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July 1, 1997 version:

Sec. 251.54 Special use applications.

(h) Response to applications for noncommercial group uses.

(1) An authorized officer shall grant an application for a special use authorization for a noncommercial group use upon a determination that:

(i) Authorization of the proposed activity is not prohibited by the rules at 36 CFR part 261, subpart A, or by orders issued under 36 CFR part 261, subpart B, or by Federal, State, or local law unrelated to the content of expressive activity;

(ii) Authorization of the proposed activity is consistent or can be made consistent with standards and guidelines in the applicable forest land and resource management plan required under the National Forest Management Act and 36 CFR part 219;

(iii) The proposed activity does not materially impact the characteristics or functions of the environmentally sensitive resources or lands identified in Forest Service Handbook 1909.15, chapter 30.

(iv) The proposed activity will not delay, halt, or prevent administrative use of an area by the Forest Service or other scheduled or existing uses or activities on National Forest System lands, including but not limited to uses and activities authorized under parts 222, 223, 228, and 251 of this chapter;

(v) The proposed activity does not violate state and local public health laws and regulations as applied to the proposed site. Issues addressed by state and local public health laws and regulations as applied to the proposed site include but are not limited to:

(A) The sufficiency of sanitation facilities;

(B) The sufficiency of waste-disposal facilities;

(C) The availability of sufficient potable drinking water;

(D) The risk of disease from the physical characteristics of the proposed site or natural conditions associated with the proposed site; and

(E) The risk of contamination of the water supply;

(vi) The proposed activity will not pose a substantial danger to public safety. Considerations of public safety shall not include concerns about possible reaction to the users' identity or beliefs from non-members of the group that is seeking an authorization and shall be limited to the following;

(A) The potential for physical injury to other forest users from the proposed activity;

(B) The potential for physical injury to users from the physical characteristics of the proposed site or natural conditions associated with the proposed site;

(C) The potential for physical injury to users from scheduled or existing uses or activities on National Forest System lands; and

(D) The adequacy of ingress and egress in case of an emergency;

(vii) The proposed activity does not involve military or paramilitary training or exercises by private organizations or individuals, unless such training or exercises are federally funded; and

(viii) A person or persons 21 years of age or older have been designated to sign and do sign a special use authorization on behalf of the applicant.

(2) If an authorized officer denies an application because it does not meet the criteria in paragraphs (h)(1)(i) through (h)(1)(viii) of this section, the authorized officer shall notify the applicant in writing of the reasons for the denial. If an alternative time, place, or manner will allow the applicant to meet the eight evaluation criteria, an authorized officer shall offer that alternative. If an application is denied solely under paragraph (h)(1)(iii) of this section and all alternatives suggested are unacceptable to the applicant, the authorized officer shall offer to have completed the requisite environmental and other analysis for the requested site. A decision to grant or deny the application for which an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement is prepared shall be subject to the notice and appeal procedures at 36 CFR part 215 and shall be made within 48 hours after the decision becomes final under that appeal process. A denial of an application under paragraphs (h)(1)(i) through (h)(1)(viii) of this section constitutes final agency action and is immediately subject to judicial review.