General Comments


Section 251.54(e)(2)(i)(A) of the proposed rule required applicants to provide a description of the proposed activity.

Three respondents commented on this provision. One respondent felt that it is reasonable for the Forest Service to want an idea of what people are going to do on public lands, but that if authorized officers already know, then this issue is addressed. This respondent stated that this information should be provided when authorized officers ask for it, but that requiring it to be provided in advance places an undue burden on the public.

Two respondents commented that the requirement for a description of the proposed activity is very ambiguous and that it is not clear how much detail is required. One of these respondents stated that the agency could increase the chances of revocation of a permit by requiring strict compliance with a condition that would be very difficult to meet and that the actions of one person could put everyone at a legal risk.


It is both reasonable and necessary to require proponents to provide in advance a description of the proposed activity. Failure to provide prior notice of proposed activities would defeat the Department's purposes of resource protection, promotion of public health and safety, and allocation of space within the National Forest System.

Without this information, for example, the Forest Service would not know the kinds of mitigative and preventive measures to take in authorizing noncommercial group uses. As a result, these uses could pose a substantial risk of damage to National Forest System lands and resources.

The Department believes that Sec. 251.54(e)(2)(i)(A) is unambiguous. Under this provision the Department is requiring a description of the proposed activity that is accurate and complete enough to allow the authorized officer to determine the nature of the proposed activity, for example, whether it is a wedding reception or a group ride. Moreover, a lack of detail in describing the proposed activity is not a basis for revocation under Sec. 251.60(a)(1) of the final rule.

Revocation will not be more likely for special use authorizations issued for noncommercial group uses than for other types of uses. The Forest Service endeavors and will continue to endeavor to ensure compliance with all the terms and conditions of all special use authorizations. Requiring a description of the proposed activity has no bearing on the legal risk assumed by individual group members or the group as a whole in connection with the proposed activity. Under this rule, individual group members will be personally responsible for their own actions, while the group will be responsible for the actions of its members as a whole that relate to compliance with the special use authorization.

Having considered the comments received, the Department has retained without change Sec. 251.54(e)(2)(i)(A) in the final rule.

Section 251.54(e)(2)(i)(B)

Listing of Comments

FS Regulation Page