Passes & Permits
The Forest Service manages the national forests for 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 future generations. To help us meet this goal, certain activities, such as firewood collection, require permits, while others, such as camping, benefit from passes.
The Forest Service manages over 192 million acres of national forests and grasslands that comprise the National Forest System (NFS). Today, our growing population and mobile society have created a demand for a variety of uses of these federal lands. Often these diverse needs require specific approval.
When DON'T You Need A Permit?
- When you are gathering edible material (morels, etc.) for your own consumption.
- When you are camping in a dispersed area.
- When you are at a site that doesn't require a Recreation Enhancement Act Fee.
- When you are building a campfire on National Forest System lands you can collect a reasonable quantity of wood for the campfire without a permit.
Fee revenues make a difference.
The majority of proceeds from recreation fees and passes goes right back into maintaining and improving the things you use most like bridges, buildings, trails, boat ramps and visitor centers.
Check out this quick snapshot showing the kinds of work done with your fees. For a more comprehensive understanding of how much was collected and how it was used, check out the national, regional and local accomplishment reports.
- For some recreation activities:
- At most day use sites such as trailheads, picnic areas and river access sites
- Reserving a campsite
- For collecting fuelwood.
- Special Use Permits are required for commercial and non-commercial use of NFS lands, including:
- Easements for electrical and utility lines,
- roads to access private property bound by National Forest lands,
- oil and gas pipelines, wells or holding tanks, etc.