251.51 Definitions.

In addition to those terms defined in 251.2 of this part, the following terms are defined for the purposes of this subpart::

9. Amend 251.54 by revising the heading, removing paragraph (h), redesignating paragraph (i} as paragraph (h), by revising the

introductory text of paragraph (e) and adding a new paragraph (e)(6) and by revising redesignated paragraph (h) to read as follows: 251.54 Special use applications.

(e) Application content. As a minimum applications shall include the information contained in paragraphs (e)(l) through (6) of this section.

(6) Identification of prior authorizations. The applicant shall identify any prior authorization issued by the Forest Service to the applicant within the last 2 years and include a statement attesting that any authorization held within the last 2 years was not revoked for breach of the terns and conditions thereof or misrepresentation of material information with regard to the use and that the applicant doe. not owe any outstanding amounts co the U.S. resulting from any prior authorization issued by the Forest Service.

(h) Response to applications. In addition to the provisions of 251.3(b) of this part, an authorized officer may deny issuance of an authorization if that officer determines that: (1) The proposed use would not be in the public interest; -(2) The applicant is not qualified: or

(3) The applicant does not or cannot demonstrate technical or

financial capacity

10. Establish a new Subpart E to read as follows:

SUBPART E: Short-Term. Noncommercial Events and Uses


251.120 Scope and Applicability.

251.121 Definitions.

251.122 Notice and application to the Forest Service.

251.123 Acknowledgment of application.

251.124 Determining conditions of occupancy and use.

251.125 Authorization of uses.

251.126 Denial of occupancy and use.

251.127 Information collection requirements.

AUTHORI In : 16 U.S.C. 551; 16 U.S.C. 4601-6a©.

251.120 Scope and applicability.

(a) The rules of this subpart govern the authorization and

administration of the following types of short-term, noncommercial

occupancy and use of National Forest System lands:

(1) Recreational uses in those areas which, by order or

regulation issued pursuant co 36 CFR Part 261, Subparts B and C.

require an authorization for recreational use;

(2) Recreational uses by a group of 25 or more persons whose numbers cannot be accommodated at an available designated recreation site suitable for large group use and/or whose activities would have a significant resource impact;

(3) Noncommercial special recreation events and uses as described in 251.5(b) of this part;

(4) Assemblies, meetings, and similar gatherings involving or expecting to involve 25 or more persons and whose numbers cannot be accommodated at an available designated site (251.6);

(5) Distribution of printed material of a noncommercial nature as described in 251.7 of this pare.

(b) The procedures of this subpart reflect the inherent differences in the Forest Service'. role a. host to individuals and groups who wish to make short-tern, noncommercial use of National Forest System lands and the business and for longer-term relationship that generally exists between the Forest Service and holders of authorizations issued under Subpart B of this part. The rules apply equally to all activities and uses covered by this subpart and are intended to encourage cooperation and, where appropriate, negotiation between applicants and the Forest Service. Additionally, the rules establish uniform standards to

guide Forest Service personnel in reviewing and deciding on such


251.121 Definitions.

In addition to those terms defined in 251.2 of this part, the following terms are defined for the purposes of this subpart:

Sponsor, agent, or representative. An individual who sponsors, organizes, or is a designated agent or representative of an activity or group use under this subpart, who applies for an authorization under this subpart on his or her own behalf or on behalf of another person or group, and who accepts the terms and conditions of occupancy and use documented in a use agreement.

Use agreement. A written document specifying the terms and conditions of occupancy and use of National Forest System lands agreed to by the authorized officer and by, or on behalf of, one or more persons proposing an activity that sets forth an agreed-upon plan of operations for conducting the use. When signed by the authorized officer, the instrument used to authorize occupancy and use under this subpart.

251.122 Notice and application to the Forest Service.

(a) Timeframe for application. Applicants must apply to the authorized forest officer for an authorization sufficiently in advance of the proposed use to allow the officer to complete review and analysis of the impacts of the use and to identify appropriate resource protection terms and conditions. For small group use involving traditional recreation. applicants are advised

to apply at least 15 days in advance of the proposed use. For activities having intensive site impacts or coordination needs, such as those involving several hundred or more persons or heavy vehicular use. applicants are advised to apply at least 60 days in advance of the proposed use.

(b) Information needed. An applicant must provide the Forest Service officer with the following information:

(1) A description of the proposed event or activity including identification of any facilities, improvements, or other resources of the area that the applicant proposed to use;

(2) The estimated number of participants and spectators;

(3) The date(s) and time(s) of the proposed activity or event;

(4) Identification of the National Forest System land the group would like to occupy and use;

(5) The name(s), mailing address(es) and telephone number(s) of the person(s) caking application; and

(6) Identification of any prior authorization issued by the Forest Service to the applicant, or to the individual(s) or organization on whose behalf application is made, within the last years along with a statement attesting to the following:

(i) that the applicant, or the individual or organizations so chose behalf application is made, does not owe any outstanding

amounts to the United States resulting from any prior authorization, and

(ii) that any authorization held within the last 2 years was not revoked for serious or willful breach of the terms and conditions thereof.

© Manner of making application. A sponsor, agent, or representative may initially apply or give notice of intent to apply for an authorization in person or by telephone, but an applicant must subsequently submit a written application. unless the authorized officer finds the requested use of such incidental and minimal impact that the officer waives. the requirement for written application. waiver of the requirement for a written application does not waive the necessity for a written use agreement as required by 251.125 of this subpart.

251.123 Acknowledgment of application.

(a) Within 14 calendar days of receiving a written application pursuant to 251.122 of this subpart, the authorized officer shall acknowledge receipt of the application, including any application made in person or by telephone for which the requirement for written application was waived.

(b) As part of the acknowledgment, the authorized officer. based on information available at that time and to the

extent necessary and practicable, shall advise the applicant of the following:

(1) whether the proposed use can be authorized under the rules of this subpart or must be authorized under other rules of this chapter;

(2) any known or potential conflicts with existing or scheduled uses of the area or with use of adjacent nonfederal land;

(3) any state, county, or local authorizations or certificates or coordination with those jurisdictions that may be required as a condition of occupancy;

(4) those matters that the authorized officer believes will need to be addressed in a use agreement between the Forest Service and the applicant;

(5) the amount of time that analysis and any required documentation of the proposed use will likely require to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and implementing regulations and procedures and there is sufficient time in advance of the requested use to complete such analysis; and

(6) any additional information the authorized officer needs from the applicant to consider the proposed use or activity and on determine terms and conditions appropriate to the occupancy and use.

© At this early stage, the authorized officer shall encourage the applicant to work closely with the Forest Service in obtaining authorization of the use of National Forest System lands.

251.124 Determining conditions of occupancy and use.

(a) Analysis of proposed use-. (1) In determining whether to authorize a proposed use under this subpart, the authorized officer shall evaluate whether the proposed use can meet the criteria applicable to all uses set forth in 251.3 (a)(2) of this part.

(i) As part of this evaluation, the officer shall consider the effect of the proposed use on forest resources and public health and safety and identify those actions, terms, and conditions necessary to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts on forest resources, associated facilities and improvements, public health and safety, existing or scheduled uses of the area, or use of adjacent nonfederal lands.

(ii) In evaluating proposed uses and determining conditions of occupancy and use under this subpart, the authorized officer shall comply with the environmental analysis and documentation requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, implementing regulations at 40 CFR Parts 1500-1508, and agency procedure. in Forest Service Handbook 1909.15.

(2) Where a proposed use appears to have an impact on state and local government responsibilities for law enforcement. traffic management, or protection of public health and safety, the authorized officer shall seek to coordinate review of the proposed use with state and local government agencies or officials.

(b) Duration of use. Uses authorized under this subpart shall not exceed 14 days, except that the authorized officer may grant additional tine prior to an activity or event for advance parties to prepare a site for the authorized use and for cleanup and restoration of the site upon conclusion of the activity or event.

© Costs of Cleanup and Site Restoration. (1) The holder of an authorization under this subpart shall be responsible for, and pay any costs associated with, cleanup and restoration as specified in a use agreement. These obligations remain in force even if the agreement is revoked during the use or event (251.125).

(2) The authorized officer may require the holder of a special use authorization to furnish 8 bond or other security to secure all or any of the obligations imposed by the terms of the authorization or by any applicable law, regulation, or order. Such securities may be in the form of cash, certified check, or other security acceptable to the authorized officer in accordance with agency fiscal procedures Release of the bond or other

surety shall be processed within 30 days of satisfactory completion of the terms of a use agreement.

(i) In the event of unsatisfactory performance of the terms of a use agreement, the security shall be converted and used. in whole or in part, to reimburse the Forest Service for the cost of site cleanup and restoration.

(ii) Should the security be insufficient to cover the cost of site cleanup and restoration, the authorized officer shall bill the sponsor, agent, or representative for the additional funds.

(iii) In the event of revocation, the surety shall be retained until the holder satisfactorily completes cleanup and restoration.

(d) Liability insurance. For any proposed use having a high risk of physical injury to participants or spectators, the authorized officer shall require the holder to provide evidence of insurance as a condition of occupancy.

(e) Indemnification of the United States. Holders of authorizations shall pay the United States for all injury, loss. or damage, including fire suppression costs, arising from the authorized occupancy and use, in accordance with existing Federal and State laws. Holders shall also indemnify the United Scares for any and all injury, loss, or damage, including fire suppression costs, the United States may suffer as a result of

claims, demands, losses, or judgments caused by the holder's use or occupancy.

(f) Service fees. Uses involving government-owned or controlled buildings, structures. or other improvements which require caretaker services and uses involving special services provided by the government such as furnishing water, electric lights, and cleanup may require the payment of a fee or charge to cover the government's cost of providing such services.

251.125 Authorization of uses.

(a) Proposed agreement. If the authorized officer determines that a proposed activity, event, or other use can be accommodated on National Forest System lands under certain terms and conditions pursuant to 251.124 of this subpart. the authorized officer shall specify the terms and conditions in a written proposed use agreement as described in paragraph (b) of this section, using as appropriate standard clauses set forth in Forest Service Handbook 2700.11 and shall have the proposal delivered to the applicant In person or by mail. In offering the proposed group use agreement. the authorized officer shall:

(1) indicate that the officer intends to authorize the grip use subject to the applicant's written acceptance of the terms and conditions in the use agreement and deposit of any fees required;

(2) offer to meet with the applicant(s) at a mutually agreeable time and place to review the document, to clarify any provisions, and, where there is disagreement, to try to reach agreement on the terms sod conditions of occupancy sod use. Where a meeting in person is impracticable, the authorized officer may conduct discussions of the proposed group use agreement by telephone; and

(3) specify the date by which the applicant must respond to the proposed use agreement sad inform the applicant that failure to respond within the time specified terminates the application.

(b) Minimum information in a use agreement. At a minimum, a use agreement shall specify the following:

(1) the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the sponsor(s), agent(s), or designated representative(~) of the activity or event;

(2) a description of the purpose and nature of the activity or use;

(3) identification of the site authorized to be used, accompanied byes map marked to show the area;

(4) the Cite sad duration of the occupancy and use, including that necessary for any advance party or cleanup crew;

(5) specific terms and conditions applicable to the

particular occupancy and use and the specific responsibilities of ears party for such matters as:

(i) sanitation requirements, including obtaining any necessary certificates or authorization. from state, county, or local governments;

(ii) traffic management, including access to the site, parking, and crowd control measures;

(iii) public health standards and emergency medical services;

(iv) safety measures;

(v) law enforcement services and responsibilities;

(vi) inspection by Forest Service employees;

(vii) access routes to the site;

(viii) site cleanup and rehabilitation requirements;

(ix) securities, service fee., or liability insurance requirements.

(x) a process for resolving any conflict or dispute over the occupancy that might arise during the activity or event; and

(xi) the name, title, and location of the forest officer in charge who will be responsible for onsite administration of the occupancy and use; and

(6) A statement attesting that the sponsor, representative or agent accepts responsibility for ensuring compliance with the terms and conditions of occupancy and use contained in the use agreement.

Execution of a use agreement. A use agreement must be documented in writing. The agreement may be embodied in a standard form or format developed by the Forest Service or, at the request of the applicant, in an alternative format, as long as the authorized officer finds such format sufficient for documenting the responsibilities, terms, and conditions for occupancy and use of National Forest System lands. The option to use an alternative format does not include the option to revise or reword mandatory standard clauses established to govern occupancy and use issued by the Chief of the Forest Service through Forest Service Handbook 2709.11.

(1) A use agreement must be accepted by a sponsor, agent, or designated representative in writing, and returned to the authorized officer for final action within a reasonable time period specified by the authorized officer.

(2) Upon receipt of the signed agreement, the authorized officer shall sign and date the agreement authorizing the use and send the original to the sponsor, representative, or agent, unless, as provided in paragraph (d) of this section. new information has come to light which requires further study or denial of the authorized use.

(d) Modification of use agreements. (1) An authorized officer may modify a proposed or an approved use agreement where new information indicates a substantial and serious risk requiring additional measures to protect forest resources, to meet health standards, or to provide for adequate safety of participants, spectators, or other National Forest users. The authorized officer shall notify an applicant or holder of the authorization of the modification and the basis for it and submit the modification to the holder for signature and acceptance. The applicant or holder shall have the opportunity to express any disagreement to the modification and to propose alternative measures to meet the need or concern identified in the modification. However, in the event an applicant or holder fails to reach timely agreement on and accept a modification essential to the protection of forest resources, public health, or the safety of participants, spectators, or other forest users, the authorized officer shall deny or revoke the use agreement.

(2) A holder of an authorization may request modification of specific terms and conditions of a use agreement prior to an authorized activity or event. The authorized officer shall evaluate the requested change on the basis of impact on and protection of forest resources., public health and safety, and scheduled or existing uses authorized for the area and shall notify the group representative in writing of the decision. A modification to an approved use agreement oust be accepted and signed by the holder prior to final approval by the authorized officer. Should an authorized use occur before the authorized Officer can make a finely response to a request for modification, the use agreement as signed by the holder and the authorized officer remains in force.

(e) Revocation of use agreement. An authorized officer may revoke a use agreement at any time for one of the following reasons:

(1) serious and/or willful breach of the terms and conditions of the use agreement; (2) breach of terms and conditions that the holder of the agreement fails to rectify within a time period specified by the authorized officer;
(3) misrepresentation of material information about the authorized activity or event; and
(4) failure of a group to accept a modification of a use agreement as provided in paragraph (d)(1) of this section.

(1) Notice of revocation must be made in writing; however, the use or activity is in progress, the authorized officer may revoke the permit in person and establish a reasonable time for disbanding of the use or activity, and give written notice of revocation within 72 hours of the order to discontinue the use.

(2) Where the authorized officers find a serious and/or willful breach of the terms and conditions of a use agreement during the course of an even c or use, the authorized officer may suspend all or part of a use agreement to allow the holder to come into compliance with the use agreement, if in the judgment of the authorized officer suspension is practicable under the circumstances. Notice of suspension may be given orally but must be documented in writing within 48 hour. of oral notice. A notice of suspension shall specify the timeframe for compliance and give the holder notice that unless the violations are remedied by the time specified, the authorization is automatically revoked.

251.126 Denial of Group Occupancy and Use.

(a) The authorized officer shall make all reasonable effort to reach agreement with applicants for authorizations on the terms and conditions applicable to the proposed occupancy and use of National Forest System lands. However, where reasonable efforts to reach agreement fail, and the refusal to agree to certain terms and conditions would, in the judgment of the authorized officer. result in a use that cannot meet the requirements applicable to all uses set forth in 251.3(a) or result in a condition see forth 251.3(b), the authorized officer shall deny the proposed occupancy and use of National Forest lands.

(b) The authorized officer shall give written notice of a denial of occupancy and use under this subpart and shall have notice of denial delivered in person or by certified mail return receipt requested. The notice shall include the reasons for denial. If the decision to deny i. documented in a Decision Memo, Decision Notice, or Record of Decision as defined in Part 217 of this chapter, the notice of denial shall also include a statement that the decision is subject to administrative appeal pursuant to 36 CFR Part 217. Notwithstanding the provisions. of 36 CFR 217.18, when it is determined that the date of a proposed use would not permit an applicant to obtain a timely decision under the administrative appeal procedures of Part 217 of this chapter, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shall waive as argument in any judicial proceeding over denial of a use agreement that the appellant has not exhausted available administrative remedies.

251.127 Information collection requirements.

The collection of information required to obtain a use agreement under this subpart (251.122) have. been approved for use by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to 5 CFR Part 1320 and has been assigned control number 0596- . The estimated public burden of complying with the information requirements of this subpart range from I to 4 hours depending on the scope and complexity of the proposed occupancy and use. Suggestions on the burden estimate. should be sent to the Chief (2300), Forest Service, USDA, P.O. Box 96090 Washington, D.C. 20090-6090.


10. m e authority citation for Part 261 continues. to read: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 551; 16 U.S.C. 472; 7 U.S.C. 1011(f) 16 U.S.C. 1246(i); 16 U.S.C. 1133©-(d)(1).


11. In 261.10, remove the words "a special use authorization" and add, in their place, the words "a written authorization," revise paragraph (g), and add a new paragraph (m) to read as follows.: 261.10 Occupancy and use.

(g) Disseminating, posting, placing, or erecting any paper, notice, advertising material, sign. handbill, petition, or similar printed written and/or graphic matter without a use agreement;

(m) Obstructing or impeding other pedestrians or vehicles; harassing other forest visitors, misrepresenting the purposes or affiliations of those engaged in the sale or distribution of printed matter, or misrepresenting whether materials are available without cost or donation.

( date)