Due to a lapse in federal funding, this USDA website will not be actively updated. Once funding has been reestablished, online operations will continue. On-going operational updates will be posted here (https://www.fs.fed.us/shutdown) as we are able to provide them.


Special Uses

Photo of Person Fishing


National forests and grasslands belong to all of us. The Forest Service manages these lands to meet the demand for a variety of uses that benefit the public and protect the resources for future generations. A special use permit, or authorization, is one tool to regulate use in a way that supports national policy and federal laws. Currently, there are over 74,000 authorizations on National Forest System lands for over 180 types of uses.

Each year, the Forest Service receives thousands of individual and business applications to use National Forest System lands for such activities as water transmission, agriculture, outfitting and guiding, recreation, group gatherings, research, photography, and granting road and utility rights-of-way. The Forest Service carefully reviews each application to determine how the request affects the public's use of public land. Normally, National Forest System land is not made available if the overall needs of the individual or business can be met on non-federal lands.

The first step in obtaining a special use authorization is to contact the local Forest Service office. Staff will discuss your proposal, application procedures, fees, time frames, licensing and insurance requirements if necessary, reports, and reviews.

Generally, applications for recreation residences, outfitting and guiding, special events, and non-commercial group uses are handled by the recreation special uses staff, located in ranger district offices. Applications for road building and maintenance, power lines, isolated cabins, research permits, and commercial filming and photography are handled by the lands and realty staff, located in the Supervisor's Office in Cody.

The application process - how to obtain a special use authorization with the Forest Service.

Forms - before starting an application, please contact the local Forest Service office to ensure the correct information is provided.


Guided Services

Guided services are provided by outfitters and guides - our partners in providing thousands of satisfied customers with recreational experiences they might otherwise have neither the opportunity nor the ability to enjoy. Guided experiences range from equestrian trail rides and hunting trips to whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, and dog sledding, to name a few. 

To hire outfitter and guide services authorized to operate through Forest Service permits, please reference standard commercial services listings and contact them directly.