New forest policy will help more Americans enjoy our great outdoors

Jun 17, 2016

San Gabriel Mountains Forever Youth Leadership Academy student on group hike at Eaton Canyon Nature Center near San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, California. 

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society
Wilderness Society applauds new permit guidance for outfitters and guides: Statement from Paul Sanford, National Director of Recreation Policy, The Wilderness Society.

“With the backdrop of President and his family visiting two iconic outdoor landmarks this weekend, we applaud new guidelines from the U.S. Forest Service, issued today, that should make it easier for millions of Americans to enjoy the nation’s parks, forests and other public lands and waters.

Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell issued policy guidance that will reduce barriers for outdoor leaders and recreation businesses and improve the way that the agency manages the permits for recreational outfitters and guides. The net result of these improvements should be more access for a wide range of guided activities, including programs that provide outdoor experiences to underserved youth.

We commend the Chief for taking this important step to improve the outfitter-guide permitting system.” 


Chief Tidwell’s recommendations come in the form of a Chief’s letter of intent describing how Forest Service staff should interpret the agency’s outfitter-guide permitting policy.

The purpose is to streamline policy so permitting can be completed more quickly and efficiently. The Chief’s letter also describes certain situations where outdoor activities have such minimal effects that they can be authorized without requiring permits, further simplifying the process.

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.


Paul Sanford, National Director of Recreation Policy, (202) 429-2615;;  

Michael Reinemer, Deputy Director, Communications-Wildlands, (202) 429-3949;