the Privacy Act (PA), a person may seek access to records that are retrieved by that person's name or other personal identifier, such as social security number or employee identification number. Such records will be made available unless they fall within the exemptions of the Privacy Act and the FOIA.
For more information about the FOIA process, including frequently asked questions, please visit the following website: U.S .Forest Service FOIA webpage
Detailed information concerning USDA policies and procedures for obtaining access to information under the FOIA and the Privacy Act is available in 7 CFR Part 1, Subpart A, or by calling the USDA FOIA Officer at 202-720-8164 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.