Special Use Permits

The Special Use Permit (SUP) is a valuable tool used by parks to manage non-routine activities in parks to protect park resources and values and minimize impacts to visitors and park operations.

Certain activities at Capitol Reef National Park require that you obtain a Special Use Permit (SUP) prior to your visit. These include many types of organized gatherings, distribution of printed material and other public expressions of opinion, and other activities that are controlled. See the following definitions and examples to determine if your use might be included.

Simple requests can often be processed in two weeks. Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics, or coordination with other NPS divisions or visitor activities will typically require a minimum of four weeks to process.

It is the policy of the National Park Service (NPS) to allow special uses that are not in conflict with law or policy; will not result in derogation of the values and purposes for which the park was established; do not present a threat to public safety or property and do not unduly interfere with normal park operations, resource protection, or visitor use.

The park has the authority and responsibility to evaluate applicant requests, permit, manage, and/or deny all special uses within the park. Therefore, before any permit will be granted, consideration will be given to potential park resource impacts, as well as impacts to visitor use, access to park sites, or park administration. There are cost recovery fees associated with the administration and management of special use permits for costs incurred by the park. Special park use guidelines state that "it is the policy of the NPS to charge permit fees for special uses. Permit fees should reflect the fair market value of a benefit provided the permittee. The fair market value of a special use is the value of the lands or facilities used and the NPS cost incurred in managing, facilitating, or supporting the use."

What is "Special Use"?

A special park use is defined as a short-term activity that takes place in a park area, and that:

  • Provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large;
  • Requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the National Park Service (NPS) in order to protect park resources and the public interest;
  • Is not prohibited by law or regulation; Is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the NPS; and is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease.

Examples of activities that require a permit at Capitol Reef National Park include, but are not limited to:

Filming and Photography

Permits may be necessary for filming and still photography. Read the guidelines and other information before downloading the permit application.


Capitol Reef can provide a spectacular backdrop for your wedding ceremony, elopement, or vow renewal. These activities require a permit, and locations may be limited depending on your group size.

First Amendment Activities

The necessity of a permit to conduct First Amendment activities is determined by group size.

Other Special Uses

Some activities that fall outside normal visitation also require obtaining a SUP. You may review the regulations and download the permit before your visit.

  • Scattering ashes of a deceased loved one.

  • Sporting events, or other events conducted by organized clubs.

  • Religious worship services.

  • Trips organized by scouting groups, churches, academic institutions, or other non-profit organizations. Fee waivers may be available for educational groups. Contact the Fee Office for educational group questions.

  • Any organized group consisting of more than 40 people conducting an activity in the park.

  • Ceremonies or public assemblies.


Contact Ann Ehler, Special Use Permits and CUA Coordinator, at care_commercialservices@nps.gov or 435-425-4126 for any questions.

Restriction on Idling:

Commercial vehicles (buses, vans, school buses, etc.) are only allowed to idle while actively (passengers are physically getting on or off) loading and unloading passengers. All operators must turn off vehicle engines when parked or when not actively loading or unloading. This restriction does not apply to vehicles stopped on roadways in obedience to traffic control devices or orders, or as needed in response to legitimate traffic safety concerns.


Commercial tour bus operators have a tendency to idle their engines while parked. The primary reason is that tour operators like to keep their buses cool with air conditioning while their clients are away from the bus. Idling occurs in the visitor center parking lot and in other parking areas where large numbers of visitors congregate. Idling engines produce noise pollution and exhaust that impacts clean air. This limitation will minimize the impacts to natural resources and visitors. (Superintendent’s Compendium).

Last updated: June 8, 2024

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HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775


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