Follow-up Questions and Answer For
Training on New Noncommercial Group Use Rule

November 7, 1995

Scoping and Consultation

  1. How can scoping as required under the NEPA Handbook be adequately performed in the 48-hour time frame)

  2. Can the time frame for analysis be extended?

  3. Can consultation with the Fish And Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service be accomplished within the 48-hour timeframe?

  4. Can the agency negotiate longer response times for applications?

  5. Can the agency encourage applicants to select another location?

  6. How do we reconcile the determination that permits issued under this regulation may be categorically excluded with statements in the rule that large group gatherings potentially have significant adverse impacts on forest resources and public health and safety?

    Appeal Rights and Cost Recovery

  7. Is issuance of a permit appealable under 30 CFR Part 2157

  8. If extraordinary circumstances exist and an EA is required, can the agency charge the applicant for the costs associated with conducting the analysis or require the applicant to provide reports necessary for the analysis?

    Calculating the Time Frames

  9. Are the 72- and 48-hour time frames business hours or clock hours?

    Clock hours. For example, if an application is submitted at 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, the 48-hour period will expire at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. If the agency does not respond within that period, the application is deemed granted.

    Granting the Application Versus Issuing the Permit

  10. If an application is received several months before the proposed use is to take place, does the agency still have to respond within 48 hours?

    Processing and Evaluating Applications

  11. When will the new application form be available?

    The application form for the rule, FS-2700-3b, has cleared the Office of Management and Budget and is now available electronically.

  12. Will the new application form and permit be the only paperwork involved?

  13. What is the use code for noncommercial group use, and will it be a Lands or Recreation use?

  14. How can the authorized officer determine from an application whether the proposed use is commercial or noncommercial

  15. Does this regulation preempt state or local permit systems for large group gatherings that have conflicting or different requirements?

  16. Bow can the agency determine whether the proposed activity violates state and local public health laws and regulations under 36 CFR 251.54(h)(l)(v) when the applicant is not required to provide any information about compliance in this area?

  17. What if the agency determines that the proposed activity complies with state and local public health laws as applied to the proposed site, but after issuance of the permit the state or local health agency refuses to issue a permit based on its own analysis?

  18. How should the agency handle requests for the use of lands or facilities that are not open to the public, such as roads or areas that are closed?

  19. How do we handle a natural reserve area where we want to keep group size below 757 ?

  20. Should an application be denied if the proposed activity can be conducted on private land ?

  21. Can an application be denied because of non-compliance under a prior permit ?

  22. If the agency has not responded to an application within 48 hours and the application is deemed granted, does the applicant conduct the activity without a permit? If not, what are the conditions of the permit, and under what authority is it issued? Should a permit be issued after an activity has taken place?

  23. What types of conditions for such issues as sanitation can be included in the operating plan ?

  24. Is it acceptable for a permit holder to exclude others ?

    Definition of "Group Use"

  25. What is our responsibility if a group is under 75 initially but increases to 75 or more because others are engaging in a counterdemonstration or because people are stopping to watch the activity?

  26. How do we handle activities where the participants are outside our jurisdiction and 75 or more spectators are inside ?

    Groups of Less Than 75

  27. Will noncommercial groups of less than 75 no longer be issued a permit even if the authorized officer has resource concerns ?

  28. Will the new rule override group limits established in wilderness areas ?

  29. Can an authorized officer issue a letter of agreement to groups of less than 757

  30. Do groups of less than 75 still requite a permit for engaging in federally-funded military activities on National Forest System lands ?

    Definition of "Commercial"

  31. Is a recreation event considered a commercial use under the rule ?

  32. Is a commercial use permit required if the charging of an entry or participation fee or the sale of a good or service occurs off National Forest System lands?

  33. Who has the burden to show whether a group is engaging in a commercial or noncommercial activity? Can the agency require the group to provide financial records if there is a question as to the group's status ?

    36 CFR 251.50(a) and 36 CFR 251.50(d)

  34. Does 36 CFR 251.50(d), which provides that a permit is not required for the use of forest development roads and trails, prevent the agency from issuing a Permit under CFR 251.50(a) for Uses and activities that occur on forest development roads and trails ?

    Sites authorized Under the LWCFA and G-T

  35. Can fees still be collected for noncommercial under the Land and Water group use of developed sites Conservation Fund Act (LWCFA)? Can groups still reserve fee sites?

    Fees, Bonding, and Insurance

  36. Why will no fees, bonding, or insurance be required under the rule ?

  37. What will happen when the Forest Service and a noncommercial group that was not required to have insurance are sued in connection with the group's use and occupancy ?

    Noncommercial Distribution of Printed Material

  38. Can the agency restrict noncommercial distribution of printed material to certain locations at high-profile areas ?

    New Rule, FSM, and FSH

  39. The Manual states that permit termination is not appealable, but the new rule provides that termination of permits for other than noncommercial group use is appealable. Explain.

  40. When will the CFR, FSM, and FSH be updated to reflect changes made by the new rule ?

    Law Enforcement

  41. How do we handle a situation where one group of 75 or more people that is in the same area and is conducting the same activity has split into two or more groups that each have less than 75 people ?

  42. Why is a group to be given 72 hours to disperse if the leader is not responsive to law enforcement? Wouldn't the activity often end during that time frame before any further action could be taken ?

  43. Row will the agency enforce the rule against large groups that gather without notice and that do not want to sign a permit ?

  44. What is the responsibility of the person who signed the permit ?

  45. What is the responsibility of leaders who are arrested because of the group's failure to obtain a permit ?

  46. If an arrest in a made in a remote area, will DOJ and OGC provide assistance ?

  47. Has a permit been issued under the rule in any of the regions ?