As set forth in law, the mission of the Forest Service is to achieve quality land management under the sustainable multiple–use management concept to meet the diverse needs of people. "Special Uses" provides services supporting our national policy and federal land laws by authorizing uses on National Forest System (NFS) land. Special uses may involve everything from outfitting and guide activities, ski resorts, lodging, and marinas to energy transmission and development, commercial filming, and much more.
Each year, the Forest Service receives thousands of individual and business applications for authorization for use of National Forest System (NFS) land and carefully reviews each application to determine how the request affects the public's use of NFS land.
Normally, NFS land is not made available if the overall needs of the individual or business can be met on non-federal lands.
In general, a special-use authorization is a legal document such as a permit, term permit, lease, or easement, which allows occupancy, use, rights, or privileges of NFS land. The authorization is granted for a specific use of the land for a specific period of time.
You will need an authorization:
- 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.
- If there is a fee being charged or if income is derived from the use.
- If an activity on NFS land involves individuals or organization with 75 or more participants or spectators.
For more information about special use permits regulation and cost recovery, visit the new US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region 5 web site dealing with Special Uses on National Forests in California.