Special Use Permits

Special use permits are required for commercial and non-commercial use of NFS lands. In 2015, to better manage future proposals, the following schedule is being implemented. Submit a complete application package to the nearest Forest Service office by:

  • January 1 for proposed uses occurring between May 1 and October 31 of that year and,
  • June 1 for proposed uses occurring between November 1 and April 31 of that year.

This schedule applies to the following recreation and lands special uses:

  • Non-commercial group use. This is an activity that involves 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators, where an entry or participation fee is not charged, and the primary purpose is not the sale of a goods or service. Examples include weddings, family reunions, church services, camping trips, hikes, and music festivals.
  • Commercial recreation events, regardless of the number of participants. Examples include dogsled, bicycle, motocross, or triathlon type races, jeep rallies, fishing contests, adventure games, youth treks, and concerts.
  • Filming and commercial photography.
  • Outfitting and guiding. This includes spotting vehicles, transporting persons, and providing equipment, supplies and services. (Note – the Huron-Manistee National Forests are not accepting applications for new river outfitting and guiding at this time; we do not have any available permits).
  • Utility rebuilds. Examples include realignment or reconstruction of existing authorized utilities, substantial line clearing.
  • Research permits
  • Continued permitted uses of an expiring special use permit.

For example, if you propose a recreation event to be held August 2015, submit your complete proposal by January 1, 2015.

Please contact your local Forest Service office for an application form. Information required for application includes

  • proposed use,
  • timeframe,
  • a map of the location,
  • and reason why the use cannot be accommodated on Non-Federal lands.

Permit holders with recurring uses (permits issued for more than one year) must submit annually-required information to the Forest Service (annual operating plan, insurance, etc.) by the date specified in their permit.

Please contact the Forest Service office in your area or email us for additional information.