Special Uses–About the Program
The Forest Service manages over 192 million acres of national forests and
grasslands that comprise the National Forest System (NFS). Today, our growing
population and mobile society have created a demand for a variety of uses of
these federal lands. Often these diverse needs require specific approval. The
Forest Service provides services that support our national policy and federal
land laws. The Agency's special-uses program authorizes uses on NFS land that
provide a benefit to the general public and protect public and natural resources
values. Currently there are over 74,000 authorizations on the NFS lands for
over 180 types of uses.
Each year, the Forest Service receives thousands of individual and business
applications for authorization for use of NFS land for such activities as water
transmission, agriculture, outfitting and guiding, recreation,
telecommunication, research, photography and video productions, and granting
road and utility rights-of-ways. The Forest Service 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 nonfederal lands.