Other Permits

A power line runs through trees along a hillside

Each year, the Forest Service receives thousands of individual and business applications for authorization for use of NFS land for such activities as water transmission, agriculture, outfitting and guiding, recreation, telecommunication, research, photography and video productions, and granting road and utility rights-of-ways. The Forest Service carefully reviews each application to determine how the request affects the public's use of NFS land. Normally, NFS land is not made available if the overall needs of the individual or business can be met on nonfederal lands.

The USDA Forest Service's special-uses program authorize uses on National Forest System (NFS) land that provide a benefit to the general public and protect public and natural resources values. 

Determining if you Need a Special Use Permit

There are generally 3 questions to ask yourself when determing if you need a Special Use Permit:

  1. Do I need to occupy, use, or build on NFS land for personal or business purposes, whether the duration is temporary or long term.
  2. Is a fee being charged or is income derived from my use?
  3. Does an activity on NFS land involve individuals or organization with 75 or more participants or spectators?

In addition to standard Forest Service reviews for feasibility, environmental impacts, benefits to the public,  and  for, request will need to asssessed for appropriateness consistent with the Forest Plan that established standards and guidelines for management of the land where the activity will take place. 

Getting Started

To get started, contact a Forest Service office and request an application. Prior to submitting the proposal, you may be required to arrange a pre-application meeting at the local Forest Service office where the use is being requested.

Fees for Special Use Permits

Special Use Permit fees will vary by request. These could include annual rental fees or additional application fees. You may be responsible for providing information and reports necessary to determine the feasibility and environmental impacts of your proposal.

Before the formal application process is initiated a "proponent's proposal" can be submitted to save a prospective applicant time and money. A Pronontent's Proposal provides an initial screening for feedback on if the proposal is likely to be approved. However,  is not required to begin an application.