Event/Commercial Permits

Mt. Wilson Telecommunication Towers

Do you want to use Forest Service land for personal or business purposes? 

The Forest Service authorizes the private use of National Forest Service land through permits for a variety of reasons, including special events (e.g., wedding), other group activities, recreation-oriented events (e.g. runs/races), recreation cabins, ski areas, resorts, outfitter guides (including pack stations), communication sites, filming and photography, etc. 

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 agency land. The authorization is granted for a specific use of the land for a specific period of time. 

When do I need a special-use permit? 

  • If you will need to occupy, use or build on Forest Service 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 those lands land involve individuals or organization with 75 or more participants or spectators.

Before Special Use Permits are issued, the Forest Service must determine that the proposed use complies with all management plans and laws, that there is a demonstrated need for the activity, and that the use is appropriate on national forest system lands. Special Use Permits are a temporary authority.

For information about event permits please call or email Angela Stever for more information at 661-269-2808 ext.249 or angela.stever@usda.gov

For general information visit our National Special Uses website.

For specific information on how to obtain a permit on the Angeles National Forest, contact your nearest Forest Service Office.

More information on different permits authorizations coming soon...

When Should You Obtain a Special Use Permit?

graphic on how to obtain a special use permit

Click image to enlarge.

Special Use Permit Types

Filming & Photography

National forests are a popular location for the commercial filming and still photography industries. Many motion pictures and commercials have been filmed on the Angeles National Forest.

Anyone wishing to film on National Forest System lands must obtain a special use permit from the Forest Service. The Filming and Photography webpage addresses many common questions concerning the permitting process. To request a filming and still photography permit for the Angeles National Forest, please fill out a Commercial Filming/Photography Proposal Form and email it to sm.fs.ANF_Filming@usda.gov

Prior to the issuance of a permit, the Forest Service will determine if there are any environmental concerns in the proposed filming or photo shoot location. The Forest Service may deny permits for practices prohibited on National Forest System lands. Do not proceed with any proposed filming or photography until you have a signed special use permit from the USDA Forest Service.

It is important to note that not all proponents will receive approval for a permit, therefore any action taken before receiving a special use authorization (permit) signed by an authorized USDA Forest Service official, is against the law.

Submitting a Proposal

Filming and photography proposals must be submitted to sm.fs.ANF_Filming@usda.gov at least 20 full business days before filming is scheduled to begin. Complex proposals may require 30 full business days or longer to be processed. Please call or email Angela Stever for more information at 661-269-2808 ext.249 or angela.stever@usda.gov   

Required documents needed to initiate the process of obtaining a Forest Service commercial filming and still photography permit on the Angeles National Forest:

  1. Current Angeles National Forest Proposal Form
  2. Map(s)
  3. Insurance documentation with required language (See insurance section)
    1. Certificate of Liability
    2. Endorsement page

Please be aware that all the above-mentioned documents must be correctly completed and submitted together. Also, other supporting documents may be required due to proposed activities and /or proposed locations.

Filming and still photography on holidays / weekends / weather days

Filming and photography activity that requires a Forest Service permit is generally prohibited on federal holidays and weekends, however some limited exceptions may be permitted depending on the location. The Angeles National Forest does not allow weather days, rain checks or alternative dates, if a permitted activity is affected by the weather, then it must be rescheduled. Please call a permit administrator for more information.

Scouting locations on the Angeles National Forest

Locations need to be determined prior to submitting a proposal. Scouting prior to submitting a proposal is strongly encouraged. When scouting for film locations on the Angeles National Forest, it is important to prepare and search the locations you will be visiting on forest. Consider the accessibility of the location and potential environmental impacts. Approval for locations may be contingent on several factor such as sensitive habitats, cultural resources, priority safety, and the natural environment. Additionally, it is important to plan for potential weather conditions and emergencies.

Please visit the following sites to determine the status and closures for the roadways that cut through the forest.

Some potential locations are behind locked gates. Plan accordingly when scouting and make note of known gates when filling out your proposal. Requests to access locked locations must be submitted at least 4 business days in advance. Access behind locked gates require Authorized Officer approval and are not guaranteed.


Applicant: Any individual or entity that applies for a special use authorization.

Application: A proposal to use National Forest System lands that has passed the initial and second-level screening and has been formally accepted by the Forest Service.

Holder: An individual or entity that holds a valid special use authorization.

Proponent: A person or entity that submits a proposal to use or occupy National Forest System lands.

Proposal: A request to use National Forest System lands that has not passed the initial or second-level screening and that has not been accepted by the Forest Service as a formal application.

Still Photography: Use of photographic equipment to capture still images on film, digital format, and other similar technologies on NFS lands using models, sets, or props that aren’t part of natural or cultural resource OR takes place in a location generally not open to the public. This designation includes commercial activities for capturing still images on film or in a digital format. This designation does not include the taking of photographic images by the general public for personal use or commercial filming activities.

Commercial Filming: Use of motion picture, videotaping, sound-recording, or any other type of moving image or audio recording equipment on NFS lands that involves the advertisement of a product or service, the creation of a product for sale, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props, but not including activities associated with broadcasting breaking news. This designation includes locations used by the motion picture and television media involving large film crews, actors, and sets. The designation also includes anticipated news-related uses, such as coverage of sports events, entertainment specials, or documentaries.


The Forest Service may require liability insurance and/or performance bonds to protect the public interest. Typically, one (1) million dollars in general liability may be required. Up to five (5) million may be required for activities that involve the use of a helicopter.

A copy of a certificate of liability insurance and an endorsement page (ACORD 25) will be required prior to the issuance of the permit. No hand-written certificates or endorsements will be accepted. The holder’s name must appear on the certificate of insurance as the “insured”.

A Special Use Permit requires that the permit holder indemnify the United States against any liability arising from the use or occupancy of NFS lands. The permit requires the holder to have their insurance company name the United States Government as an additionally insured party. The minimum required liability coverage is $1,000,000.00.

The following clauses must be shown verbatim on the Certificate of Liability Insurance and Endorsement Page the Letter of Endorsement:

In the Certificate Holder Box:

  • “United States Government, c/o USDA, Forest Service, Angeles National Forest 701 N. Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91006.”

In the Description of Operations Box:

  • “It is understood and agreed that the United States Government is additionally insured solely as respects liability arising from the operations of the named insured.”

On the Endorsement Page:

  • “USDA, Angeles National Forest 701 N. Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia, California.”
  • “It is understood and agreed that the United States Government is additionally insured solely as respects liability arising from the operations of the named insured.”


Provide a detailed map (U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle, Google Map/Earth screenshot, or equivalent) or plat (survey or equivalent) showing the requested use in relation to NFS land, identification of applicant's property (if applicable), scale, map legend, legal description, and a north arrow. Include labels to illustrate the locations of film activities, base camp(s), staging area(s), parking area(s), mile markers, roadways, pathways, etc.