Passes & Permits - Other Permits

Noncommercial Group Permit

Forest Service regulation requires a permit for noncommercial group uses of National Forest System lands. Under the regulation, a group use is an activity that involves a group of 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators. Noncommercial is any use or activity where an entry or participation fee is not charged, and the primary purpose is not the sale of a goods or service. Some examples of noncommercial group uses are weddings, church services, endurance rides, regattas, camping trips, hikes, music festivals, rallies, graduations, and races.

As a steward of the National Forests, the Forest Service has a duty to minimize resource impacts on National Forest System lands. Large group gatherings in the National Forests have significant adverse impacts on Forest resources, public health and safety, and the agency s ability to allocate space in the face of increasing constraints on the use of National Forest System land. A permit system allows the agency to address these problems more expeditiously, more effectively, and more equitably.


Recreation Residence Permit

Currently there are 6 recreation residences on 1 tract of land located on the Sula Ranger District.

Those who own the Recreation Residences (holders) own only the improvements situated on the land. The land itself belongs to the United States and is managed by the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Use of the land for this particular use (Recreation Residence) is granted via Special-Use Permits. Special-Use Permits for this use are issued for terms up to 20 years.

Occasionally holders wish to sell their improvements. When such is the case, the holder and the prospective buyer should jointly meet with the local Forest Service representative to discuss proposed new Special-Use Permit conditions and requirements prior to completion of the sale. The Forest Service does not handle the sale of Recreation Residences, nor does it keep track of those that are for sale. This information is best obtained from a local Realtor or from For Sale signs posted on recreation residence lots.


Research Permits

A special use permit is required in order to conduct any research on the Bitterroot National Forest. The Forest has a rather extensive research program. Issuing research permits allows the Forest to ensure that proposed and ongoing research is compliant with the Bitterroot Forest Plan management goals, standards and guidelines.  This no-cost research permit is required prior to beginning field work on the Forest.  There are several terms and conditions in the permit designed to keep the Bitterroot National Forest staff informed of the research and protect natural resources. The research permit process also informs the potential researcher of planned land management activities for the study area that may adversely affect the results.  The approval process for research permits usually takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.

To apply for the research permit, please contact Amy Fox at 406-363-7120 or


For further clarification or for more information on either of these permits, please contact your local forest service office.