Using the Group Notification System

Each year the AMC-managed backcountry sites in the White Mountains and Mahoosuc Range host an average of 20,000 overnight visitors year round. Nine of the most popular sites see an average of 11,000 visitors in the summer months. More than one-third of those visitors – 35 percent – are part of an organized group. As use of these popular sites continues to be heavy, so does the impact on the forest, in terms of human waste, erosion of heavily used trails, and trampling of vegetation.

To better manage these public wildlands so that all hikers continue to experience an uncivilized forest, we must receive pre-notification from large groups concerning which sites they plan to use. Proper use of the Group Notification System helps to prevent multiple groups from converging at a campsite on a given night and exceeding site capacity. This simple action helps us work together to lessen impacts on these beautiful areas, minimize overcrowding, and increase everyone’s enjoyment of the backcountry.

However, this notification is not a formal reservation. All sites are managed on a first-come, first-served basis. We hope that use of the Group Notification System will prevent the need for a more formalized reservation system, which would mean more regulations and fees. Your compliance helps us protect the resources we all value!

Keep Us in the Loop

If you plan to lead a trip with six or more people and are affiliated with an organization (such as a summer camp, Boy Scouts of America, or a college outing club, etc.), please consult our group use availability chart (PDF, 265 KB) for available space.

Then, use our easy online form to let us know the following information as soon as it is available, preferably two weeks in advance:

  • The name of your group.
  • The total number of people in your group including leaders (10 is the maximum allowed in designated Wilderness Areas and also the highest number recommended elsewhere).
  • The dates you expect to stay at particular sites.
  • An address and phone number where we can reach you.
  • Other important details.

If you wish to follow-up on your submission, or if you have questions, call the Group Notification line at 603-466-2721, ext. 8150. You may also email us at

The Group Notification System is not a reservation. Our Campsites are first-come, first serve.

Permits Required?

If your group is a commercial venture, such as a camp or college or guide service, you will need an Outfitter Guide Permit for trips in the National Forest. To obtain a permit application for the White Mountain National Forest, contact: Jennifer Batt, U.S. Forest Service, 300 Glen Road, Gorham, NH 03581-1399. Or call 603-466-2713, ext. 213.

Boy Scouts, church groups, and other volunteer-led trips do not need a permit.

Outside the White and Mahoosuc Mountains

If you and your group plan to stay at shelters or campsites elsewhere along the Appalachian Trail, specifically in Vermont or in Maine north of Route 26, please notify the local land managers with whom the AMC partners: