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Event/Commercial Permits

Special Use Permits

With very few exceptions, all uses of National Forest System lands involving extended occupancy, improvements, the use of resources and conducting any business or commercial activity are designated "special uses" and require written authorization. 

Recreation Events

Recreation events are commercial activities requiring temporary, authorized use of national forest 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.

Application for Event:

Event Planning Form:

Commercial Use

A commercial use or activity on national forest land occurs when:

  • 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 non-commercial 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.

Commercial Photography and Filming

The Forest Service permits commercial filming and still photography on public lands.  Like other commercial uses of National Forest lands and resources, commercial filming requires a special use permit issued by the District Ranger.

Apply for a Permit:

Outfitters & Guides with Special Use Permits in the Black Hills National Forest

Outfitters and guides conduct commercial trips or services under a Special Use Permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service.  Each outfitter provides a range of quality recreation activities, opportunities and experiences.  The permitted outfitters must have all required state licenses and insurance, meet civil rights requirements and pay fees to operate on National Forest System lands. The Forest Service monitors and inspects permitted outfitters for quality of services provided.

Utilizing the services of a permitted Outfitter/Guide will help to ensure you have hired someone who:

  • will provide you with the proper equipment
  • can help to protect your safety and well being
  • is skilled & knowledgeable about the activity and the area you will visit
  • prevents you from facilitating an illegal activity by hiring someone without a permit, and
  • will work to provide you with the best possible experience during your visit to the Forest.

When booking a trip or arranging for guided services on the National Forest, be sure to ask whether your prospective outfitter/guide holds a valid Forest Service permit.  The Black Hills National Forest has authorized a variety of outfitter/guides to operate under Special Use Permits.  When advertising their services for use of the National Forest, permitted outfitters are required to include a statement that they operate under a special use permit from the Black Hills National Forest.

In order to provide a higher quality experience on the Forest and to help maintain business viability, we have limited the number of outfitter and guide permits that we issue.  All permitted services or activities might not be available in all areas of the Forest. 

Please note that the links below are provided for your information and the outfitter lists may not be complete at any given time.  Call the appropriate Ranger District office for the most current information.  These businesses may be permitted to offer some services in addition to those listed.  Please contact the company for details.



https://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/cs/main/!ut/p/z0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfIjo8zijQwgwNHCwN_DI8zPwBcqYKBfkO2oCADIwpjI/?position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&pname=Black%20Hills%20National%20Forest-%20Event%2FCommercial%20Permits&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ss=110203&pnavid=160000000000000&navid=160120000000000&ttype=main&cid=FSE_003762