Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has the right to request federal agency records and obtain copies of records unless they are protected from disclosure under exemptions in the law. The FOIA coordinator for the San Juan Public Lands can be contacted at (970) 385-1290 or via e-mail at, or by mail at: FOIA Coordinator, 15 Burnett Court, Durango, CO 81301.

How to Make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and USDA regulations at 7 CFR, anyone can request access to USDA Forest Service records. The FOIA requires the Forest Service to allow the public to have access unless the information is exempt under the FOIA from mandatory disclosure (e.g., classified national security, business proprietary, personal privacy, investigative).

Your request must be in writing. Indicate that you are making a request under the Freedom of Information Act, and address the request to the following address(s):

For Forest Service FOIAs mail to:

FOIA Coordinator
San Juan Public Lands Center
15 Burnett Ct.,

Durango, CO  81301

For BLM FOIAs mail to:

FOIA Officer
BLM Colorado State Office
2850 Youngfield Street
Lakewood, CO  80215

Identify the records you want as accurately as possible, with as much detail as would be helpful for locating the information (subject matter, date, place where the record was created, the person or office that created it, the present custodian of the record, etc).  A request may seek only records that are in existence at the time that the FOIA request is received, and may not require that new records be created in response to the request.  Provide your phone number and mailing address so that our Forest may contact you if needed (for clarification of your request, etc). FOIA Fees: Agencies are authorized by law to recover the direct costs of providing information to a FOIA requester. A requester may be required to pay fees for searching, reviewing, and copying records. You will be notified in advance if fees will exceed $25. Fee Categories: For fee purposes, the FOIA requires that requesters be placed in one of the following four categories: (1) commercial-use requesters; (2) news media, (3) educational institution, noncommercial scientific institution, and (4) all others. Commercial-use requesters are charged the full direct cost of search, review, and duplication associated with processing their requests.  Scientific, educational, and news media requesters are charged the cost of duplication alone, except that the first 100 pages are provided free of charge.  All other requesters are charged the direct costs of search and duplication, except that the first 2 hours of search and the first 100 pages of duplications are free of charge. No review charges are assessed for requesters in this last category. Specify the fee category in which you feel your request falls. State the maximum amount of fees that you are willing to pay, or include a request for a fee waiver. Fee Waivers: The FOIA permits agencies to waive fees if disclosure of the records is in the public interest because it: (a) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government (Does the record concern the operations or activities of the government? Is disclosure likely to contribute to the public understanding of these operations and activities? Will that contribution be significant?); and (b) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Requests for fee waivers must be fully documented and justified by written explanation. The U.S. Department of Justice, which oversees FOIA compliance throughout the federal government, sets out a six-part test for agencies to follow when evaluating a request for fee waivers. Privacy Act: Under the Privacy Act (PA), a person may seek access to records that are retrieved by that person's name or other personal identifier, such as social security number or employee identification number. Such records will be made available unless they fall within the exemptions of the PA and the FOIA. Detailed information concerning USDA policies and procedures for obtaining access to information under the FOIA and the PA is available in 7 CFR Part 1, Subpart A, or by calling the USDA FOIA Officer at (202) 720-8164 between 8 A.M. & 4 P.M.