Recreational Residences

What Is A Recreation Residence?

The Forest Service Recreation Residence program gives private citizens the opportunity to own a single-family cabin in designated areas on the National Forests. They are commonly called "summer homes" or "recreation cabins". These privately owned cabins (improvements) are located within formally established "tracts" on "lots" designated for that purpose and are authorized and administered under the terms and conditions of a special use authorization (SUA) called a permit. The individual owns the improvements but not the land. The permit requires the payment of an annual rental fee based upon fair market value of the land, not including improvements, as determined by an appraisal.

  • 15,570 recreation residences occupy National Forest System lands throughout the country.
  • 6,314 are in the Pacific Southwest region (California).
  • 975 are on the Eldorado National Forest.

For details regarding the forest management of recreation residences, the Region 5 Supplement 2709.11-2016-2 of the Forest Service Handbook is available on our Regional Forest Service web page.

Sample Special Use Permit

To review a sample Term Special Use Permit for Recreation Residences, click on the link below.

Forest Service National Special Uses Web Site

Check out the National Forest Service Special Uses website to learn more about CUFFA (Cabin Users Fee Fairness Act), Cost Recovery, the national program, authorizing regulations, and other related information.

New Recreation Residence Appraisal Completed

Forest Supervisor Kathy Hardy has accepted the new appraisals for valuing recreation residence typical lots. This value is used to establish the base fee for each recreation residence permit. The results of the recently completed appraisals have been sent to each recreation residence permit holder. Click here for answers to commonly asked questions regarding the appraisal process and how it affects fees.