Recreation Rules

Rules and Regulations for Forest Use

As a visitor to the National Forest you are asked to follow certain rules designated to protect the forests and the natural environment, to ensure the heath and safety of visitors, and to promote pleasant and rewarding outdoor recreation experiences for all visitors. Forest officers are required to enforce Federal Regulations so please take time to read and understand them.


  • Throw all garbage and litter in containers provided for this purpose, if none are provided, please take it with you.
  • Wash food and personal items away from drinking water supplies. Use water faucets only for filling containers.
  • Prevent pollution - keep garbage, litter and foreign substances out of lakes, streams and other water.
  • Use toilets properly. Do not throw garbage, litter, fish cleanings, or other foreign substances in toilets and plumbing fixtures. Do not damage or deface structures and please do not allow children to play in or around restrooms.
  • Garbage containers, when provided, are reserved for the use of visitors to the National Forest, (not visitors or owners or private lands under permit).

Operation of Vehicles

  • Obey all traffic signs. State traffic laws apply to the National Forests.
  • No ATV or OHV use is permitted within developed campgrounds except for the Elkhorn Campground on the Fremont River Ranger District. In that campground, ATV's may enter and exit the campground, but not operated within the campground other than that.
  • ATVs are not permitted within the Fish Lake Basin. If visitors wish to ride their ATVs on trails surrounding the Basin, please transport them to the trailheads. Do not ride an ATV from the campground to the trailhead.
  • Please do not block, restrict or interfere with the use of roads or trails.
  • Obey area, road and trail restrictions. Long term closures of roads and trails are listed on the travel map for the Fishlake National Forest. Temporary road closures can occur for emergency reasons (such as fire) or resource damage (such as flood damage). Check the road conditions web page, or contact the nearest Ranger District Office for the latest information.
  • Within campgrounds and other recreation sites use cars, motorbikes, motorcycles, or other motor vehicles only for entering or leaving unless areas or trails are specifically marked for them. Park only in parking areas, not on the vegetation.

Definition of Recreational Vehicles

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) A type of off-highway vehicle that travels on three or more low-pressure tires; has handle-bar steering; is less than, or equal to, 50 inches in width; and has a seat designed to be straddled by the operator

Motor Vehicle - Any vehicle which is self-propelled, other than:

  • A vehicle operated on rails;
  • Any wheelchair or mobility device, including one that is battery-powered, that is designed solely for use by a mobility-impaired person for locomotion, and that is suitable for use in an indoor pedestrian area.

Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) - Any motor vehicle designed for, or capable of, cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water sand snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain.

Wheelchair or Mobility Device - A device, including one that is battery-powered, that is designed solely for use by a mobility-impaired person for locomotion, and that is suitable for use in an indoor pedestrian area. A person whose disability requires use of a wheelchair or mobility device may use a wheelchair or mobility device that meets this definition anywhere foot travel is permitted.


  • Please do not carve tabletops or destroy restroom fixtures.
  • Please do not carve, chop, cut or damage any live trees.
  • Preserve and protect your National Forest, leave natural areas the way you find them.
  • Enter buildings, structures, or enclosed areas in National Forests only when they are expressly opened to the public.
  • Indian sites, old cabins and other structures, along with objects and artifacts associated with them, have historic or archeological value. Do not damage or remove any such historic or archeological resource. Removal of artifacts is against the law.


  • Obey restrictions on fires. Fires may be limited or prohibited at certain times.
  • Within campgrounds and other recreation sites, build fires only in fire rings, stoves, grills or fireplaces provided for that purpose.
  • Campfires are permitted only in developed campgrounds and picnic areas in the Fish Lake Basin.
  • Be sure any campfire is completely extinguished with water before leaving. You are responsible for keeping fires under control. Many forest fires are caused by abandoned campfires not being completely extinguished.


  • Campsite reservations are made by calling the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) at 1-877-444-6777. NRSS may also be access on line at
  • Reservations can be made in a maximum of 240-360 days and a minimum of 4 days in advance. You must reserve at least a three night minimum stay over a holiday weekend.
  • Check in time will be at 2:00 pm, check out will be at 12:00 noon.
  • Use picnic sites and other day use areas only between the hours of 6:00 am and 10:00 pm.
  • Campgrounds and other recreation sites can be used only for recreation purposes. Permanent use, such as a principle residence without authorization, is not allowed.
  • At least one person must occupy a camping area during the first night after camping equipment has been set up, unless the Forest Service has otherwise granted permission. What does "occupy" mean? That someone should make an appearance within the first 24 hours or first night that camp is set up. If a campsite is unattended then no one is responsible. On a "Reservable Site" the Host can hold this site for 24 hours; it means if someone cannot get there the first day that their "Reserved Site" is held for them for 24 hours and if they do not show up after the 24 hour period it will be available to someone else.
  • Do not leave camping equipment unattended for more than 24 hours without permission from the Forest Service. The Federal Government is not responsible for any loss or damage to personal property.
  • Remove all personal property and trash when leaving.
  • There is a limit of 16 days to stay in a designated campground, unless otherwise posted. Campgrounds at Fish Lake have a limit of 10 days to stay in a designated campground.
  • There is a limit of 16 days of occupancy per year in dispersed camping areas on the Fishlake National Forest. Campers must move at least 5 road miles before choosing a new campsite location. After campers have stayed for over two weeks, vegetation becomes trampled and sanitation becomes an issue. Campers may empty their trailer sewage at no charge at the Doctor Creek Dump Station.
  • Quiet time is from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am. Respect other campers desire for rest and quiet and turn off portable generators and other noise producing equipment.

Dispersed Camping

  • Groups of over 75 people who wish to use the forest, need to obtain a special use permit. There is no fee and permits can be obtained at the nearest District Office.
  • You need to be self-contained. No amenities are provided; such as water, restrooms or trash cans.
  • You may camp in a dispersed area for up to 16 days. After 16 days, you must move at least 5 road miles for camping in another dispersed area.
  • Please place your campsite at least 100 feet from any stream or other water source.
  • Keep a Pack-In Pack-Out camp. Follow Leave No Trace guidelines.
  • Contact the local Forest Service office to see if any restrictions, especially fire restrictions are in place.
  • For more detailed information please access our Dispersed Camping web page.

Audio Devices

  • Operate any audio device, such as a radio or musical instrument, so that it does not disturb other visitors.
  • A permit is required for operating a public address system in or near a campsite, developed recreation site, or over a body of water.

Fireworks and Firearms

  • The use of firearms and explosive devices is prohibited within campgrounds and other recreation sites.
  • Possession and use of fireworks is prohibited on the National Forest at all times. Check our fire restrictions for more information.
  • Firing of a gun is not allowed in or within 150 yards of any residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area, across or on a road or body of water, in any circumstance whereby any person may be injured or property damaged
  • Do not use signs for target practice. Be aware of your surroundings when discharging a firearm so projectiles won't stray from the intended target area.


Showers are only available at Mackinaw Campground at Fish Lake.

RV Hookups

RV Hookups are not available.