Toolbox for Concessioners

Your Government counsel.™

Set out below are legal resources that can help concessioners better understand the laws and policies which apply to their operations.

If you have a Forest Service special use authorization, it was issued pursuant to a specific federal statute.  For example, if you have a resort or marina, you likely have a   Term Special Use Permit  which was issued pursuant to the Term Permit Act of 1915.  If you operate a campground, you likely have a campground operation special use permit which was issued pursuant to the Granger-Thye Act (16 U.S.C. § 580d).  If you operate a ski area, your permit was likely issued pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 497b or the prior statute which authorizes the Forest Service to enter into long-term ski area permits.   If you have a special use permit for outfitting and guiding, it may have been issued pursuant to the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act at 16 U.S.C. § 6801 et seq.  There are several other federal statutes which pertain to concession-type operations, such as the National Forest Organizational Camp Fee Improvement Act, set out at 16 U.S.C. § 6231 et seq., which applies to organizational camps such as those administered by the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and community-based organizations.

The general regulations which apply to these agreement are set out in the Code of Federal Regulations at 36 CFR Part 251 (July 2018).

The Forest Service also has a internal policy manual which sets out directions as to how Forest Service personnel are to administer your permit.  The policy manual consists of the Forest Service Manual and Handbook, which are located at  The Forest Service also has published a Campground Concession Desk Guide which addresses various administrative issues related to campground permits.  If you are an outfitter, you may be required to provide a business plan and the Forest Service has provided a sample business plan you can use.

In addition, the Forest Service also has regulations which outline when and how you can appeal decisions related to your special use authorization.   They are set out at 36 C.F.R. § 251.80.  These regulations set out the basic requirements of any appeals as well as the critical deadlines that you need to meet.  If you want to review past Forest Service decisions regarding appeals that have been filed with the agency, those are located at

If you have a National Park Service concession contract and it was issued after 1998, it was issued pursuant to National Park Service Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998 (recodified at 51 U.S.C. § 101911 et seq.).

The regulations regarding National Park Service concession contracts are set out at 36 C.F.R. Part 51 (July 2018).  Section 10 of the National Park Service’s internal policy manual addresses the administration of its concession contracts.  The National Park Service’s guidelines for approving requests for rate increases is set out in the NPS Concession Management Rate Administration Guide (February 2017).  In addition, the particular directives issued by the National Park Service that may apply to concession contracts are set out at

If you have a National Park Service commercial use authorization, the National Park Service has not yet issued formal regulations as to CUAs, but Commercial Use Authorization Interim Guidelines have been made public.



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