Reservations and Permits

Make camping reservations and get permits online for Hunting, Camping, Christmas Trees, and Equestrian Day Use Riding:

Reservation Fees:

Permit Information:

Each person 18 years old and older is required to purchase a Basic/Dispersed Camping Permit when dispersed camping or camping within a basic campground or basic camping area. 

  • 1-year permit expires one year from effective date ($50)
  • 3-day permit expires 3 days from effective date ($10)

Please note that the Basic/Dispersed Camping Permit is not applicable at Self-Service Camping Areas. Go to the Basic and Self-Service camping page for the full list of Basic and Self-Service Camping Areas.

Cedar Christmas Tree Permits Available November 26-December 24, 2021.

Obtaining and Displaying Your Permit:

  • Permits available ONLINE ONLY, November 26 through December 24, 2021.
  • Go to the CampLBL site and set up an account to obtain your free Christmas Tree Permit.
  • If you have made camping reservations or purchased a permit at Land Between the Lakes online in the past, log in to your account.
  • Complete, print, and sign your permit.
  • Display permit in windshield of vehicle while looking for cedar tree.

Selecting and Cutting Your Cedar Tree:

  • A permit entitles a family to cut one cedar tree. Cedar trees may be cut anywhere in Land Between the Lakes except:
    • Within sight of US68/KY80
    • Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway
    • Cemeteries
    • Facilities, including the Elk & Bison Prairie
    • Nature Watch Areas
    • Campgrounds
    • Other mowed areas
  • Read cutting guidelines provided on the website before you cut your tree.
  • NO CUTTING OF CHRISTMAS TREES ALONG THE TRACE or 68/80
  • ONLY CUT CEDAR TREES

Pine Versus Cedar Trees- Know the Difference:

Pine tree vs cedar tree

Note the similarity between pine and cedar trees. The Christmas tree permit is only for cedar trees less than 10 feet tall with stumps less than 4 inches tall.

  • Firewood permits are for personal use and cost $20/ccf, 100 cubic feet or 2 pick-up truck loads.
  • Firewood permits are valid October 1 - September 30.

Firewood Permits Are By Appointment Only
To schedule an appointment to purchase a firewood permit contact Anna Corey by email at [email protected].

You will need to bring with you to your appointment:

  • Your Drivers License
  • Description of the vehicle used to collect the firewood (make, model, year, color, and license plate number)

Firewood permit allows:

  • Authorization for removal is for dead and downed trees only
  • Firewood can be removed anywhere on Land Between the Lakes except in timber sale areas, designated recreation areas, cemeteries, or along major roads such as US68/KY80 and Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway
  • Users are encouraged to take advantage of easily accessible storm debris piles along roadways. A few prior timber sale areas may be open for firewood cutting. This will be specified in the permit

You may cut dead and downed trees to burn at your campsite in Land Between the Lakes. For this purpose, a firewood permit is not required.

Various groups and individuals often approach the Forest Service with requests to use national forest lands for an array of diverse activities. In the interest of protecting our natural resources, the Forest Service must always determine whether the proposed use is compatible with its mission and values.

Horse Day-Riding Permit is required for each trailer entering Land Between the Lakes for the purposes of riding horses for one day only ($10). Get your permit online or at the Wranglers Gatehouse.

Annual Horse Trailer Permits are available at Wranglers Campground only and expire February 28 ($100).

Annual Permit:              $100 
2022 Turkey Bay OHV Area annual riding permits will be available for purchase beginning December 1, 2021. Upon purchase, 2022 annual permits are valid for riding and will expire on December 31, 2022. Current 2021 annual permits will expire on March 31, 2022.  

1 to 3-day Permit:         $20;  1-3 consecutive days from date of purchase

Where to purchase permits:  OHV riding permits cannot be purchased online. Riding permits can be purchased at the Turkey Bay OHV Area Gatehouse, Thursday-Sunday, from 8:30 am-5:00 pm, OR 7 days a week from 9:00 am-5:00 at the Golden Pond Visitor Center. If the gatehouse is not staffed, you must get your riding permit at Golden Pond Visitor Center. For faster registration, please print and fill out the Turkey Bay OHV Area Registration and Liability Waiver Form. Bring the form to either Turkey Bay OHV Area Gatehouse or Golden Pond Visitor Center to register.

Turkey Bay OHV Area Hours of Operation: Riding times are dawn to dark, with permit. Turkey Bay OHV Area is open 7 days a week. Any weather-related closures (such as heavy rains or saturated soil conditions) will be posted on our Alerts page.

All hunters age 16 and over must have a Land Between the Lakes Hunter Use Permit and applicable state licenses, i.e.; Must hunt in Kentucky if hunter possesses a Kentucky state license.

The Annual Land Between the Lakes Hunter Use Permit is valid March 1 through February 28 and available at Welcome Stations, Visitor Center, and anywhere Kentucky and Tennessee State hunting licenses are sold:

  • Hunter Use Permit, $25 fee
  • Hunter Use Permit + Basic Camping Combo, $75 fee
  • Quota Hunt Online Application, $10 fee

To hunt deer with firearms, hunters must apply during the month of July and be drawn for a quota deer hunt permit. To hunt during the first several days of spring turkey season, hunters must apply during February and be drawn for a quota turkey hunt permit.

As a steward of the national forests, the Forest Service has a duty to minimize resource impacts on national forest system lands. Large group gatherings in the national forests have significant adverse impacts on forest resources, public health and safety, and the ability of the agency to allocate space in the face of increasing constraints on the use of national forest system land. A permit system allows the agency to address these problems more expeditiously, more effectively, and more equitably.

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area manages special uses consistent with National Forest Service Direction and that direction is found at http://www.fs.fed.us/specialuses/index.shtml

You may apply for a Special Use Permit by contacting Land Between the Lakes Administrative Office at 270-924-2000, or by email at [email protected]

Any recreation event held at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area that charges a fee or any commercial operation requires a Special Use Permit (for example: bike races, trail rides, rodeos, etc.). Please contact the Administrative Office at 270-924-2000 or by email at [email protected] to find out if your event requires a Special Use Permit, or for information on obtaining a permit.

Applicants for Special Use Permits should note that the permitting process can be time-consuming, may require multi-step National Forest Management Act analysis and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation, and ultimately may not be approved. The Forest Service will evaluate Special Use applicants to determine if they comply with public interest.

At a minimum, these proposals should be consistent with Area Plan management objectives, standards, and desired future conditions; and be consistent with other applicable Federal, State, and local statutes and regulations. Most permits require at least 90 days for processing. Noncommercial group uses are any activity conducted on National Forest Service lands involving 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators, in which (a) no entry or participation fee is charged, and (b) the primary purpose of the activity is not the sale of a good or service. Examples of noncommercial activities include club or family recreation outings, reunions, and weddings. No permit fee, bonding, or insurance is required for noncommercial group uses. The permit holder is responsible for camping fees.

Noncommercial group uses are any activity conducted on National Forest Service lands involving 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators, in which (a) no entry or participation fee is charged, and (b) the primary purpose of the activity is not the sale of a good or service. Examples of noncommercial activities include club or family recreation outings, reunions, and weddings. No permit fee, bonding, or insurance is required for noncommercial group uses. The permit holder is responsible for camping fees.

Learn more from the links below about Commercial Filming and Still Photography and how to apply for a Special Use Permit:

Completed applications for commercial filming/photography may be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to:
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
Attn: Special Use Permit- Commercial Filming and Photography
100 Van Morgan Drive
Golden Pond, KY 42044

Noncommercial Special Use Permits are required for weddings at Land Between the Lakes if the following criteria are true:

  • You have more than 75 people attending the wedding
  • You have live or recorded music for the event.
  • Note: The policy for 75+ group members and live or recorded music does not apply to any wedding held at Colson Hollow Group Camp because use falls under the group camp permit.
  • You serve a catered meal
  • No weddings can be held at the Homeplace, Woodlands Nature Station, and Stephen’s Church.
  • Weddings may be held in the pavilions at the Homeplace, Woodlands Nature Station, and Golden Pond Visitor Center. You must coordinate with the facility manager and then reserve the pavilion by calling 270-924-2044.
  • Weddings may be held at Wranglers, Hillman Ferry, Energy Lake, and Piney campgrounds by coordinating with the facility manager

You may apply for a Special Use Permit by contacting Land Between the Lakes Administrative Office at 270-924-2000, or by email at [email protected]. You must complete an application providing:

  • applicant’s name and mailing address;
  • if the applicant is an organization, and the name of an individual authorized to receive notice of the decision on the application;
  • description of the activity;
  • location and description of the National Recreation Area lands and facilities you would like to use; estimated number of participants and spectators;
  • starting and ending date and time of the activity; and
  • name of the person (or persons) 21 years of age or older who will sign the permit on behalf of the applicant.

The application must be received by the Administrative Office at least 6 months in advance of your activity.

If your application is approved, a permit will be issued prior to the start of your activity.

Applications will be approved if they meet the following 8 evaluation criteria (for details on the 8 criteria, particularly on criteria 5 and 6, review the Code of Federal Regulations at 36 CFR 251.54 (h)(1)):

  1. Authorization of the activity is not prohibited by rules or orders that apply to the national forests, or by federal, state, or local law related to the content of activity.
  2. Authorization of the activity is consistent or can be made consistent with standards and guidelines in the Area Plan that apply to the area where the activity will take place.
  3. The activity does not materially impact the characteristics or functions of environmentally sensitive resources or lands.
  4. The activity will not delay, halt, or prevent administrative use of an area by the Forest Service or other scheduled or existing activities on National Forest System lands.
  5. The activity does not violate state and local public health laws and regulations applicable to the site proposed for the activity.
  6. The activity will not pose a substantial danger to public safety.
  7. The activity does not involve military or paramilitary training or exercises by private organizations or individuals, unless such training or exercises are federally funded.
  8. A person (or persons) 21 years of age or older has been designated to sign and will sign a permit on behalf of the applicant.

If your application is denied and an alternative time, place, or manner will allow you to meet all the evaluation criteria, the Forest Service will offer that alternative.

Any research activities or collection for research of plants or animals found on Land Between the Lakes requires a Special Use Permit. Any application for a Special Use Permit for research must include a research proposal for review. The Applicant must also obtain the proper state collection permits.

Group Reservation Information:

Brandon Spring, a year-round overnight environmental education facility, is perfect for school groups, church groups, retreats, workshops, meetings, and other overnight groups. Reservations are required.

Available for Golden Pond Planetarium, the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm, and Woodlands Nature Station. Pre-scheduled group rates are available for groups of ten or more.

Land Between the Lakes has six open air pavilions. Reservations must be made at least 10 working days in advance of date needed.