Event/Commercial Permits

Special Uses

The Forest Service authorizes Special Use Authorizations for the private, non-exclusive use of National Forest land for a variety of reasons, including recreation cabins, ski areas, resorts, outfitter guide such as pack stations, communication sites, filming, etc.; Some group activities and some recreation events may require a Special Use Permit. A Special Use Permit grants rights or privileges of occupancy and use to the holder. Examples include reserving a public site for a wedding party, or holding a bicycle race on public lands. These permits contain specific terms and conditions that the holder must follow.

Before Special Use Permits are issued, the Forest Service must determine that the proposed use complies with all management plans and laws, that there is a demonstrated need for the activity, and that the use is appropriate on national forest system lands. Special Use Permits are a temporary authority.

Depending on the complexity of the proposal, obtaining a Special Use Authorization can sometimes be a lengthy process. The San Bernardino National Forest is asking for all proposals to be submitted 90 days in advance , in order to facilitate this process. Please coordinate early with the District where you would like to operate by calling the special uses person at one of our office locations.

For general information visit our National Special Uses website.

It is important to note not all;proponent's will receive approval for a permit, therefore any action taken before receiving a Special Use authorization, such as occupying National Forest System Lands and advertising or expending funds, is premature and at the proponent's risk--and is against the law.

Step 1 – Submitting a Proposal

When is a Special Use Permit needed?

  1. 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.
  2. If there is a fee being charged or if income is derived from the proposed use.
  3. If an activity on NFS land involves individuals or organization with 75 or more participants or spectators.

If one of these reasons applies to your activity, see Step 2 – Screening Proposal for Consistency with Forest Plan. If none of these reasons apply, a Special Use Permit may not be necessary for your activity. Please contact the appropriate Forest Service Office to confirm if a permit will be necessary.

Step 2 – Screening Proposal for Consistency with Forest Plan

Initial Screening – Is the proposal consistent with existing laws, regulations, and the Forest land and resource management plan? Is the proposed activity safe for the public or interfere with other administrative uses?

Second Level Screening – Is the proposal in the public interest and compatible with other current land resource uses? Is the proponent qualified, able to demonstrate technical and financial feasibility and designated legal agent?

  • Initial screening: To begin the process of obtaining a Special Use Permit on the San Bernardino National Forest, you are first required to contact the Forest Service Office in the area where you wish to have your activity before you have worked out the details. This initial contact will determine whether your activity meets the pre-application screening requirements applicable to all special uses. If your proposal does not meet the initial screening requirements, you will be notified that the proposal, as submitted, is denied.
  • Second-level screening: A proposal that passes the initial screening proceeds to second- level screening by a Forest Service Permit Administrator. Your proposal will be accepted as an application if it is consistent with Forest Management Plans. Once the proposal has passed second-level screening requirements, the permit administrator will provide guidance on what information will be further required to complete your submission of an application.
  • Common Reasons for Denial:
    • Any proposal determined to be “inappropriate use of System lands” or venue is better suited for non-federally owned lands. Proponent may be required to provide proof of efforts exploring alternatives prior submission.
    • Non-issued categories:
      • Treasure Trove - i.e.: Lost Dutchman Mine, Spanish Gold
      • Merchandise or Food Vendor - i.e.: Hot dog carts, Taco trucks
      • Service Provider - i.e.: Watercraft repair, watercraft rentals and delivery
      • Shuttle Services - i.e.: River tubing transport

The Proposal Screening Process: Once a proposal has passed the screening process, proceed to Step 3 – Filling out the Application.

Step 3 – Filling out the Application

Applications

Instructions

  • Name and Address- Include the full name(s) to be used on legal documents. If the application includes real property, the name(s) on the legal document must match the application.
  • Applicant's Agent- This person must be at least 21 years old and may or may not be the same as the applicant. Documentation should be included to verify that this person may sign on behalf of the applicant.
  • Project Description- Include enough detail to enable the Forest Service to determine feasibility, environmental impacts, benefits to the public, the safety of the request, lands to be occupied or used, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Map- Provide a detailed map (U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle or equivalent) or plat (survey or equivalent) showing the requested use in relation to NFS land, identification of applicant's property (if applicable), scale, map legend, legal description, and a north arrow.
  • Alternatives- You must first consider using nonfederal land. Lower costs or fewer restrictions are not adequate reasons for use of NFS lands. Provide alternative locations for the proposal in your application.

Once your application is complete and required documents are attached, see Step 4 – Review by the Permit Administrator.

Step 4 – Review by the Permit Administrator

A staff member will discuss your application, potential land use conflicts, application procedures and qualifications, probable time frames, fees, bonding requirements, additional coordination with other agencies, environmental reports, and field reviews.

Most uses require additional information with the application. You may need business plans, operating plans, liability insurance, licenses/registrations, or other documents. Failure to submit all required materials in a timely manner is grounds for denial.

Complete and submit the application form, including all supporting documents, to the local Forest Service Office which will be administering the authorization. Application Submission Timeframes begin only when the complete application and acceptable supporting documents are submitted for final review. An incomplete submission could delay the permit processing or even result in the authorization not being issued.

Plan ahead!

Once the complete application is accepted by the authorized officer, the Forest Service Permit Administrator’s time and resources can be obligated towards the preparation and administration of the proposed activity.

For information on the insurance required for your event, see Step 5 – Insurance Requirements.

Step 5 – Insurance Requirements

A copy of a Certificate of Insurance and a letter of endorsement (ISO form # CG-20-12-07-98 or equivalent) will be required prior to the issuance of the permit. No hand-written certificates or endorsements will be accepted. The holder’s name MUST appear on the certificate of insurance as the “insured”.

A Special Use Permit requires that the permit holder indemnify the United States against any liability arising from the use or occupancy of NFS lands. The permit requires the holder to have their insurance company name the United States Government as an additionally insured party. The minimum required liability coverage (in general) shall be as follows: 1) General liability, each occurrence - $300,000; 2) Property damage (each occurrence) - $25,000; 3) Death or injury (to one person) - $100,000; and 4) Death and injury (to more than one person) - $300,000. These values may vary based on type of activity.

The following clauses must be shown verbatim on the Certificate or Binder and the Letter of Endorsement:

In the Certificate Holder Box: “US Government, c/o USDA, Forest Service, San Bernardino National Forest, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave. San Bernardino, California 92408.”

In the Description of Operations Box: “It is understood and agreed that the United States Government, in care of USDA, San Bernardino National Forest, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave. San Bernardino, California, is additionally insured solely as respects liability arising from the operations of the named insured.” And, “It is understood and agreed that the coverage provided under this policy will not be cancelled or its provisions changed or deleted before thirty (30) days written notice to the United States Government, in care of the USDA, San Bernardino National Forest, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave. San Bernardino, California.”

On the Letter of Endorsement: “USDA, San Bernardino National Forest, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave. San Bernardino, California.” And, “It is understood and agreed that the United States Government, in care of USDA, San Bernardino National Forest, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave. San Bernardino, California, is additionally insured solely as respects liability arising from the operations of the named insured.” And, “It is understood and agreed that the coverage provided under this policy will not be cancelled or its provisions changed or deleted before thirty (30) days written notice to the United States Government, in care of the San Bernardino National Forest, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave. San Bernardino, California.”

The permit holder will not request or require participants to sign a liability waiver, but may choose to have them sign an Acknowledgement of Risk. If an acknowledgement of Risk form is used, a copy must be submitted for review.

For information on what fees will be charged for your event, see Step 6 – Determining Fees.

Step 6 – Determining Fees

Fees for recreational or commercial use of public lands and waters are charged to commercial or public users, vendors, competitive event participants and spectators, and participants in organized group activities and events which require a permit. Fees are applied to special use authorizations, which grant rights or privileges of occupancy and use to the holder. These permits contain specific terms and conditions that the holder is required to follow. Fees help offset agency time and resources that are necessary to administer special use permits and related enforcement activities. The type of special use permit fees depends on the proposed scale and potential resource impacts of the proposed activity.

Minimum fees apply to all authorizations and are paid for in advance. Other fee considerations include:

Occupancy and Use Fees - This is a fee based on the type of use. Refer to Step 3 – Filling out Application for activity fees.

Cost Recovery Fees - An assessment of fees to recover agency processing costs for special use applications and monitoring costs for special use authorizations. These fees are separate from any fees charged for the use and occupancy of NFS lands and typically apply to larger-scale or time-consuming authorizations.

Other Associated Costs - You may be responsible for providing information and reports necessary to determine the feasibility and environmental impacts of your proposal; compliance with applicable laws and regulations; and terms and conditions to be included in the authorization. Liability insurance coverage and a performance bond may also be required to ensure protection of the environment and site cleanup may be required. Depending on the size and duration of your activity, costs associated with law enforcement, crowd control, safety issues, and sanitation may also be required.

Fee Waivers - Waivers are discounts or reductions from payment of the use fee as provided for in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, section 251.57 (36 CFR 251.57). It is the responsibility of the authorized Forest Service officer to determine and document the applicant's or holder's eligibility for a fee waiver. The authorized officer may allow fee waivers only in limited situations after careful scrutiny and shall define the public benefit or the benefit to programs of the Secretary of Agriculture provided for each waiver granted.

Non-Profits - The fee for commercial use for registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations is 3% of annual adjusted gross revenue. In order for applicants to request fee reductions for nonprofit use, proper certification documents and current nonprofit registration must be submitted with application.

Fee Exemptions: Fee exemptions are granted by statute and are not subject to discretion by the authorized officer. The following are exempt from use fees:

  1. Activities of Federal Agencies. Under 36 CFR 251.57(c), Federal agencies are exempt from paying fees for use or occupancy of National Forest System lands. However, Federal agencies are not exempt from paying fair market rental fees to third parties, such as renting space in a facility manager's communications building located on National Forest System lands.
  2. Rural Electrification Administration Financed Facilities. (43 U.S.C. 1764(g)). A holder or use financed in whole or part by either a direct loan from the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), or a loan from a private source for which repayment is guaranteed by the REA. Telephone facilities qualify when a loan is obtained from the REA.
  3. Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock Watering System Easements. Water conveyance systems that qualify under provisions of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1761), as amended by Public Law 99-545, October 27, 1986.

See Step 7 – Administration: Processing, Monitoring, and Inspections.

Step 7 – Administration: Processing, Monitoring, and Inspections

Once the permit, operating plan, and required documents have been completed and signed by both the permit holder and authorized Forest Officer, the documentation portion of the authorization is complete. Only then will you will be authorized to proceed with your activity.

The Forest Service may conduct an inspection to ensure the activities or events are going well and regulations are being followed based on the terms and conditions of the permit issued. The permit must be in possession and legible during the event/activity should a Forest Officer make contact with the permit holder or their representatives. Certain use types may require an annual inspection to be performed by a Forest Service Officer.

This completes the Special Use Application Process. Thank-You and Good Luck!

Application Submission Timeframes

Permit Submission information
Permit Submission Information
Recreation Events 90 days prior to proposed event
Non-commercial Events 30 days prior to proposed event
Filming & Photography 30 days prior to proposed event
Outfitting & Guiding 90 days prior to proposed event*
Research 90 days prior to proposed event
Fishing Tournaments By October 1 for events the following calendar year
Training By October 1 for events the following calendar year
Other Commercial Activities 90 days prior to proposed event

Special Use Permit Types

Note: Documents available on the following pages are in Microsoft Word or PDF formats. [Download Word Viewer] [Download Adobe Reader]

Commercial Filming & Photography

National forests are a popular location for the commercial filming and still photography industries. Many motion pictures and commercials have been filmed on the San Bernardino National Forest.

Anyone wishing to film on National Forest System lands must obtain a special use permit from the Forest Service. "Filming on Public Lands" webpage addresses many common questions concerning the permitting process. To request a filming permit on the San Bernardino National Forest please fill out a Request for Filming Form and submit to the local permit administrator on the Ranger District you wish to film. The Forest Service requests that all application materials be submitted two weeks in advance of the proposed shooting date.

Commerical Filming and photography may take place on Forest Service public lands (National Forests). Like other commercial uses of National Forest System lands or resources, commercial filming and photography requires a Special Use Permit, which is issued by the District Ranger or Forest Supervisor [Authorized Officer] of the relevant forest.

Prior to the issuance of a permit, the Forest Service will determine if there are any environmental concerns in the proposed filming or photo shoot location. The Forest Service may deny permits for practices prohibited on NFS lands.

Commercial filming and photography requests must be submitted to the relevant National Forest office (see below for contact information) 2-3 weeks in advance of anticipated filming date. In order to expedite a filming request, please be aware of the following considerations:

  • Commercial filming is defined as use of motion picture, videotaping, sound-recording, or any other type of moving image or audio recording equipment on National Forest System lands that involves the advertisement of a product or service, the creation of a product for sale, and/or the use of actors, models, sets, or props, but not including activities associated with broadcasting breaking news. For purposes of this definition, creation of a product for sale includes a film, videotape, television broadcast, or documentary of historic events, wildlife, natural events, features, subjects or participants in a sporting or recreation event, and so forth, when created for the purpose of generating income.
  • Commercial photography is defined as the use of photographic equipment to capture still images on film, digital format, and other similar technologies found on National Forest System lands that: takes place at a location where members of the public are generally not allowed or where additional administrative costs are likely; or uses models, sets, or props that are not part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities.
  • Wilderness areas are congressionally-designated areas on federal lands that are subject to specific management restrictions; human activities are restricted to non-motorized recreation (such as backpacking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, etc.), scientific research, and other non-invasive activities. Wilderness Areas occur on Forest Service (Department of Agriculture) lands, as well as on lands managed by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of Interior). A special use permit may only be issued for commercial photography or filming on a US Forest Service Wilderness Area if the activity has a primary objective of disseminating information about the use and enjoyment of wilderness, is wilderness-dependent and an appropriate non-wilderness substitute does not exist, and the activity would not involve the use of any motorized equipment or mechanical transport.
Insurance

The Forest Service may require liability insurance and/or performance bonds to protect the public interest. Typically, one (1) million dollars in general liability may required. Up to five (5) million may be required for activities that involve the use of a helicopter.

Fees
Land Use Fee

The land use fee is based upon: the numbers of days filming or photography activities take place; the size of the film/photography crew; and/or the amount and type of equipment present.

Fees for commercial filming (motion picture and television location)

2018: 1-10 persons = $260.39/per day; 11-30 = $347.16/per day; 31-60 persons = $867.94/per day; Over 60 persons = $1,044.85/per day

Fees for still photography (if permit required)

2018: 1-10 persons = $86.81/per day; 11-30 = $260.39/per day; Over 30 persons = $433.97/per day

Cost Recovery Fees:

The cost recovery fee covers the administrative and personnel costs associated with issuing the permit. The table illustrates this.

Commercial Filming Cost Recovery Fees
Category Hours Processing Fee CY 2018
1. (Minimal Impact) Estimated work hours are less than 8. $125.00
2. Estimated work hours are between 8 and 24. $440.00
3. Estimated work hours are between 24 and 36. $829.00
4. Estimated work hours between 36 and 50. $1,170.00
5. (Master Agreements) Varies As specified in the Agreement.
6. Estimated work hours greater than 50. Full reasonable costs, except MLA Full actual costs (MLA)
Submitting Requests

For submitting a filming permit request please allow 2-3 weeks for processing your application before filming is scheduled to begin. Below you will find the proposal and application that must be filled out and submitted to the appropriate permit administrator.

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Communication Sites

Communication Site CollageEmergency services and public broadcasting/communication services throughout the nation require communications repeaters and towers. These sites are permitted by the National Forest under a special use permit. The locations of these are varied and are usually on high elevation sites. Any time they improve or add to the facilities, a new permit may be required. For more information on this type of permit, visit the national "communication sites" page or contact your local Special Use Permit Coordinator.

Communication Site Administration
Rental Fee Schedules for Communication Uses

Previous Schedules


 

For more information on Communication Site Planning, Policy, and & Regulations click here.

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Outfitting & Guiding

Guides teach guests snow climbing skills.This area of Special Uses includes all commercial outfitting operations involving services for accommodating guests, transporting persons, and providing equipment, supplies, and materials. It also includes commercial guiding activities wherein the guide furnishes personal services or serves as a leader or teacher. Please use form FS-2700-3f to apply for this type of permit.

Commercial Outfitting and Guiding is a use that occurs on National Forest System lands where:

  1. Where an entry or participation fee is charged, or
  2. Where the primary purpose is the sale of a good or service and, in either case, regardless of whether the use or activity is intended to produce a profit (36 CFR 251.51).
Definitions

Guiding - Providing services or assistance (such as supervision, protection, education, training, packing, touring, subsistence, transporting people, or interpretation) for pecuniary remuneration or other gain to individuals or groups on National Forest System lands. The term "guide" includes the holder's employees and agents.

Outfitting - Renting on or delivering to National Forest System lands for pecuniary remuneration or other gain any saddle or pack animal, vehicle, boat, camping gear, or similar supplies or equipment. The term "outfitter" includes the holder's employees and agents.

Objective of Outfitting/Guiding
  1. Provide for outfitting and guiding services that address concerns of public health and safety and that foster successful small businesses consistent with the applicable land management plan.
  2. Facilitate greater participation in the outfitting and guiding program by organizations and businesses that work with youth and educational groups.
  3. Encourage skilled and experienced individuals and entities to conduct outfitting and guiding activities in a manner that protects environmental resources and ensures that national forest visitors receive high-quality services.
When Permits Are Required
  1. Individuals or entities conducting outfitting or guiding activities on National Forest System lands shall be authorized under a special use permit.
  2. Outfitters based off National Forest System lands who rent and deliver equipment or livestock to the public on National Forest System lands shall obtain a permit if they, their employees, or agents occupy or use National Forest System lands or related waters in connection with their rental programs.

    For example, a permit is required if a boat livery operator provides service, including delivery or pickup of boats, at sites on National Forest System lands.

    No permit is necessary if an operator's customers transport rented equipment to and from National Forest System lands or if services are provided to Forest Service employees, Forest Service contractors, or other Federal officials in the course of their official duties.

Outfitter/Guide Permits

New outfitting and guiding permits may be issued when one or more of the following occurs:

  • An allocation of use is increased, a resource capacity analysis demonstrates that capacity exists, or a needs assessment supports a public need.
  • A permit is revoked or terminates, and a new permit is not issued to the holder.
  • Service days or quotas allocated to a holder are reduced.
  • Competitive interest in an area or activity arises where no outfitting and guiding permits have been issued for that area or activity and where the proposed use is consistent with the applicable programmatic or project decision.
  • An application has been submitted to provide outfitting and guiding services for an area or activity that has not previously been authorized and for which there is no competitive interest.

For opportunities in which competitive interest exists, solicit applications through issuance of a prospectus; if no competitive interest exists and for an application meeting the criteria above, a permit may be issues if the applicant meets applicable requirements.

Fees
Outfitter/Guide Fees

Outfitter and Guides Flat Fee Schedule Rate is Per Client Per Day

2017 Schedule as of November 30, 2016

Outfitter and Guides Fee Schedule
Business Category Flat Use Day Rate
Bear Hunting $36.14
Climbing $4.51
Canoe/Kayaking $4.18
Cycling $4.16
Fishing $8.16
Hiking/Backpacking $4.31
Horserides $3.30
Packers $7.37
Dunnage $7.58
Photos $1.72
Rafting $2.67
Multi-Use $2.84
Youth Camps $2.62
Others not listed will be 3% of generated revenue
Cost Recovery Fees

The cost recovery fee covers the administrative and personnel costs associated with issuing the permit. If the permit takes more than 50 hours to process or monitor these fees apply. This table illustrates this.

Cost Recovery Fee
Category Hours Processing Fee CY 2018
1. (Minimal Impact) Estimated work hours are less than 8. $125.00
2. Estimated work hours are between 8 and 24. $440.00
3. Estimated work hours are between 24 and 36. $829.00
4. Estimated work hours between 36 and 50. $1,189.00
5. (Master Agreements) Varies As specified in the Agreement.
6. Estimated work hours greater than 50. Full reasonable costs, except MLA Full actual costs (MLA)
Insurance

Permit holders are required to furnish or arrange for appropriate liability insurance. The minimum limits can be found below

Liability Insurance Minimum Limits
Liability Insurance Minimum Limits
FSM Type of Special Use Required Minimum Coverage or CSL
2721.53 Outfitter and Guide Service:    
  Saddle and Pack Stock 25/500/500 $500,000
  Nordic Skiing:    
  Non-Avalanche Areas 25/300/300 $300,000
  Avalanche Potential Areas 25/500/500 $500,000
  Back Packing 25/300/300 $300,000
  Rock Climbing 25/500/500 $500,000
  Bicycling 25/500/500 $500,000
  Nature Hikes 25/300/300 $300,000
  Running Clinics 25/300/300 $300,000
  Snowmobiling 25/500/500 $500,000
  Rafting and Boating:    
  Class IV-V 25/500/1000 $1,000,000
  Class I-III 25/500/500 $500,000
2721.54 Rental Services 25/100/300 $300,000
2721.61 Winter Sports Resorts:    
  Nordic Skiing non-avalanche areas 25/300/500 $500,000
  Nordic Skiing with avalanche potential 25/500/500 $500,000
  Alpine Skiing 50/500/2000 $2,000,000
  Avalanche Training 25/500/1000 $1,000,000
2725.51 Still Photography 25/100/300 $300,000
2725.53 Commercial Filming 25/100/300 $300,000

The Insurance Policy must also meet all the following conditions:

  1. They name the U.S. Government as additional insured.
  2. They meet the minimum coverage requirements for the authorized activities shown in above or as required by state law or regulation.
  3. They include an appropriate 30-day notification clause in case of cancellation or amendment of coverage. When premiums are paid in full prior to use, 10-day notification of cancellation for non-payment of premiums is acceptable.
  4. The exclusions (if any) listed on the Certificate of Insurance do not include any of the activities/operations authorized by the permit.
  5. Some insurance policies stipulate that coverage for legal defense costs and supplementary payments is limited, and any payment of legal defense costs or supplementary payments reduces the limits of remaining coverage. When holders' activities are covered by policies containing this stipulation, authorized officers shall require the holder to have liability coverage greater than the minimum shown in preceding direction. For example, if the required minimum shown is $300,000, and the policy has the legal defense cost stipulation, the authorized officer shall require $500,000 coverage. If the minimum shown is $500,000, the authorized officer shall require $1,000,000 coverage.
Waivers and Acknowledgement of Risk Forms

Insurance companies often require that their policy holders use Waivers of Liability and/or Acknowledgement of Risk forms. Even when not an insurance company requirement, special use authorization holders frequently require that their customers sign one or both of these forms before participating in an activity provided by the holder. The San Bernardino National Forest will be complying with the following policy direction:

  1. Appropriately worded Acknowledgement of Risk forms required by insurance companies or special use authority holders are acceptable (Sample).
  2. Do not permit use of Waiver of Liability forms ( Sample) except for high risk recreation events, such as enduros, road rallies, equestrian events, hang-gliding contests, and so forth. Many of the forms used for these purposes are unacceptable, because they would have the participant release the U.S. Government from liability for its own negligence. This conflicts with the intent of Congress in the Federal Tort Claims Act, which makes the Federal Government liable for the negligence of its officers and employees acting within the course and scope of their employment. Additionally, these forms may be at variance with state law.

We will not be allowing these forms for guiding where there is a guide in full custody and control of their clients.

Use of Contractors

Independent contractors/subcontractors may be used for guiding for your business if they are approved prior to trips and when the following conditions apply:

  1. Ancillary services (food and shuttle services, specialized guide for people with disabilities or for highly technical trips) that support the use authorized by the permit may be provided by a party other than the holder or the holder’s employees only with prior written approval from the authorized officer.
  2. An authorized holder may contract with a guide, but only with the prior written approval of the authorized officer, based upon a finding that the following conditions are met (see below for contractor agreement sample):
    1. The services of the contracted guide are covered under the contracting holder’s operating plan and liability insurance.
    2. The contracted guide has all required State licenses.
    3. The contract for the guiding services states that the contracting holder remains responsible for compliance with all the terms and conditions of the permit, including the operating plan.
    4. The contracting holder will exercise management authority over all the day-to-day field operations of the business, including the guiding services covered by the contract.
  3. Permit holders who would like to contract for guiding services must submit the contract for these services and additional documentation (State Guide License if applicable, Insurance Certificate stating that contractors are covered). This documentation must be submitted for approval during the start of season process. The permit holder contracting for guiding services is responsible for compliance with all the terms and conditions of the permit in connection with provision of those services.
  4. When on a particular day a permit holder lacks sufficient equipment or guides to accommodate the holder’s customers, the permit holder, without prior written approval from the authorized officer, may contract for additional equipment or guides from another permit holder. When a holder contracts for additional equipment or guides from another holder, the contracting holder is responsible for compliance with all the terms and conditions of the permit in connection with provision of the contracted equipment and services (this includes reporting the user days on your actual use report and making note it was a contracted trip and with whom).
Information
Open Season

Submit proposals during January 1-March 31 each year.

Guide Businesses on Big Bear Lake

The NRA has changed operations on Big Bear Lake in terms of our Outfitter/Guide permitting process in order to comply with our Outfitting and Guiding Handbook Policy. As recommended in the Outfitter and Guide Handbook:

“[Do] not issue a separate permit for outfitting or guiding activities (such as cross-country skiing or horseback riding) to a holder of a permit or term permit for a commercial public service site (such as a pack station or resort) when the outfitting or guiding activities are part of commercial public service site operations and the commercial public service site would not exist without the outfitting and guiding activities. Include the outfitting and guiding activities in a supplement to the term special use permit.” FSH 2709.14 – Ch. 50 – Section 53.1c

We are requiring all Outfitter and Guide requests that are water based recreation (excluding lake based fishing guides) to become a subleasee of a permitted marina. We believe that lake based fishing guide services are separate services than the services provided by the marinas (water equipment rentals, etc.). We are however requiring all lake based fishing guides in the NRA to formulate a written agreement with a permitted marina to use their facilities (i.e. boat ramps, parking) versus using the public boat ramps on the lakes. We want to ensure that all commercial recreation opportunities are operating out of the marinas as these are our gateways for commercial recreation use on the lakes.

Submitting Requests
Step 1) Submit a Written Proposal between January 1-March 31

A written proposal should include the following information:

  • the services to be performed,
  • proposed number of service days or quotas,
  • National Forest System lands to be occupied,
  • modes of transportation to be used,
  • proposed season of use and itinerary,
  • and other matters relating to your operations in sufficient detail for the authorized officer to make a decision on the request in accordance with regulatory requirements,
  • describe their technical and financial qualifications to provide the proposed services.
Step 2) Submit Application Package

If the Authorized Officer (District Ranger for associated District) is willing to move the proposal forward to the application phase the following documentation must be submitted for review:

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Recreation Event

This type of special use includes organized events of a temporary nature, such as animal, vehicle, or boat races; fishing contests; rodeos; adventure games; and fairs. If you are interested in learning more about submitting a proposal for a recreation event, please contact your local special uses permit administrator and submit a SF-2700-3c application form.

Commercial or Noncommercial Event

Prior to issuance of a special use permit, it must be determined if the activity is commercial or non-commercial.

If commercial, a Recreation Event permit is required (see Recreation Event Section). This includes activities that a have entry fees or “donations” that are mandatory for participation.

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Noncommercial Group Use

Examples of non-commercial special uses that support community and public information interests:

If noncommercial, involving more than 75 people (participants and spectators); a Noncommercial Group Use Permit is required. Fees, insurance and bonding are exempted by regulation.

If noncommercial, involving less than 75 people (participants and spectators); a permit is not mandatory, but could be desirable to manage the event and associated public conflicts. Fees, insurance and bonding are exempted by regulation.

A noncommercial group use is any activity on National Forest System lands:

  1. That involves 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators;
  2. Where an entry or participation fee is not charged; and
  3. Where the primary purpose is not the sale of a good or service (36 CFR 251.51).

Most visitors enjoy “non-commercial” activities on their National Forests such as berry picking, camping, picnicking, fishing, participating in assemblies, meetings, demonstrations, and parades. In general special use permits are not required for these types of non-commercial recreational uses. However in some circumstances non-commercial group activities will also need to obtain a recreation special use permit.

In order to be considered a non-commercial group use, there must be:

  • No entry or participant fee,
  • Fees for direct costs (food, transportation, etc) may be collected based on a bona fide sharing of expenses.
  • Donations are not considered fees if they do not exceed direct costs.
  • Funds collected in excess of direct costs are returned to participants based on a bona fide sharing of costs.
  • Under most circumstances “guides and leaders are not paid or compensated.”
  • No sale of goods or services on National Forest lands, and
  • No money is charged for a “good or service” beyond a bona fide sharing of direct costs.
Examples

Examples of groups not needing a special use permit:

  • Wedding party of 30 people with no fee.
  • Family summer camp-out of 50 folks; costs are collected to cover the food.
  • Weekend Equestrian Club trip with 10 riders; costs are pooled to cover the actual food and gas costs.

Examples of groups needing a Non-Commercial Group Use Special Use Permit:

  • Grandpa's 85th Birthday party of 85 people at a developed campground with no fee or costs.
  • Church summer camp-out of 60 folks; costs are collected to cover the food, transportation and the camp cook is paid for the weekend.
Application Process

The following eight criteria must be met for non-commercial group use requests:

  1. Authorization of the proposed activity is not prohibited by 36 CFR part 261, Subpart A; by an order issued under 36 CFR part 261, Subpart B; or by Federal, State, or local law unrelated to the content of expressive activity.
  2. Authorization of the proposed activity is consistent or can be made consistent with standards and guidelines in the applicable Forest land and resource management plan required under the National Forest Management Act and 36 CFR part 219.
  3. The proposed activity does not materially impact the characteristics or functions of the environmentally sensitive resources or lands.
  4. The proposed activity will not delay, halt, or prevent administrative use of an area by the Forest Service or other scheduled or existing uses or activities on National Forest System lands.
  5. The proposed activity does not violate State and local public health laws and regulations as applied to the proposed site. Issues addressed by State and local public health laws and regulations as applied to the proposed site include:
    1. The sufficiency of sanitation facilities;
    2. The sufficiency of waste disposal facilities;
    3. The availability of sufficient potable drinking water;
    4. The risk of disease from the physical characteristics of the proposed site or natural conditions associated with the proposed site; and
    5. The risk of contamination of the water supply.
  6. The proposed activity will not pose a substantial danger to public safety. Considerations of public safety must not include concerns about possible reaction to the users' identity or beliefs from nonmembers of the group applying for a permit and must be limited to:
    1. The potential for physical injury to other forest users from the proposed activity;
    2. The potential for physical injury to users from the physical characteristics of the proposed site or natural conditions associated with the proposed site;
    3. The potential for physical injury to users from scheduled or existing uses or activities on National Forest System lands; and
    4. The adequacy of ingress and egress in case of an emergency.
  7. The proposed activity does not involve military or paramilitary training or exercises by private organizations or individuals, unless such training or exercises are federally funded.
  8. A person or persons 21 years of age or older have been designated to sign and do sign a permit on behalf of the applicant.
Fees

There are no fees associated with a non-commercial group use permit.

Permit please fill out a SF2700 3b form and submit this form to your to the local permit administrator on the Ranger District where you would like to hold your event.

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Recreation Residences

Back in the early 1900's the Forest Service Recreation Residence program started to give private citizens the opportunity to own a single-family cabin in designated areas on the National Forests. They are commonly called "summer homes" or "recreation cabins". These privately owned cabins (improvements) are located within formally established "tracts" on individual "lots" designated for that purpose. The last formally established tract in the Region was in 1959 and no new tracts or cabins are allowed to be built. These recreation residence permits are authorized and administered under the terms and conditions of a Special Use Authorization (SUA) called a permit.

Occasionally permit holders sell their recreation residences (cabins). The Forest Service does not handle the sale of recreation residences, nor does it keep track of those that are for sale. For more information on this type of permit, visit the national "recreation residences" page or contact your local Special Use Permit Coordinator.

I am going to sell my improvements that are located on NFS land, what should I do?

First, contact your local Forest Service office and request a FS-2700-3a PDF form called "Holder Initiated Revocation of Existing Authorization." As the seller, you complete Part I of the form. After you have completed Part I, you should give the form to the potential buyer(s) of the improvements. You should inform them that

  • Your current authorization is not transferable;
  • They must apply for and obtain a new authorization;
  • There are terms and conditions for the use of NFS lands; and
  • They must contact the Forest Service prior to the acquisition of your improvements.

I am going to purchase improvements that are located on NFS land, what should I do?

First, talk to the seller of the improvements prior to your purchase and ask to see the authorization for the improvements. Although this authorization will be revoked once the owner sells the improvements, it will make you aware of the terms and conditions that authorized the improvements. If the seller has not given you a copy of a FS-2700-3a PDF form called "Request for a Special-Use Permit" or "Term Special-Use Permit," request one from the local Forest Service office. Second, ask to speak to a Forest Service permit administrator and explain your request over the telephone or in person at the local office. The permit administrator will explain the process for issuing you a new permit for the improvements you intend to purchase. In some cases, the permit administrator may request additional information.

Revocation of Existing Authorization and Request for a New Permit

I need to conduct maintenance or make improvements to my Recreation Residence that is located on NFS land, what should I do?

First, contact your local Forest Service office and request a Cabin Maintenance / Improvement Form for Forest Service approval.

Please review A Guide to Maintaining the Historic Character of Your Forest Service Recreation Residence before you submit your proposal.

Do not proceed with any proposed work until you have a signed NOTICE TO PROCEED from the District Ranger.

Do not proceed with any changes to the cabin exterior until you have an AUTHORIZATION LETTER signed by the District Ranger.

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Research

There are many diverse research projects on the San Bernardino NF. Research includes experimental forest demonstration areas, observatories, laboratories, stream gauges, weather stations, educational research study, and similar uses not intended to result in further development. If you would like to submit a new proposal to conduct research or to renew or modify an existing research permit on the San Bernardino National Forest please, fill out the following Scientific Research Request Form.

Our goal is to provide a high level of customer service for research activities on the San Bernardino NF. Please understand however, that depending on the complexity of the proposal, and any environmental compliance that may be required, it may take up to 180 days to process a research permit. It is your responsibility to provide the Agency with all the information needed to review, evaluate, and make a decision on a submitted proposal and an application. All proposals are subject to initial screening. If a proposal passes initial screening it is formally accepted as an application and will enter a second screening for environmental analysis (cost recovery fees are applicable). Lastly, the environmental analysis process will determine if the proposed use will be authorized with a Special Use Permit. Thank you for your assistance in making the permit process proceed smoothly.

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All Other Special Uses

SF-299 For all other special uses not mentioned above, including roads and powerlines, please use this form..

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Additional Information

Cost Recovery: The Forest Service has modified the fee structure for processing special use permits. The modification is based on Congressional direction to develop a program to improve administration of the agency's special use program. Under the new rule, the Forest Service will collect fees from some permit applicants to recover the costs of processing and administering special use authorizations consistent with recommendations made by the General Accountability Office.

CR Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)



https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/sbnf/passes-permits/event-commercial