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Forest Service set to issue special permits for services, events

| March 27, 2024 2:00 AM

The Flathead National Forest is requesting public input on the issuance of 23 temporary special use permits for the upcoming summer of 2024. These permits would authorize outfitting and guiding activities and recreation events on National Forest Service land to individuals, groups, businesses, and nonprofit entities who have applied for permits through the Flathead National Forest Temporary Outfitting and Guiding and Recreation Event Special Use Permit process.

The permit requests run the gamut — from guided and rental ATV tours, to races on the Forest Service lands.

For example, the LeGrizz ultramarathon is proposed to run up Forest Service Roads near Big Creek this year. There is also a mountain bike race planned for July 27 “The Last Best Ride” that will also be on roads starting at the summit of Big Mountain.

A temporary special use permit authorizes occupancy, use, rights, and privileges on National Forest System lands beyond those available to individuals visiting the National Forest for a period of 180 days or less. A special use authorization is not required for noncommercial, personal recreational activities such as camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating, hunting, horseback riding, etc. For more information on the Special Use Permit process, please visit the Flathead National Forest Special Use Permit Webpage: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/flathead/passes-permits/other/?cid=fseprd646036

The Forest Service works in partnership with outfitters and guides to deliver opportunities for recreation, education, and training on its lands. In the last few years, the Flathead National Forest has received a growing number of requests, pacing with increased visitor use patterns and increasing public demand for outfitting and guiding services. 

A letter containing descriptions of the special use proposals and associated maps can be found on the Flathead National Forest website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/flathead/landmanagement/projects. Please direct questions to the Ranger District contacts that correspond with the proposed activity location.

Comments will be accepted through April 10, 2024 and can be submitted to comments-northern-flathead@usda.gov with “2024 Summer Special Use” in the subject line.