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Special Recreation Permits (SRPs)

Special Recreation Permits are authorizations that allow specified recreational uses of public lands and related waters. They help the BLM manage visitor use, protect natural and cultural resources, and accommodate commercial recreational uses. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act identifies five types of uses for which SRPs are required: commercial, competitive, vending, individual or group use in special areas, and organized group activity and event use.

The permitting system allows equitable, safe and enjoyable recreational use levels while minimizing adverse resource impacts and user conflicts.  BLM recreation permits represent a privilege to use public lands and/or related waters, subject to the terms and conditions of the permit.

Recreation permits are issued in a manner that is consistent with management objectives developed through resource management planning, recreation area management planning, or through analysis of resources and visitor use for each area.

Types of Permits

1. Commercial Use
Commercial Use is defined as recreational use of public lands and related waters for business or financial gain. When any person, group, or organization makes or attempts to make a profit, receive money, amortize equipment, or obtain goods or services, as compensation from participants in recreational activities occurring on public lands, the use is considered commercial.

Examples: Outfitters and guides, jeep tours, horse trail and wagon train rides, cattle drives, and photography associated with a recreational activity.

2.Competitive Use
Competitive Use means any organized, sanctioned, or structured use, event, or activity on public land in which two or more contestants compete and either (1) participants register, enter, or complete an application for the event, or (2) a predetermined course or area is designated.

Examples: OHV races, horse endurance rides, mountain bike races, rodeos.

3. Vending
Vendor permits are temporary, short-term, non-exclusive, revocable authorizations to sell goods or services on public lands in conjunction with a recreation activity.

Examples: T-shirt sales in conjunction with a raft race, a hot dog stand at a motorcross event, firewood sales in a BLM campground, and shuttle services.

4. Special Area Use
Special Areas are areas officially designated by statute or Secretarial order.

Examples: Camping in Long Term Visitor Areas in California and Arizona, floating many BLM-managed rivers, backpacking in Grand Gulch Primitive Area, hiking in the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area, and recreational mining in designated areas in California.

5. Organized Group Activity and Event Use
Organized group/event permits are for noncommercial and noncompetitive group activities and recreation events.

Examples: A large scout camp out, a fraternity activity, a large family reunion, or a dual sport event.


A minimum fee of $100 is required in advance of commercial and competitive events and may be charged for other special recreation permits.  Additional fees are collected after the event based on the post-use report.


Download SRP Application

Download SRP Handbook

Horseback riding on BLM public lands