Permits & Reservations

Special Park Uses, Filming and Still Photography

Often individuals, organizations, and businesses consider national parks appealing settings to hold events, express opinions, shoot commercials or major motion pictures, or photograph models for catalogs or kids for their school pictures. Couples choose national parks as beautiful wedding venues. Families gather to share meals and celebrate the generations. At times, the National Park Service requires permits for activities like these to make sure these activities do not cause unacceptable impacts to a park's natural and cultural resources or unduly interfere with park visitors' access and enjoyment.

A Special Park Use Permit (SUP) can be used by park management to authorize the use of park-managed lands and waters for a variety of activities and uses. With the exception of the sale of printed material (36 CFR 2.52), SUPs are not used to authorize commercial activities. Commercial activities require a commercial use authorization, concession contract, or lease.

Special Events

Depending on the size and complexity of the planned event, the park may require you obtain a special park use permit. If issued, the permit will include terms and conditions that protect park resources while allowing you to enjoy the park without interfering with other park visitors.

When is a permit needed?
All parks are different in size and purpose, but all protect a variety of natural and cultural resources to enjoy now and in the future. Some parks welcome thousands of visitors a year; others welcome far fewer. Because of these differences, each park sets its own permit requirements. To determine if your event requires a special use permit contact the park’s special use coordinator 479-451-8122.


Demonstrations are defined in 36 CFR 2.51 as:
…demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services, and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers. This term does not include casual park use by visitors or tourists that is not reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers.

When is a permit needed?

Individuals or groups planning to hold a demonstration are encouraged to contact the park in advance to discuss the proposed activity.

The NPS may reasonably regulate certain aspects of First Amendment activities, such as the time when, the place where, and the manner in which the activity is conducted.

Pea Ridge National Military Park has designated areas for demonstrations. Information on designated areas are available by contacting the park. Groups of 25 people or fewer may use these areas without a permit as long as they are not using stages, platforms, structures, or sound systems. These areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis, however, and small groups may want to obtain a permit to ensure they have the use of the area.Groups over 25 people and groups using stages, platforms, structures, or sound systems need to apply for a permit for a designated area.

What fees will I have to pay?

The National Park Service will not impose requirements for cost recovery, insurance, bonding, and conditions requiring financial expenditure for first amendment activities.


Low-Impact Filming

“Low-impact filming’ is defined as outdoor filming activities in areas open to the public, except areas managed as wilderness, involving five people or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras. Those participating in low-impact filming activities do not need a permit and are not required to contact the park in advance. If low-impact filmers have questions about areas where they want to film, they should contact the park directly.

Videographers, filmers, producers, directors, news and other staff associated with filming are reminded that rules and regulations that apply to all park visitors, including park hours and closed areas, still apply to filming activities even if a permit is not required. Check with the park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.

Non-Low-Impact Filming

Filming activities that do not meet the description of low-impact filming require at least ten days advance notice to the National Park Service by contacting the park directly in writing. The park’s superintendent will determine whether the filming activities will require a special use permit for filming. Based on the information provided, a permit may be required to:

  • maintain public health and safety;
  • protect environmental or scenic values;
  • protect natural or cultural resources;
  • allow for equitable allocation or use of facilities; or
  • avoid conflict among visitor use activities.
Examples of requests that may require a permit include, but are not limited to: entering a sensitive resource area, filming in areas that require tickets to enter, or filming in visitor centers, campgrounds, or other visitor areas. The decision to require a permit rests with the park superintendent based on potential impacts to park resources or the visitor experience.

Contact the park directly if unsure whether or not a filming activity is considered low-impact or may require a permit.

Still Photography

Still photographers require a permit only when:
  1. the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
  2. the activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location's natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or
  3. a park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.

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 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:

1–10 people - $50/day
11–30 people - $150/day
Over 30 people - $250/day

Application Procedures

Requests for a permit application may be made in person, telephone, or email.

A completed application and the non- refundable application fee are required before an application can be processed. The information on the application will be used by NPS staff to evaluate the impact of the proposed activity on park resources and visitors. Please allow sufficient time for the park to process your request.

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?

Cost Recovery
Your application must be accompanied by an application fee, which reimburses the park for the time spent processing your request. If your activity is complicated, there could be additional charges to cover park costs, including payment for staff time spent in monitoring your permit.

As a condition of your permit, you may be required to present proof of liability insurance, in an amount to be set by the park.

Security Payments
As a condition of your permit, you may be required to submit either a cash payment or a surety bond in an amount set by the park to cover unpaid financial obligations and any necessary repairs or restorations.

Last updated: October 1, 2021

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15930 E Hwy 62
Garfield , AR 72732


479-451-8122 x1227

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