Adventure Pass - FAQs

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Who will need to purchase a National Forest Adventure Pass?

This is a pass to use designated sites and areas of the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. Visitors to these four forests will be required to display the Pass in their vehicles when using the Forest for recreation purpose. The Adventure Pass is not a national pass like the America the Beautiful Interagency Passes. It is a local regional pass, required only on the four forests listed above. America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are also accepted at all locations where the Adventure Pass is required. Go to the page links below to view a map of the Sites & Areas that require a recreation fee. This map includes additional links to maps and vendors sales outlets.

How will I know where the fee is required when I'm in the Forest?

Adventure Pass Sign - Leaving Rec Fee AreaAdventure Pass Sign - Entering Rec Fee AreaAdventure Pass Sign - Parked Vehicles Must Display Valid Rec Pass

Recreation fee information will be posted at various locations when traveling through forests. Look for the signs shown above to be posted near the entry to designated fee Sites & Areas.

Pass Availability?

Adventure Pass Sold Here

Many vendors and Forest Service offices display signs and posters like the one to the left at locations where passes are sold.

Where do I obtain passes & permits? You can buy Adventure Passes and America the Beautiful Interagency Passes at all Forest Service Offices in southern California or through this website. Just select these links for more information.

One of the unique features of the Adventure Pass program is the participation of private vendors: small and large local businesses that sell the pass in more than one hundred communities near the forests. The idea behind the vendor program is to make it easy and convenient to purchase an Adventure Pass in advance of a trip to the forest.

The public can access the forests in many ways. We cannot rely entirely on a vendor system, so we have implemented other ways to improve pass availability. Many Ranger Stations have expanded their weekend hours to improve visitor service, and traditional “fee tubes” have been installed in some remote areas. Credit & Debit card are accepted for payment for passes ordered by phone or mail. Visit the Pass Options section for more information.

Ordering Passes from an Online Vendor (fastest service)

Please view our Online Vendors and Local Vendors Adventure Pass page for ordering and information.

Recreation Fee Program Accomplishments

Thank you: Your rec fees make a difference

Fee revenues make a difference

National Forests in California are using recreation fee revenues to improve and enhance recreation opportunities.

The majority of the recreation fees collected stay on the forest and go right back into operating, maintaining and improving the recreational opportunities visitors use and value the most—campgrounds, developed day use sites, boat ramps, trails, rental cabins and lookouts, and much more.

What is a Standard Amenity Recreation Fee (SARF)?

Standard Amenity Recreation Fee areas are authorized under Section 3(f) of the legislation. This section defines "Standard Amenity Recreation Fees" and states that such fees can be collected in an area that provides significant opportunities for outdoor recreation and has substantial Federal investments. The agency must be able to collect fees efficiently in the area, and the area as a whole must contain the following amenities:

  • Designated developed parking
  • Permanent toilet facility
  • Permanent trash receptacle
  • An interpretive sign, exhibit, or kiosk
  • Picnic tables
  • Security services

The legislation gave the agencies broad authority in establishing "areas", so the Forest Service developed implementation guidelines to ensure national consistency. Under the guidelines, "areas" may only be established where there is heavy recreation use. The use, and associated impacts, maybe uneven through out the greater "area", and need not be tied to specific sites within the area. In order to avoid multiple fees, the fee charged is for the recreation use of the entire area rather than for individual amenities or activities. Evidence of having paid the fee is by properly displaying a valid recreation fee pass. These would include a valid Adventure Pass, or an America the Beautiful Interagency Pass or either a Golden Age or Golden Access Passport upon the parked vehicle.

The prohibition on collection of fees in dispersed recreation areas contained in Section 3(d) has led some to believe that fees are only authorized in specific developed sites. This is incorrect. The prohibition applies only to dispersed areas with low or no investment. Collection of fees in areas where heavy investment is needed to address impacts is specifically authorized as a Standard Amenity Fee in Section 3(f).

In identifying the Standard Amenity Recreation Fee areas, managers of the southern California National Forests carefully evaluated each area within the forest to determine the locations where significant public use is occurring and where significant investment is needed to manage recreation impacts. Each location was then further evaluated to ensure that the area had the six amenities required by the legislation, and that the area could be understandably described with clearly identified boundaries and access points.

Are there exceptions to the need for an Adventure Pass?

You will not need a pass when traveling through the Forest and not stopping, when stopped for activities incidental to through travel (stretch break, photo-opportunity, use a restroom), when you are parked at your residence or at an organization camp, or within areas covered by special use permits.

A Pass is not required for people stopping for information at Ranger stations, visitor centers and other Forest Service offices, or for off-road vehicles (displaying California State OHVMR Green or Red stickers) while they are parked within a designated OHV route or area. Volunteers and educational institutions, such as schools that bring children to the Forest for an outing, are also exempt. During 2016 there were five (5) free days authorized - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, National Get Outdoors Day, National Public Lands Day, and Veteran's Day.

What is an Administrative Pass?

National Forests are managed for multiple use. We realize that people may visit their public lands for purposes other than recreation. For that reason, we have implemented an "administrative pass" program for educational groups, volunteers and others conducting business who may be in the forest. Administrative passes are issued free for convenience purposes. They must be requested through the Forest Service office where you plan to visit. Administrative Passes are also issued to Native Americans for the conduct of traditional cultural and religious activities, and to persons conducting mining and prospecting activities.

Due to the special requirements applicants must meet, Administrative passes for exempt activities are only issued at local Forest and Ranger District offices.

What about places like ski resorts and campgrounds, where I already pay?

You won't need an Adventure Pass while parked at places where a site-specific fee is already charged. The Adventure Pass covers day-use of certain campground, and these will be posted on-site. If you're uncertain whether or not you need a Pass, please call your local Forest Service office or view the listings found on the interactive map.

What about Golden Age, Golden Access, and Golden Eagle Passports?

In 2007, the Golden Passport program was replaced by the America the Beautiful Interagency Pass Program. The Interagency Passes cover most of the same benefits of the Golden Pass program, with a few changes. The Golden Passports will continue to be valid until they expire. Please view the special instructions for persons who have a damaged Golden Pass.

The Interagency Passes are national passes, and cover the same standard amenity fees on any national forest or park nation-wide. So, if you plan to travel and visit many national forests outside the southern California travel zone, you will find the Interagency Passes a better buy. America the Beautiful and Adventure Passes may be obtained by phone or mail.

More information about the America the Beautiful Interagency Pass Program is available online.

What if I have more than one vehicle?

When you purchase an annual Adventure Pass, you may also purchase a Second Vehicle Pass for an additional vehicle for $5.00. If you decide to purchase the Second Vehicle Pass at a later time, simply bring your Annual Pass with you when you make your purchase. Second Vehicle Passes are validated for the same month and year as the annual Adventure Pass. Therefore it is to the buyer’s advantage to purchase both passes at the same time.

Tip: When buying Annual & Second Vehicle Adventure Passes or America the Beautiful Interagency Passes, consider making your purchase near the beginning of the month. Why? Because these passes are valid until the end of the month of purchase in the following year. Plan ahead and get 13 months use from your Adventure Passes or America the Beautiful Interagency Passes!

When purchasing an annual Adventure Pass, you may also purchase one Second Vehicle Pass for an additional $5.00. You may decide to purchase the Second Vehicle Pass later at any Forest Service office in southern California (bring your annual pass with you).

What about Refunds, Exchanges or Extensions?

The general policy is that there are NO refunds, exchanges or extensions given for Adventure Passes. Each District Ranger may evaluate individual circumstances. For instance, if a pass has been severely damaged it may be replaced with a new pass if the District Ranger believes they can distinguish the validity of that pass.

On rare occasions, the Forest Supervisors may decide to offer a short-term "general" refund or extension program. Refunds are not usually given for America the Beautiful Interagency Passes.

I Received a Notice of Required Fee—Now What?

The objective of the recreation fee compliance program is to inform and educate visitors to the need for recreation fees. Field Rangers are trained to use their discretion in these situations, and will often rely on verbal information rather than written warnings make the point.

During the development phase of the fee program, planners recognized that a large number of forest visitors are “new” to the forest on any given day (20% on average). These new visitors have little familiarity with local rules upon arrival, in particular the requirement for displaying the passes. A very unique compliance program was developed. A warning notice called the “Notice of Required Fee” (NRF) was designed that educates "first time" visitors to the fee requirement, while allowing for the fee to be paid after-the-fact. The enforcement option is reserved for the “habitual violators”, those who repeatedly fail to take care of their warning notices. Repeat violators expect the law-abiding visitors to carry the financial burden of paying for the benefits they automatically enjoy while visiting the forest.

The Adventure Pass Fee Compliance program is educational and informative. It is not punitive!

What will change? The Recreation Fee program will be enforced. Repeat violators are now subject to receiving a Violation Notice if caught not displaying proof of payment (pass or permit) of the required fee. Section 12 of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act requires the agency to enforce payment of the fees authorized by the Act. Registered owners and vehicle occupants may be jointly liable for the penalty, which is $100 for the first offense of nonpayment of 36CFR Sec 261.17. The fines can escalate for subsequent offenses of nonpayment.

The Notice of Required Fee (NRF) is a “warning”. You are being asked to pay the required recreation use fee after-the-fact. Your payment "clears" the NRF in the database. If the vehicle license number on the NRF is in the database more than once, the registered owner may receive a citation for any future violation of the fee regulation. Remember: These recreation fees go to provide needed public services, upkeep of facilities and to repair the impacts of heavy use or abuse of the forest landscape and wildlife habitat. Those who do not pay the fee push their financial responsibility onto other law abiding forest visitors who paid, and who rightfully complain about those who don't—the fee program will be enforced!

If you were not involved in recreation use of the forest, or the facilities or services provided, you may send a brief note of explanation to the address at the bottom of the NRF.

San Bernardino National Forest
Pass Program Headquarters - Notices
602 S. Tippecanoe Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92408-2607

Typical examples of exemptions to the fee are vehicle mechanical trouble, stops for activities incidental to through travel (take a photo, brief rest, use a restroom, etc). Administrative Passes are available free for convenience purposes. Check with your local Forest Service office.

If the Field Ranger missed seeing your pass, or left you a message stating that your pass was unreadable, please contact the Fee Program office at 909-382-2622, 2623 or 2618. A service representative will assist you in resolving the issue.

Did you Know?

Any of the recreation passes depicted below pay for Standard Amenity Fees (day-use) charged on the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests.

Adventure Pass

Daily Pass: $5.00

Adventure Pass, Daily Pass

Sold at Forest Service offices and by private vendors.

Daily Passes are hangtags, designed to be self-validating. Visitors scratch off the day and month of their visit upon reaching their forest destination. This design allows Daily Passes to be conveniently obtained in advance of the outing to the forest.

The pass is good until 10 a.m. the morning after it is used.

Annual Pass: $30.00

Adventure Pass, Annual Pass, 2016

Sold at Forest Service offices and by private vendors.

Annual Passes are validated at the time of purchase by the seller. These passes are valid until the end of the month of purchase in the following year.

This pass is designed to be used as either a hangtag or a peel-off bumper sticker.

Second Vehicle Pass: $5.00

Adventure Pass, Secondary Vehicle Pass, 2016

Sold at Forest Service offices and by some private vendors.

Second Vehicle Passes are validated at the time of purchase by the seller. The buyer must show their Annual Pass when buying a Second Vehicle Pass. These passes are valid until the end of the month shown on the buyer's Annual Pass.

This pass is designed to be used as either a hangtag or a peel-off bumper sticker.

Interagency Decal

America the Beautiful Annual Decal, 2017

Holders of America the Beautiful Annual Passes may obtain the decal for free through this web site with the purchase of an Annual Pass.

Interagency Passport hang tags

Interagency Access Pass, Hanging Tag Senior

The hang tags for America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are now available from Forest Service Offices.

Interagency Passport hang tags

Interagency Access Pass, Hanging Tag

The hang tags for America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are now available from Forest Service Offices.

National Recreation Passes

America the Beautiful Interagency Passes cover Standard Amenity Fees charged at any National Forest nationwide AND all entry fees charged at National Parks, Monuments and US Wildlife Refuges nationwide.

All versions of the America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are available at any Forest Service office in southern California. The annual version is available through this website.

Interagency Annual Pass 2018 4th Grade Pass Interagency Annual Military Pass Interagency Senior Pass New Lifetime Senior Pass New Annual Senior Pass Interagency Access Pass Interagency Volunteer Pass
 

National passes cover recreation fees found at federal recreation areas such as national forests and grasslands. They also can be used at national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands. They cover the use of facilities and services at many day-use sites on US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.

There are several pass options to consider. To make the best choice on which pass to purchase, you should think about your recreation plans for the next year.

  • Your best value may be a single-day pass.
  • Or if you’re a frequent visitor to one or more sites, a multi-day pass or annual pass that covers a forest or region may be the best buy.
  • An Interagency Annual Pass may be your best value if you plan to visit many different federal lands across the nation that include lands managed by other federal agencies.
  • You may also qualify for one of the Interagency Lifetime Passes (Interagency Senior Pass or Interagency Access Pass).
  • The "Every Kid in a Park" pass gives fourth graders free access to 2,000-plus federal recreation sites. Detailed information about that pass is available on the Every Kid site.

The USGS Store provides Frequently Asked Questions about Recreational Passes. For more information about permits and passes, see our national Recreation Fees and Passes website.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are the Heartbeat of the US Forest Service.

Volunteer service in the Forest Service was formalized in the Volunteers in the National Forest Act of 1972. The national forests, grasslands, and prairies are there for you to enjoy because many people have served over numerous years to preserve, protect and improve them.

Now you can give something back by volunteering.

Please visit the forest website for details on the exciting volunteer opportunities that await you there.

 


Optional Links:

Highlights

  • Fee revenues make a difference
    Thank you. Your fees make a difference!

    National Forests in California are using recreation fee revenues to improve and enhance recreation opportunities. See how your fees have made a difference!



https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r5/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=fseprd520630