Recreation Residences

There are 594 recreation residences on National Forest lands within the Lake Tahoe Basin.  Recreation residences are in tracts established between the early 1900's and 1950's to encourage public recreation on National Forest Lands.  Due to other recreation needs on these lands, the policy for establishing recreation resident tracts is no longer applicable.



Recreation residences are private improvements situated on public land that is managed by the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S.Department of Agriculture.  The cabins are authorized by the issuance of Special-Use Permits, for a 20 year period.


Appraisal Information


Buying and Selling

Occasionally permit holders wish to sell their improvements.  When such is the case, the permit holder and the prospective buyer must contact the local Forest Service representative to discuss the transfer process.  Completion of the following form is necessary for the permit transfer to be initiated.  It is the FS-2700-3a (6/99) form PDF link:  You may download the Adobe Reader for free by following this link to the Adobe web site.. Please don't fill out this form unless you've contacted your local Forest Service representative. If you need to contact your local Forest Service represntative, have difficulty downloading this form, or would like to obtain it in an alternate format, please call the Recreation Residence Hotline at (530) 543-2636.

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 real estate office.


New Ownership

Upon approval, new owners of recreation residences will be issued a Special-Use Permit for the remaining number of years in the current term.  This allows for a common expiration date for all recreation residences in the Lake Tahoe Basin.


Expiration of the Permit

There is no guarantee that a new Special-Use Permit will be reissued at the end of the stated term.  If it is not, the permit holder will be given 10 years notification and will be required to remove all improvements from the lot and restore it to the original condition at his or her expense.


Important Conditions

Some of the more important conditions included in recreation residence permits are as follows:

  • Special-Use Permits for recreation residences are for recreation use only.  They may not be used for a primary place of residence.  A permit holder must have a primary residence elsewhere.
  • Commercial use of, or conducting business from a recreation residence is prohibited.
  • The area covered by the Special-Use Permit, including the improvements, must be maintained in good repair. Improvements are inspected periodically to ensure compliance with the terms of the permit.
  • Observance of all federal, state, and county laws and ordinances is a condition of the permit.
  • Permit holders pay an annual rental fee for the privilege of using the area covered by the permit.   Counties tax the improvements as personal property.


Invasive Species Information for Cabin Owners


Proposed Schedule for Public Water Systems


Further Information

For more information, call the Recreation Residence Hotline at (530) 543-2636.