YES YOU NEED A PERMIT ON PUBLIC LAND!
By Del Albright, Ambassador, BlueRibbon Coalition
Commercial, competitive or organized group events or activities ALL require a permit to be held on public land, and depending on the level of environmental review, REQUIRE at least 6 (six) and up to 12 (twelve) months to process.
Businesses and clubs/organizations need to pay particular attention to the permit process as it can sneak up on you quick! We’re talking BOTH public land agencies -- BLM and USFS. This blog will focus on the BLM permit process, but the USDA Forest Service (USFS) is about the same.
Depending on the scope of your activity or event, you might have to cover some healthy Cost Recovery to recover costs associated with monitoring, law enforcement, enviro-studies, inventories, travel, administration, etc. Again, the minimum time frame for submitting a COMPLETE permit application is SIX MONTHS ahead of time. Just figure on it and GET YOUR PERMIT started well ahead of time.
DO I NEED A PERMIT?
The Pre-application Interview Checklist for events on public land involving vehicular use typically includes the following questions:
• Are you charging a fee?
• Do you expect to make money on the event or is the fee to cover expenses?
• Will there be a competition?
• Will you advertise, have a public sign up page, take reservations?
• Will you mark a course?
• Will there be cash prizes?
If you answered yes to ANY of these, you NEED a permit. So yes, if you advertise on a website, have a sign up page (even if you are NOT charging a fee), you ARE advertising and must have a permit. I like to look at it in simple terms, you are using public land to your advantage or commercial gain, so get a permit.
You should note that if there will be any vending (selling on site), your permit just got more complicated (and will cost more).
These permits are called Special Recreation Permits (SRP’s) and depending on permit availability, are usually not hard to get; they just take planning well ahead of time!
Get your permit well in advance of your event – perhaps a YEAR before the activity would be a good target.
Here are some links for more research and information from my good land use buddy, John Stewart: