Passes & Permits

The Lincoln National Forest offers many activities such as hiking, biking, camping, birding, driving for pleasure, harvesting plants and gathering firewood. Many of these activities, facilities and services are free. However, some do require fees, permits or both to help maintain, manage and improve the amenities you enjoy.

  • Recreation Passes

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    Recreation passes provide access to 2,000 recreation areas managed by the Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Army Corp of Engineers. You may use the pass at sites where entrance or fees are charged (i.e., campgrounds, picnic areas etc.)  Passes can be purchased at our offices or online. See which pass is right for you. (Some exclusions apply.)

  • Firewood Permits

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    Firewood cutting permits allow you to cut or collect firewood from the forest year round in designated firewood cutting areas. You may buy a Firewood Permit at any of our offices.

  • Special Use Permits

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    Permits are necessary for any activity requiring the forest to be altered in any way. A special-use permit allows you to use the National Forest in certain ways outlined in the permit. There are over 100 special-use types, however the most common special-use permits include:

    • Outfitter and Guiding
    • Commercial Photography/Filming
    • Easements
    • Events/Group Use of +75 People (i.e. Gatherings, Weddings, Parties.)


  • Christmas Tree Permits

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    Christmas tree permits go on sale in November. Check back later for more information on Christmas tree permits. 

  • Drone Use

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    You do not need a permit to fly your UAS/Drone on the Lincoln National Forest for recreational or non-commercial purposes. Please follow all FAA regulations. Please do not take off or land in designated wilderness areas (i.e. the Capitan Wilderness Area, White Mountain Wilderness Area or the Guadalupe Proposed Wilderness Study Area.)

    DO NOT FLY YOUR DRONE/UAS NEAR A WILDFIRE. (This will ground firefighting air operations and hinder the ability of fire personnel to put out the fire. You can and will be fined if you are caught using a drone near a wildfire.)

  • Caving Permits

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    Permits are required for all caving activities on the forest. The Lincoln National Forest has many recreation and scientific opportunities in the hundreds of caves located in the forest.

    To obtain a caving permit contact Jennifer Foote by email at or call or visit the Guadalupe Ranger District in Carlsbad, NM, 575-885-4181. Please allow 2-3 week for caving permit processing.

Other Forest Products

There are a variety of other products that can be gathered on the Lincoln National Forest. Please check with your local district office for information on permits for items like mistletoepine nuts and poles/latillas.