Who needs a special use permit?
Gatherings of groups of 75 people or more or any organized activities where a participation fee is charged or where the primary purpose is the sale of goods or services, regardless of whether the activity is intended to produce a profit, may require permits. Permits manage land use, protecting natural resources from overuse or damage. The permit application process varies depending upon the type of special use. Unless otherwise noted, applicants will complete an SF-299 form and submit the completed application to the relevant specialist.
Non-Commercial Group Use
Under regulations, a group use is an activity that involves a group of 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators. Noncommercial is 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.
Activities that require a recreation special use permit include competitive races, contests, fund raisers, eco-challenges, dog trails, club activities, adventure games and endurance races. If you or your organization is considering holding such an event on the national forest, contact your local ranger district well in advance of the scheduled event to determine whether a permit is available.
Commercial Filming and Photography
Commercial filming and still photography on national forest lands require a special use authorization. See the USFS website “Special Uses-Filming on National Forest System Lands” for additional information about commercial filming and photography policies.
Road Use Permits
Using a national forest road for commercial hauling requires a permit or written authorization.
Outfitters & Guides
Outfitters & guides may apply for temporary or long-term priority use permits (where available). Temporary use permits authorize short-term, non-renewable outfitting and guiding use that is authorized in increments of 50 service days, up to a maximum of 200 service days in a 180-day period. A service day is a day or any part of a day for which an outfitter or guide provides service to a client on National Forest System (NFS) lands (1 service day for each client per 24 hours). For example, if an outfitter brings 5 clients on the forest for one day, that visit would utilize 5 service days. Priority use permits authorize outfitter and guide activity for up to 10 years, based on the holder’s past use and performance and applicable programmatic or project decisions to allocate use. Priority use authorizations are, with some exceptions, subject to renewal.