Event/Commercial Permits

The Forest Service manages the national forests for a number of multiple uses, including recreation, timber, wilderness, minerals, water, grazing, fish and wildlife. Our job is to help people share and enjoy the forest, while conserving the environment for generations yet to come. To help us meet this goal, certain activities, such as firewood collection, require permits, while others, such as camping, benefit from passes.

Read on for an overview of national forest passes and permits:

Special Uses Permits

Deadlines by Season of Special Use

  • Fall/Winter Uses

    Occurring between August 15 and February 15

    Application deadline of November 15 of the prior year of season.

    Example: event is 9/5/2022, application needs to be turned in by 11/15/2021.

  • Spring/Summer Uses

    Occurring between February 16 and August 14

    Application deadline of May 15 of the prior year of season.

    Example: event is 4/15/2022, application needs to be turned in by 5/15/2021.

The above deadlines apply to all permits except pipelines, electric distribution & transmission lines and communication lines. If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, then applications are due by 5 p.m. eastern the previous business day.


About Special Use Permits

Special use authorizations provide use of National Forest System lands for a wide variety of activities. Authorizations are issued to commercial and non-commercial operations which provide use of and access to these lands. Permits are also issued for private, non-exclusive use. Depending on the complexity of the proposal, obtaining a special use authorization can sometimes be a lengthy process. In order to facilitate this process, coordinate early with the District where you would like to operate.

Not all proponents receive a permit, therefore any action taken before receiving a special use authorization, such as advertising or expending funds, is premature and at the proponent's risk.

Before a special use proposal is approved, the agency must determine that the proposed use complies with the Forest's land and resource management plan; that National Environmental Policy Act requirements are met; there is a demonstrated need for the activity on National Forest System lands; and the use is appropriate on National Forest System lands.

Special use activities can be divided into Non-commercial and Commercial uses as follows: