“Trespass” is defined in the General Forestry Regulations section of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (25 CFR § 163) as:

The removal of forest products from, or damaging forest products on, Indian Forest Land, except when authorized by law and applicable federal or tribal regulations. Trespass can include any damage to forest resources on Indian Forest land resulting from activities under contracts or permits or from fire.

The regulations regarding Trespass can be found in 25 CFR § 163.29. The Indian Affairs (IA) policy on forest trespass is described in 53 IAM 7: Forest Trespass. The associated Indian Affairs Forest Trespass Handbook addresses all forest trespass cases caused by unauthorized harvest or human-caused wildfire and provides guidance for the detection and investigation of trespass incidents, appraisal of damages, preparation of appropriate reports, enforcement, litigation, settlement, distribution of funds, and prevention of trespass on Indian lands. These documents may be utilized to investigate, document the trespass and obtain settlement for trespass.

The punishment of trespassers is as important as the recovery of damages because it serves as a deterrent to reduce future trespass activities. The Secretary of the Interior (Secretary), acting through the BIA or through Tribal programs to which authority has been assumed by delegation or by contract, is responsible for protecting Indian forest lands from trespass and for recovering damages when trespass occurs.

The following templates are identified in the Indian Affairs Forest Trespass Handbook (53 IAM 7H).


  • Damage and Costs Worksheet (xlsx)
  • Demand Letter to Trespasser Template (docx)
  • Forest Products Trespass Case Report Template (docx)
  • Forest Products Trespass Settlement Agreement Template (docx)
  • Forest Products Trespass Field Data Template with Instructions (docx)
  • Forest Products Trespass Field Data Fillable Template with instructions (docx)
  • Notice of Possible Trespass Template (docx)
  • Notice of Seizure Template (docx)
  • Notice of Trespass Template (docx)
  • Notice to Cease and Desist Template (docx)
  • Promissory Note Template (docx)
  • Standard Operating Procedures for Trespass Investigation Template (docx)
  • Trespass Case Closure Template (docx)
  • Trespass Decision Document (docx)
  • Trespass Voluntary Statement Template (docx)

Contact Us

Division of Forestry
1001 Indian School Road NW, Building 1
Albuquerque, NM 87104
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. MST, Monday – Friday