Event/Commercial Permits

A permit is required when you are asking for special privileges on National Forest land. Examples include gatherings of 75 people or more, operating a business such as an outfitting or guiding service, using the Forest for financial gain, occupying a recreation residence, and commercial filming. The use may be for a one-day event such as a wedding or bicycle race, or for up to 40 years such as a ski resort permit.

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?

  1. 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.
  2. If there is a fee being charged or if income is derived from the use.
  3. If an activity on NFS land involves individuals or organization with 75 or more participants or spectators.

Is my proposal appropriate?

  1. 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.
  2. Your request must be consistent or made consistent with the standards and guidelines in the applicable Land and Resource Management Plan.
  3. Your request must not pose serious or substantial risk to public health or safety.
  4. Your request must not require exclusive or perpetual right of use or occupancy.
  5. Your request does not unreasonably conflict or interfere with administrative uses, other scheduled or authorized existing uses, or use of adjacent non-NFS lands.
  6. The proponent must not owe any fees to the Forest Service from a prior or existing special-use authorization.
  7. No gambling or providing of sexually oriented commercial services can be authorized on NFS land, even if permitted under state law.
  8. No military or paramilitary training or exercises by private organizations or individuals can be authorized on NFS land, unless it is federally funded.
  9. 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 if the permit processing time is more than 50 hours, (For Example: Outfitter and Guide Permits and Recreation Events Permits).

Table of Cost Recovery Fees
Minimal Impact


Processing Fee
CY 2019

Estimated work hours are less than 8.


Estimated work hours are between 8 and 24.


Estimated work hours are between 24 and 36.


Estimated work hours between 36 and 50.



Master Agreements
Hours Processing Fee
CY 2019

As specified in the Agreement.

Estimated work hours greater than 50.

Full reasonable costs, except MLA Full actual costs (MLA)


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 - Applications

Map of Ranger Districts

Coronado Architectural Guidelines

You've printed and filled out forms. "Now what do I do?"

Depending on the complexity of the proposal, obtaining a Special Use Authorization can sometimes be a lengthy process.  It is important to note not all proponent's will receive approval for a permit, therefore any action taken before receiving a Special Use authorization, such as occupying National Forest System Lands and advertising or expending funds, is premature and at the proponent's risk--and is against the law.

  • Submit ALL proposals and applications at least 90 days of your intended start of operations.
  • All proposals and applications will be date-stamped when received and processed in order of receipt. Please make note Outfitter and Guide applications will be only processed during the Open Season.
  • Submit all proposals/applications or questions to the Coronado National Forest Supervisors Office.

Coronado National Forest, Supervisors Office

Coronado National Forest
300 W. Congress St.
Tucson, AZ 85701

(520) 388-8300 (main phone line)

Open Seasons

An “Open Season” is a focused period to receive applications for outfitter and guide special use permits, which will concentrate the review and approval of outfitter and guide’s, recreation events, and cabin modifications permit applications to a specific time frame.

The purpose of using an Open Season (focused period for applications) is to provide the most effective and efficient permit administrative process that will improve the Coronado National Forest’s customer service to existing permit holders and new permit applications. This will increase the probability of forest service staff to review permit applications in a predictable and collective manner to ensure that forest resources are protected and environmental compliance is consistently applied to each application.

For calendar year 2020 please see the Open Season Letters for application deadlines for Outfitter and Guides, Recreation Events, and Cabin Modifications.

This Open Season will be implemented for all future years.

Cost Recovery

The Forest Service has modified the fee structure for processing special use permits. The modification is based on Congressional direction to develop a program to improve administration of the agency's special use program.  Under the rule, the Forest Service will collect fees from some permit applicants to recover the costs of processing and administering special use authorizations consistent with recommendations made by the General Accountability Office Diagram of Cost Recovery Process