Special Use Permits

The NPS arrowhead on a park ranger's uniform is in full-focus with a sunset and Joshua tree out-of-focus in the background.

The National Park Service (NPS) was created by the Organic Act of 1916. This foundational legislation gave parks the mission to "conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations".

In order to manage the public’s requests for private use, the Office of Special Park Uses was established. “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.”

Joshua Tree National 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, and park administration. There are cost recovery fees associated with the administration and management of special use permits for costs incurred by the park. In the special park use guidelines, it states 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.”

A special park use is defined as an 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 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 National Park Service (NPS); and is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease;
  • is a short term activity.

*Please note that while a special park use may meet the above criteria, not all activities are approved based on park specific resources, visitation, and potential impact.

The National Park Service may permit a special park use if the proposed activity will not:

  • cause injury, damage or impairments to park resources;
  • be contrary to the park’s purpose for which the park was established and the mission of the NPS;
  • unreasonably impair the atmosphere of peace and tranquility maintained in wilderness, natural, historic, or commemorative locations within the park;
  • or interfere with visitor use, access, and programs interfere with park management or administration;
  • interfere with concession operations or other public facilities;
  • present a clear and present danger to public health and safety.

Special Use Permits

For more information on activities and how to apply for a special use permit, click on the links below.

  • Person taking a picture with Joshua trees in the background
    Photography, Filming, & Sound Recording

    A permit may be required for commercial filming, photography, and sound recording.

  • a sunset with a Joshua tree and rocky mountains
    Weddings and Ceremonies

    There are 11 designated sites for weddings and ceremonies. The amount of people and vehicles allowed varies with each site.

  • A group of people holding up certificates
    Special Events

    Special events include celebrations, entertainment, sporting events, spectator attractions, ceremonies, and large group meet-ups.

  • A black and white photo of sunset
    Scattering Ashes

    The scattering of cremated human remains ("cremains") in Joshua Tree should be small and private affair. There is no fee for this permit.

  • American flag flying behind a Joshua tree
    First Amendment Activities

    There are three designated locations to exercise first amendment rights. There is no fee for this permit.


Permit Office

The permit office is open Monday through Friday, 7:00 am to 3:30 pm (PST). We are closed on federal holidays. Permits may still be granted in advance for a Saturday or Sunday. Permits are not issued on federal holidays and NPS free entrance days.

Contact us

Phone: (760) 367-5518
Email: jotr_permit_office@nps.gov

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
*We are located in office building 100 near the flag pole.

Last updated: December 28, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


760 367-5500

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