Noncommercial Group Permits
Forest Service regulations require a permit for noncommercial group uses of National Forest lands when the group activity involves 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators. "Noncommercial" is defined as any use or activity where an entry or participation fee is not charged, and the primary purpose is not the sale of a goods or service. Some examples of noncommercial group uses are weddings, church services, endurance rides, regattas, camping trips, hikes, music festivals, rallies, graduations, and races.
Permits for group activities like these are required because the Forest Service has a duty to minimize resource impacts on National Forest lands. Large group gatherings in the National Forests have significant adverse impacts on Forest resources, public health and safety, and the agency's ability to allocate space in the face of increasing constraints on the use of National Forest land. A permit system allows the agency to address these problems more expeditiously, more effectively, and more equitably.
If you want to know if you need a permit for your group activity, contact your local Forest Service office.