Event/Commercial Permits

Each year, the Forest Service receives request from individuals and business applications for authorization for use of National Forest System (NFS) land for such activities as water transmission, agriculture, outfitting and guiding, telecommunication, research, photography/video productions, granting of road and utility rights-of-ways, and recreational events.

Recreation events are commercial activities requiring temporary, authorized use of NFS land. Examples of recreation events include, but are not limited to, animal, bicycle, motocross, or triathalon races; jeep rallies; dog trials; fishing contests; rendezvous; rodeos; adventure games; youth treks; wagon trains; concerts; and other similar events. A permit is required for these type of events, regardless of the number of people involved in the activity.

The Forest carefully reviews each proposal 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. Today, our growing population has created a demand for a variety of uses of these federal lands. Often these diverse needs require specific approval. The Forest Service provides services that support our national policy and federal land laws. The Agency's special-uses program authorizes uses on NFS land that provide a benefit to the general public and protect public and natural resources values.

What is a Special Use Authorization?

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 National Forest System (NFS) land.  The authorization is granted for a specific use of the land for a specific period of time,  The majority of the uses will require a fee collected for review and determination of the appropriateness of the use under the Cost Recovery Regulations and an annual rental fee for use of the National Forest System lands.

When do I need an authorization?

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

What is the definition of Commercial use?

  • An applicant intends to charge an entry or participation fee, or
  • The primary purpose is the sale of a good or service, regardless of the intent to produce a profit. Money collected may cover expense categories, such as food, transportation, prizes, advertising, purchase replacement of equipment, or compensation for the leader of the activity.

Use is considered noncommercial if the fees charged are used only for the purpose of paying for actual expenses directly related to operating or staging the activity, with any excess funds returned to participants. The fees charged should not include costs for employees or personnel who stage or run the event.

For further clarification or for more information on the permit process, please contact your local forest service office.