I would like to make everyone aware of what is legal guiding on forest service lands and what's not. There are many Meet-Up Groups popping up on the internet. These groups are for people to meet up for various activities of interest. One group that has caught my interest is a mountaineering group based out of the Sacramento area. There is one administrator who has been posting mountaineering activities on forest service land. In order to participate a membership fee is required, a fee is asked as a donation per day for each activity, and a waiver signed before participating.
Here's how it works with the forest service. Anytime a fee is required, or ask as a donation and a waiver is signed, a commercial permit is required from the forest service to offer these types of activities. That's why there are guide services. Guide services have commercial permits and the proper insurance that allows this type of guiding.
What about the Mazamas, the Mountaineers, Sierra Club trips, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Groups, etc? These groups either already have a commercial permit or go through a guiding company that has the commercial permit.
What is legal? If you are part of a meet-up group and someone initiates a trip or activity and no money is exchanged and everyone meets at the location, then it's legal.
As soon as money is exchanged or a waiver is signed to participate, it becomes an issue.
Please call your local forest service office or park service office before participating in these types of events and make sure that they are legal.
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