Recreation Special Use Policy and Direction

As a permit holder of a recreation special use permit, this page will assist you in keeping up to date on the latest special use permit (SUP) policy and direction.

Outfitter and Guide Permits

On October 19, 2007 the Forest Service published “Proposed Directives for Forest Service Outfitting and Guiding Special Use Permits and Insurance Requirements for Forest Service Special Use Permits”

Following a pubic comment period, the Forest Service published, the “Final Directives for Forest Service Outfitting and Guiding Special Use Permits and Insurance Requirements for Forest Service Special Use Permits" on September 17, 2008.

In summary the new directives:

  • Revise directives governing special use permits for outfitting and guiding conducted on National Forest System lands
  • Simplify the application and administrative process
  • Establish a flat land use fee for temporary use permits
  • Develop a process for allocation of use on a first-come, first-served or lottery basis for temporary use permits facilitating greater participation in outfitting and guiding by youth, educational, and religious groups
  • Offer the same terms and conditions to educational and institutional permit holders as offered to other types of permit holders when they operate as a business
  • Clarify policy for priority use permits governing performance, inspections, and allocation of use
  • Revise the directives governing insurance requirements

Recreation managers on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest are working to better understand the new policy, and begin to implement them. In February 2009, letters were sent to all current and previous temporary permit holders notifying them of their option for future permits. These options included; 1) declining any future needs of a temporary permits, 2) requesting consideration for any temporary use pools; or 3) requesting reclassification as transitional priority use permit holder if eligible. These options must be requested by September 17, 2009.

A letter was also sent out in March 2009 to all priority use permit holders advising them of the new directives. Follow-up meetings between outfitter and guides are also being planned to address are specific implications.

The Forest Recreation managers will meet this summer to discuss other directions from the new policy such as;

  • Development of temporary and priority use pools
  • Tracking of the 5 year priority use allocations, which begins in 2009 and the process to reallocate the under utilized service days and quotas
  • Timelines for completing a Forest Needs Assessments and Capacity Studies
  • Process for addressing any new priority use applications such as those from institutional or semi-public organizations

More information can also be found on the "USDA Forest Service Outfitting and Guide Directory"

Forest Service Special Use Permit websites

Washington Office homepage for special uses:

Forest Service and BLM joint special use webpage: