Recreation Residences

A generation ago, the Ocala and Osceola National Forests participated in a national program intended to increase recreational use of national forests. This program permitted private individuals to build unobtrusive recreation residences in designated sites on the national forest.

Many of these private residences still exist and continue to be regulated by the Forest Service. The Forest Service will no longer issue recreation residence permits on lots not occupied by an existing recreation residence. Should a recreation residence permit be revoked due to noncompliance, the Forest Service will not reissue the permit and the lot will no longer be available for recreation residence use.

Should a recreation residence be destroyed by a catastrophic event and the permittee decides not to rebuild, the Forest Service will not reissue the permit. The permittee has 180 days to decide and one year after the decision date to complete the rebuilding.

Recreation residences are generally sold through local realtors. The permit is then terminated in the previous owner’s name and reissued in the new owner’s name. The lease fee for each permit will vary according to its location in the forest and the surrounding land value. Recreation residences are to be used as secondary residences and proof of primary residence is required.

The permit includes an operation and maintenance plan that contains guidelines for improvements and general upkeep. The Forest Service performs scheduled inspections to ensure these terms and conditions are observed. Noncompliance with this operation and maintenance plans can result in a revoked permit.