A special park use is a short-term activity that occurs in a National Park Service area and:
All special park use applications are processed and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Completion and submission of an application and application fee does not guarantee permit approval. Conditions applying to all permits include:
For further information about obtaining a Special Use Permit or determining if your activity needs a permit, please contact us.
Special Use Permits (Events, Weddings, Ceremonies, and More)
Special events such as weddings, ceremonies, gatherings, sporting events, scattering of ashes, and other similar activities require the approval of a permit and payment of fees before the activity can be conducted in the park.
Permits are not required for demonstrations, public assemblies, or distribution of printed material by 25 persons or fewer. All other First Amendment activities require the approval of a permit before the activity can be conducted in the park. Permit fees for First Amendment activities are waived.
Changes to Commercial Filming Permits on Park Land
On January 22, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Price v. Barr determining the permit and fee requirements applying to commercial filming under 54 USC 100905, 43 CFR Part 5, and 36 CFR Part 5.5 are unconstitutional. The National Park Service is currently determining how this decision will be implemented.
Following the recent court decision, the National Park Service will not be implementing or enforcing the commercial filming portions of 43 CFR Part 5 until further notice, including accepting applications, issuing permits, enforcing the terms and conditions of permits, issuing citations related to permits, or collecting cost recovery and location fees for commercial filming activities.
As regulations regarding commercial filming permits are being reassessed, those interested in commercial filming activities on land managed by the National Park Service are encouraged to contact the park directly for more information about filming in the park and to discuss how to minimize potential impacts to visitors and sensitive park resources.
Do I need a permit to film?
Currently, the National Park Service is not issuing commercial filming permits, but is in the process of evaluating how best to regulate filming activities that affect visitors and park resources. All applicable laws and regulations governing activities and public use in parks still apply, including park hours and areas open and closed to the public. Videographers, filmers, producers, directors, and other staff associated with commercial filming are reminded that rules and regulations that apply to all park visitors still apply to filming activities even if no permit is needed for their activity. Check with the park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.
Are filmers still required to pay fees to film in parks?
As of January 22, 2021, the National Park Service is no longer collecting application or location fees, or cost recovery for filming.
When is a permit needed?
Price v. Barr had no impact on how the National Park Service regulates still photography, so there are no changes in how the National Park Service regulates that activity. Still photographers require a permit only when:
How do I apply for a permit?
Permit applications are available through each park's administrative office or website. Contact information for parks can be found on their websites; visit Find a Park to locate the park where you would like to photograph. You should submit a completed application along with the application fee to the park where you want to film or photograph as far in advance of your planned date as possible. In addition, you should request a meeting with park staff if your proposed activity is unusual or complex. Early consultation with park staff will help them process the submitted application in a timely manner.
What fees will I have to pay?
The National Park Service will collect a cost recovery charge and a location fee for still photography permits. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in processing your request and monitoring your permit. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of your permit. The application fee must be submitted with your application.
In addition, the National Park Service has been directed by Congress to collect a fee to provide a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands. The National Park Service uses the following still photography fee schedule:
Are there other permit requirements?
You may be required to obtain liability insurance naming the United States as additionally insured in an amount commensurate with the risk posed to park resources by your proposed activity. You may also be asked to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.
Drones Not Permitted
Remotely piloted aircraft (drones) are not permitted for commercial filming, and the park superintendent will not seek higher level approval for any commercial filming activities. For more on National Park Service (NPS) policy regarding drone usage, please see:
Additionally, the use of a helicopter for commercial filming will not be permitted. For more information, please refer to the park's No Fly Advisory.
Commercial Use Authorizations
If you are a business such as a road-based tour company, climbing guide service, or other commercial company doing business in the park, please visit our Do Business With Us page to learn more.
Last updated: March 10, 2021