36 CFR 251.50 - Scope.
(a) All uses of National Forest System lands, improvements, and resources, except those authorized by the regulations governing sharing use of roads (§ 212.9); grazing and livestock use (part 222); the sale and disposal of timber and special forest products, such as greens, mushrooms, and medicinal plants (part 223); and minerals (part 228) are designated “special uses.” Before conducting a special use, individuals or entities must submit a proposal to the authorized officer and must obtain a special use authorization from the authorized officer, unless that requirement is waived by paragraphs (c) through (e)(3) of this section.
(b) Nothing in this section prohibits the temporary occupancy of National Forest System lands without a special use authorization when necessary for the protection of life and property in emergencies, if a special use authorization is applied for and obtained at the earliest opportunity, unless waived pursuant to paragraphs (c) through (e)(3) of this section. The authorized officer may, pursuant to § 251.56 of this subpart, impose in that authorization such terms and conditions as are deemed necessary or appropriate and may require changes to the temporary occupancy to conform to those terms and conditions. Those temporarily occupying National Forest System lands without a special use authorization assume liability, and must indemnify the United States, for all injury, loss, or damage arising in connection with the temporary occupancy.
(c) A special use authorization is not required for noncommercial recreational activities, such as camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating, hunting, and horseback riding, or for noncommercial activities involving the expression of views, such as assemblies, meetings, demonstrations, and parades, unless:
(1) The proposed use is a noncommercial group use as defined in § 251.51 of this subpart;
(2) The proposed use is still photography as defined in § 251.51 of this subpart; or
(3) Authorization of that use is required by an order issued under § 261.50 or by a regulation issued under § 261.70 of this chapter.
(d) Travel on any National Forest System road shall comply with all Federal and State laws governing the road to be used and does not require a special use authorization, unless:
(1) The travel is for the purpose of engaging in a noncommercial group use, outfitting or guiding, a recreation event, commercial filming, or still photography, as defined in § 251.51 of this subpart, or for a landowner's ingress or egress across National Forest System lands that requires travel on a National Forest System road that is not authorized for general public use under § 251.110(d) of this part; or
(2) Authorization of that use is required by an order issued under § 261.50 or by a regulation issued under § 261.70 of this chapter.
(e) For proposed uses other than a noncommercial group use, a special use authorization is not required if, based upon review of a proposal, the authorized officer determines that the proposed use has one or more of the following characteristics:
(1) The proposed use will have such nominal effects on National Forest System lands, resources, or programs that it is not necessary to establish terms and conditions in a special use authorization to protect National Forest System lands and resources or to avoid conflict with National Forest System programs or operations;
(2) The proposed use is regulated by a State agency or another Federal agency in a manner that is adequate to protect National Forest System lands and resources and to avoid conflict with National Forest System programs or operations; or
(3) The proposed use is not situated in a congressionally designated wilderness area, and is a routine operation or maintenance activity within the scope of a statutory right-of-way for a highway pursuant to R.S. 2477 (43 U.S.C. 932, repealed Oct. 21, 1976) or for a ditch or canal pursuant to R.S. 2339 (43 U.S.C. 661, as amended), or the proposed use is a routine operation or maintenance activity within the express scope of a documented linear right-of-way.