Passes & Permits

The Dakota Prairie Grasslands manage resources to meet sustainable resource management objectives. Management protects natural resource values, public health and safety, and is consistent with the resource management plans outlined in the Grassland Plan. In order to meet these objectives, permits may be required for the occupancy and use of Forest Service land. Additionally, passes assist is funding certain management projects.

Before you plan an activity on the Grasslands, please be sure to check whether or not you need a permit or pass. Common activities that will need a permit include wood cutting, commercial mushroom picking (personal use does not require a permit), outfitter & guiding, filming, photography, family reunions, weddings, and research . Please contact a Ranger District Office for forest permits or passes and up to date information.

Recreation Passes & Permits


  • The Interagency America the Beautiful Pass is the current pass program for public lands.
  • The previous program for Golden Age and Golden Access Passport is also honored by the Grassland.
  • The types and amounts of benefit discount vary from site to site and depend on the type of pass.


  • Permits are not required for hiking or camping on the Grasslands.
  • The grasslands are open to the public year long except when conditions require temporary closure (such as fire).

Forest Products Permits

  • Fire wood
  • Live plants
  • Peredible material and trees
  • Rocks, stones, gravel and other minerals

Christmas Tree harvesting is not available on the Dakota Prairie Grasslands. 

Personal Use Firewood Permits are available year-round.  Permits are $5.00/cord, with a minimum four cords, with a maximum of 12 cords allowed per household per calendar year.  The permit allows you to cut firewood from dead, downed trees only.  Firewood is for personal use only and may not be resold.  The Little Missouri National Grassland and Sheyenne National Grassland are open to wood cutting from April 1 to March 31.

Commercial Event Permits

Proposals must be submitted in writing to this office a minimum of 6 weeks in advance of the desired event dates. In order to facilitate this process, coordinate early with the Ranger District where you would like to operate. Depending on the complexity of the proposal, obtaining a special use authorization for an event can sometimes be a lengthy process. 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.  A permit is required when the outfitting/guiding operation is conducted on National Forest System (NFS) lands or waters and for the advertisement of a product or service, the creation of a product for sale, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props. Examples:

  • Outfitter guides
    • Hunts
    • Backpacking
    • Kayaking
    • Guiding
    • Packing
    • Biking tours
    • Hiking tours.
  • Filming
    • Motion picture
    • Videotaping
    • Sound-recording
    • Moving images
    • Audio recording equipment 
  • Photography
  • Organizational camps.
  • Function where the public is invited or there is a fee charged

Recreation Event Permits

Recreation special uses may be authorized to enhance and expand recreation opportunities on public lands while protecting natural resources and minimizing user conflicts. The type of Special Use authorization required will vary depending on the scope of a particular event or activity. 

A permit is required for these types of events, regardless of the number of people involved in the activity. Recreation events are commercial activities, examples are:

  • Races
  • Dog trials
  • Fishing contests
  • Adventure games 
  • Youth treks 
  • Concerts
  • Other similar events

More information on Recreation Special Use Permits

Non Commercial Group Use Permits

No entry or participation fee is charged, and the primary purpose of the activity is not the sale of a good or service. Some examples are:

  • Club Outings
  • Family Outings
  • Reunions
  • Weddings

A permit is required for all noncommercial group uses involving 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators. 

Other Permits

A Special Use Authorization is a permit that grants rights or privileges of occupancy and use subject to specified terms and conditions on National Forest land. These permits cover activities, such as construction of roads, power and water lines, research, mineral processing, etc. Please contact any Ranger District Office for information about non-recreation special use permits.