The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service today announced new regulations that will provide a more consistent and balanced approach for managing the 14,500 recreation residences in national forests.
The new regulations, under the Cabin User Fee Fairness Act of 2000, address the annual fee paid by permit holders, the timeframe and process for appraisals to be conducted, and the definition of a recreation residence lot.
"These residences are one of the oldest recreation uses authorized on National Forest System lands," said Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. "The new guidelines provide updated and consistent procedures nationwide for managing these permits."
Permit holders will continue to pay a yearly fee of five percent of the appraised market value of a typical lot. The fee will be adjusted each year based on the Implicit Price Deflator-Gross Domestic Product.
Appraisals will now be conducted every 10 years rather than every 20 years. The last appraisal cycle to determine the yearly fee paid by a permit holder was completed by the Forest Service in 2000; the next appraisal cycle is slated to begin this year.
However, the new regulations allow permit holders to have an opportunity over the next two years to request a new appraisal or a peer review. Otherwise, after the two-year period ends, the fee will be based on the last appraisal.
A recreation residence lot is now defined to include some ancillary facilities and improvements to a property, such as boat houses and docks, as well as the federal land under permit.
Recreation residences are privately-owned, limited-use cabins in national forests under 20-year special use permits. Recreation residence tracts were first authorized in 1915 to encourage recreation within national forests. Many of the cabins have been used by the same family for generations. Recreation residence tracts are located throughout the country, but the majority of them are in the West, particularly in California, Oregon and Washington.