Who would have thought you could start a blog post with such a crappy title? What the heck is a land management agency? What this really means Is who owns the land under your feet when you go hiking? Unless the answer is you do, then whoever owns the land sets the rules and unfortunately, there’s often a lot of variety. Outside of private property, the answer will probably be one of the following:
- City (Forest Park)
- State (Tryon Creek State Park)
- National Forest (Mount Hood National Forest)
- National Park (Crater Lake National Park)
- Bureau Of Land Management
Of course, there are other possibilities, but these cover the main groups. It’s important to understand what land you are hiking. This determines whether you have to pay if you need a permit, how many people can hike together, whether you can take a dog and where you need to go to find out the details of all the rules and talk to a ranger. By the way, I’ve always found calling the ranger the best way to get all the information I need for a hike – very informed and friendly people.
If you are curious to go on a hike to Ramona Falls and you know it’s in Mount Hood National Forest, a quick call to the ZigZag Ranger station and you can find out that you need a Northwest Forest pass for parking, that you’ll have to fill in a free wilderness permit when you enter the wilderness area, the conditions for crossing the Sandy River and that you can take your dog. You can download a map from the Forest Service website and find which campgrounds are close.
Look at my post on Preparing Navigation to help find the land management agency for your hike.