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There have been many questions and concerns surrounding Tribal Code Chapter 23: National Gathering Code and the use of national forest campgrounds without fees.

Although it is true that tribal members can receive a permit that authorizes free camping at designated National Forest Service campgrounds, it must be in connection with the exercise of treaty gathering rights.

Chapter 23 of the Tribal Code defines “gather” or “gathering” as “means to take or acquire or attempt to take or acquire possession of any wild plant, or part thereof.”

Tribal camping permits are intended to be used by tribal members exercising treaty gathering rights on national forest lands as defined by Chapter 23. The signatory tribes and the USDA-Forest Service agreed that fees and length of stay restrictions at designated campgrounds should not interfere with the exercise of treaty-reserved gathering rights. This agreement set forth the fee exemption in designated national forest campgrounds.

By submitting an application to receive a fee exemption voucher for approved National Forest Service campgrounds, tribal members are acknowledging that they will abide by the rules and regulations set forth in the Tribal Code and any stipulations on the tribal camping permit.

Violation of Chapter 23 could result in, but not be limited to: civil fines, revocation or suspension of National Forest privileges and court fines and costs.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact Sault Tribe Law Enforcement Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 906‑635‑6065.

To download the camping application, please click the link below:

2022 Sault Tribe National Forest Camping Voucher Application

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY