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Managing Your Lease

Leases are executed with a single person, an individual and their spouse, or a formally organized group such as a corporation, association, partnership, or trust.

DCNR provides instructions and information to help you:

  • Understand requirements to maintain a lease/group lease
  • Transfer, renew, or terminate your lease
  • Understand rules for subletting


In order to maintain a lease for your campsite, there are several requirements to keep in mind:

  • You must be a resident of Pennsylvania
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • The camp may not be your primary or permanent home, and you will need to show proof of your permanent resident address when executing a lease or completing your lease renewal (no P.O. Box addresses)
  • You may not conduct any commercial activity out of the camp
  • Each lessee may only hold one state forest camp lease

Group Lease Requirements

A lease may be placed in the name of a formally organized group. A formally organized group can be a:

  • Corporation
  • Association
  • Partnership
  • Trust

The group must have written by-laws, which include how officers are elected and how camp disputes will be settled. A list of officers and a copy of the bylaws for the group are required to be forwarded to the local forest district office. The offices of president, vice president, secretary, and/or treasurer must be held by different people and all must be Pennsylvania residents.

The group must also forward the name and contact information of the person they wish to be the agent, or contact person for the group. One of the officers can act as the agent. The officers and the agent must all be Pennsylvania residents.

If your camp is owned by a group, DCNR encourages the lease agreement to be put in the group’s name and not an individual’s. When an individual is listed as the lessee, he/she is considered by the commonwealth to be the sole owner of the lease, rather than the group. This may cause problems when the lessee passes away or wants to transfer the lease.

The contact person or agent for the group may be changed by submitting a change of agent form (PDF) as long as there is no change in ownership and no change in the name of the group on the lease.

All forms can be obtained and submitted by contacting your forest district office.


Your campsite will be inspected by forest district staff every two to four years to ensure the leased campsite is maintained in a clean and presentable manner, and to make sure the terms of the lease are being adhered to.

A renewal or transfer inspections will occur before your lease is renewed or transferred. If the inspection results in issues that need to be addressed, the improvements will need to be completed before the lease is renewed or transferred.

Renewing a Lease

A campsite lease is a 10-year lease. Several months before the lease deadline, you will be sent a new lease to sign. The new lease may list any necessary campsite improvements that must be completed before the lease can be renewed.

You will also be sent a form to update your contact information (PDF) and to renew an existing water use agreement. You should sign and provide a witness signature on the lease agreement and return it to the DCNR Bureau of Forestry in the Harrisburg office, along with an updated contact information and water use agreement.

Once the lease is executed, you will be sent a copy of your new lease. DCNR offers a sample of the lease agreement (PDF) for your reference. If you have lost your copy of your lease please contact the forest district to be sent another. 

Terminating a Lease

A lease can be terminated at the request of the lessee. DCNR recommends you contact your local forest district office to discuss the matter.

A lease can be terminated for any violation of the lease terms (PDF) or violation of the Guidelines for Leased Forest Campsites (PDF) or State Forest Rules and Regulations (PDF). DCNR also reserves the right to terminate a lease if it is determined the site is needed for a higher public use.


With prior approval, you can sub-let your cabin to others for recreational and non-commercial purposes. This is limited to four times per year for no more than seven days each time. To receive permission, complete and submit the Request for Permission to Sub-Let (PDF) to your forest district office.

All cabin guests must comply with the same rules and regulations that you must follow.