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July 29, 2014
In Reply Refer To: 
(2930/250) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2014-119
Expires: 09/30/2015
To:                   All Washington Office and Field Office Officials
From:               Assistant Director, Resources and Planning
Subject:           Special Recreation Permit Administration
Program Area:  Recreation and Visitor Services
Purpose:  The purpose of this Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to emphasize agency requirements for the administration of special recreation permits for commercial, competitive, and organized group activities and events.
Policy/Action: Officials are directed to 43 CFR Part 2930, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Manual 2930, and the H-2930-1 Recreation Permit Administration Handbook.  All organized events including commercial and competitive contests must be carefully considered to determine whether the issuance of a special recreation permit (SRP) is required. Each organized event is different and must be analyzed as a unique individual event for the activity, location, timing and potential management concerns.  The SRPs are a discretionary action and are issued by the local BLM offices with jurisdiction and control over the public lands where the recreational activities are proposed to occur. Once a complete application is filed and the BLM determines that an SRP is needed, a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review must be conducted. A programmatic approach to NEPA analysis of SRPs is appropriate if multiple applications for the same use or type of event are expected. 

In evaluating contests and event proposals, several factors outlined in 43 CFR §2932.5, §2932.11, and §2932.12 will determine whether or not an SRP is required. These include, but are not limited to: advertising or promoting the use of public lands; charging an entry fee that is not an equal sharing of expenses; a person, group, or organization attempting to make a profit from participants; awarding of cash prizes; or a scheduled event on, or occupation of, public lands for the purpose of recreational use.

The exemption for waiving SRP fees found at 43 CFR 2932.34 may apply in limited circumstances. The criteria for waiving the requirement to obtain an SRP outlined at 43 CFR 2932.12 may also apply in limited circumstances. 

The BLM may determine that an SRP is required but may not have adequate time to process the application or the resources available to monitor the activity. In this situation the proponent may choose to work with an agency approved third party to provide NEPA, surveys and monitoring. If the BLM cannot process the request and the proponent is not able or willing to provide the necessary items the event will not be authorized. In this case, BLM will request that the event organizer inform their participants that they are not authorized to use public lands while they are participating in the event. BLM should monitor the public lands to determine if unauthorized use associated with the event occurs.  If event related unauthorized use does occur on the public lands, BLM will contact the event organizer to address the situation.
Timeframe:  Effective immediately.
Budget Impact:  Processing SRPs is a routine function of the field office recreation workload and paid for by base funding and cost recovery accounts as appropriate. Offices should refer to guidance for cost-recovery collection, if applicable (for permit processing and monitoring in excess of 50 hours of staff time).
Background:  The BLM issues SRPs as a means to manage visitor use, protect natural and cultural resources, achieve the goals and objectives of the field office recreation program as outlined in a land use plan, minimize recreational use conflicts and to provide for the health and safety of visitors. The SRPs are issued as a mechanism to provide a fair return to the government for the permitted recreational use of public lands. 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected:  None. 

Coordination:  Development of this IM was coordinated among the Division of Recreation and Visitor Services (WO-250), BLM State offices, and DOI Office of the Solicitor.

Contact:  Any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact Andy Tenney, Division Chief, Recreation and Visitor Services by email at atenney@blm.gov, or by telephone at 202-912-7094, or David Ballenger, Outdoor Recreation Planner by email at dballeng@blm.gov, or by telephone at 202-912-7642.

Signed by:                                                       Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson                                          Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                           Division of IRM Governance,WO-860
Resources and Planning
1 Attachment

Last updated: 08-08-2014