What is an Outfitter-Guide?

Large white tent set up among pine trees.The role of commercial outfitters and guides on national forests and grasslands is to provide specialized knowledge, skills, experience and equipment that general recreationists might not otherwise possess. This contributes to high quality opportunities for people to recreate on public lands regardless of their skill level or prior experience.  Outfitter-guides should:

  • Provide for outfitting and guiding services that address concerns of public health and safety and that foster successful small businesses consistent with the applicable land management plan.
  • Facilitate greater participation of youth and educational groups in their program.
  • Be skilled and experienced individuals and conduct their activities in a manner that protects environmental resources and ensures that national forest visitors receive high-quality services.

Interested in applying for a temporary outfitter-guide permit? Check here for timeline information.

Outfitters and Guides Permitted on the Forest

Needs assessment Status

The Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland is compiling information gathered from stakeholders for the ARP Outfitter-Guide Needs Assessment. At this time, we are considering whether there are needs to expand existing or add potential new commercial recreation activities across the forest. While we are in this process we are not soliciting applications for additional outfitter-guides. See our compartment map.  

What is a needs assessment?

The basis for consideration of any new or additional commercial recreational service is first a determination of public or agency need for that service.  Need can be assessed using varied information and criteria, such as size and character of the area, market demand for specific services, existing outfitter-guide use, visitor demographics, safety and risk concerns, economic benefit, user experience (or lack thereof), user cost to become established in a specific activity or sensitivity of the area. The ARP is currently in the process of drafting a needs assessment that will consist of:

  •  Identifying locations where outfitter-guides are not appropriate due to legislation, Forest Plan direction, or other regulations. (For example, motorized use is prohibited in designated wilderness so activities such as jeep and ATV tours would not be appropriate in those areas).
  • Identifying existing outfitter-guide use (location and amount).
  • Gathering input from outfitter-guides, outdoor retailers, recreationists, interested public and agency personnel about the public and agency need for additional commercial recreation activities by geographic area.
  • Evaluating existing and potential new outfitter-guide activities based on developed criteria and objectives.

Why are we doing this now?

We see this as an opportunity to improve management of the outfitter-guide program to better meet the needs of the public while protecting the forest/grassland resources.

For more information see Questions and Answers.