Forest Service Manual (FSM)
and Handbook (FSH) Direction
ARCHITECTURAL IMAGE, STYLE,
Ensure that integration of wood into architectural
design is consistent with the setting and
architectural style in which the building or
facility is to be placed.
Guide to Forest Service Office Design,
Identification, and Location:
The guide discusses the basic design schemes and
illustrations, provides guidelines for appropriate
office locations, and describes the importance
of projecting the Forest Service image and style
SITE DEVELOPMENT AND BUILDING DESIGN
In general, Regional Foresters, Station Directors,
or Area Directors are responsible for approving
the site development and building design unless
delegated to next level of organization.
The Regional Directors of Engineering (NFS)
or the Assistant Station Directors for
Administration (Research) are responsible
for approving design drawings.
SKILLS AND DESIGN STANDARDS
Qualified professionals and/or qualified technicians
shall accomplish or direct all planning, design,
and construction of Forest Service buildings and
related facilities. Qualified professionals include
professional architects, landscape architects,
or engineers who have the required training,
experience, and knowledge of the following: site
planning; vehicle and pedestrian circulation; and
various applicable building, electrical, mechanical,
safety, and related codes normally associated
with the design, construction, and operation of
structures, buildings, water and wastewater
treatment plants, mechanical systems, and
Facility designers and managers shall use the
criteria, procedures, and practices established
within the professional design disciplines.
Guide to Forest Service Office Design,
Identification, and Location
FSH 7309.11, Chapter 34
OBJECTIVES AND POLICY
FSM 2330.2 Establishes as objectives for the
provision of recreation facilities:
1. To maximize opportunities for visitors to
know and experience nature while engaging in
2. To develop and manage sites consistent with
the available natural resources to provide a
safe, healthful, aesthetic, nonurban
3. To provide a maximum contrast with
urbanization at National Forest sites.
FSM 2330.3 sets policy for the development and
administration of sites and facilities, including:
1. Use recreation opportunity spectrum
guidelines (FSM 2310) when developing sites.
2. Develop sites and facilities that will provide
recreation experiences toward the primitive
end of the spectrum. Do not provide urban
class facilities (ex. 01).
3. Use the land and resource management
planning process (36 CFR 219, FSM 1920,
and FSM 2310) to reach decisions to develop
4. Develop sites and facilities to enhance natural
resource-based activities normally associated
with a natural environment.
5. Seriously consider the element of cost
efficiency when developing and operating sites
6. Establish priorities for the development and
management of sites in the following order:
a. Ensure public health and safety.
b. Protect the natural environment of the site.
c. Manage and maintain sites and facilities
to enhance users’ interaction with the
d. Provide new developments that conform
to the National Forest recreation role.
7. Allow concession operation of National Forest
campgrounds and related recreation facilities
8. Strive to make it possible for persons with
disabilities to be included in the mainstream
of life when pursuing outdoor recreation
9. Prepare site designs and environmental
assessments for all sites before undertaking
construction or major rehabilitation efforts.
FSM 2330.42a - Regional Forester. (At the
Regional Forester’s discretion, the following
responsibilities may be delegated to the Forest
Supervisor unless specifically reserved to the
Regional Forester.) In the area of site planning
and development, the Regional Forester has the
1. Review and approve design narratives and
2. Seek partnerships with other entities to
share in the development, cost, and/or labor
of providing recreation opportunities and
ensure compliance with requirements on
authorizing instruments (agreements,
memoranda of understanding, and so forth)
in FSM 1580 and FSH 1509.11.
3. Identify and update regional priorities for
the recreation capital investment program.
This responsibility is reserved to the
2330.42b - Forest Supervisor. The Forest
Supervisor has the responsibility to:
1. Prepare design narratives, site plans, and
final drawings. Develop sites and facilities
in accordance with established objectives
and policies and land and resource
2. Monitor operation and maintenance actions.
2330.42c - District Ranger. The District Ranger
has the responsibility to:
1. Prepare operation and maintenance plans.
This includes fee compliance plans and
vegetative management plans.
2. Operate and maintain recreation sites
and facilities in accordance with plans.
3. Enforce payment of recreation fees.
SITE AND FACILITY PLANNING AND DESIGN
FSM 2333. The guidelines in this section
apply to all recreation sites on National Forest
2333.03 - Policy.
1. Prepare site plans before construction,
rehabilitation, or expansion of a site. Site
plans must show the specific location and
design of facilities and must provide for
control of traffic, sanitation, public safety,
site protection, grading, landscape planting,
and use distribution.
2. Use the recreation opportunity spectrum
class and development scale established in
management plans in site designs (ex. 01,
FSM 2330.3). Accommodate environmental
concerns identified in the environmental
assessment in site designs. Carefully consider
the cost of installing facilities, as well as
future operation and maintenance costs.
3. Design facilities, such as roads, barriers,
paths, and water and sanitation systems,
so that they are as natural, simple, and
unobtrusive as possible. Design and build
rustic-looking facilities so that they become
part of the attraction. For example, use hand
pumps rather than hydrants, plantings of
berry bushes for barriers, and wood posts
rather than steel posts.
4. Design and install facilities that are:
a. Simple and durable in nature, adequate
for the intended function, and devoid of
unnecessary frills and personal preference
b. Cost-efficient both from the standpoint
of initial installation and continued
operation and maintenance.
c. In close harmony with the surrounding
d. Safe to use and in conformance with
all applicable standards.
e. Suitable for both traditional and
f. Devoid of barriers to persons with
disabilities to the degree specified in
“Specifications for Making Buildings
and Facilities Accessible to, and Usable
by, the Physically Handicapped.”
(American National Standards Institute,
Inc. ANSI-A117.1-1961. New York.)
g. Suited to the desired experience
opportunity selected for the site.