Special Use Permits

What are special-use authorizations?

A special-use authorization is a legal document such as a permit, term permit, lease, or easement, which allows occupancy, use, rights, or privileges of NFS land. The authorization is granted for a specific use of the land for a specific period of time.

When do I need an authorization?

  • If you will need to occupy, use, or build on NFS land for personal or business purposes, whether the duration is temporary or long term.
  • If there is a fee being charged or if income is derived from the use.
  • If an activity on NFS land involves individuals or organization with 75 or more participants or spectators.

Is my proposal appropriate?

  • Your request must be consistent with laws, regulations, orders, policies of NFS lands, other federal laws, and applicable State and local health and sanitation laws.
  • Your request must be consistent or made consistent with the standards and guidelines in the applicable Land and Resource Management Plan.
  • Your request must not pose serious or substantial risk to public health or safety.
  • Your request must not require exclusive or perpetual right of use or occupancy.
  • Your request does not unreasonably conflict or interfere with administrative uses, other scheduled or authorized existing uses or use of adjacent non-NFS lands.
  • The proponent must not owe any fees to the Forest Service from a prior or existing special-use authorization.
  • No gambling or providing of sexually oriented commercial services can be authorized on NFS land, even if permitted under state law.
  • No military or paramilitary training or exercises by private organizations or individuals can be authorized on NFS land unless it is federally funded.
  • No disposal of solid waste or storage or disposal of radioactive or other hazardous substances can be authorized on NFS land.

What does an authorization cost?

Cost Recovery Fees - An assessment of fees to recover agency costs for processing special use applications and costs for monitoring special use authorizations.  These fees are separate from any fees charged for the use and occupancy of NFS lands. Cost Recovery fees only apply to recreation permits (For Example: Outfitter and Guide Permits and Recreation Events Permits) if the permit processing time is more than 50 hours. See the table below for the Cost Recovery fees.

Calendar-year 2022 Fees
Category Hours Processing Fee
1. (Minimal Impact) Estimated work hours are less than 8. $136
2. Estimated work hours are between 8 and 24. $480
3. Estimated work hours are between 24 and 36. $904
4. Estimated work hours between 36 and 50. $1,296
5. (Master Agreements) Varies Full actual as specified in the agreement.
6. Estimated work hours greater than 50. Full reasonable costs or full actual as determined case by case


Land Use Fees - This is an annual rental fee based on the fair market value for the uses authorized and is payable in advance. Fees are established by appraisal or other sound business management principles.

Other Associated Costs - You may be responsible for providing information and reports necessary to determine the feasibility and environmental impacts of your proposal; compliance with applicable laws and regulations; and terms and conditions to be included in the authorization.

Special Use Permits

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[Commercial Filming & Photography] [Noncommercial Group Use Events]

[Recreation Events] [Outfitting & Guiding] [Non-Guided Bus Groups/Tours]

[Temporary Commercial Events] [Recreation Residences]

[Recreation Occupancy Vehicles (Private Houseboats)]

Outfitting and Guide Permits