The Division of Park Programs, located in the National Capital Region Headquarters building, issues approximately 4,000 permits per year, including those for public gatherings (special events and demonstrations), and filming and photography. The permit system is intended to help assure, to the extent possible, that the multitude of activities that may be taking place on any given day will not conflict with each other or with general visitor activities.
Park areas administered by this office include National Mall and Memorial Parks, President’s Park, Rock Creek Park, National Capital Parks-East, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Prince William Forest Park, Ford's Theatre National Historic Site, and the portion of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park from Georgetown to the Monocacy River Aqueduct. Note that some of these listed parks may directly issue certain permits. Please refer to the attached document link titled "How and where to apply for specific types of permits" to determine what office you should contact for your particular permit needs.
Please note that all applications, unless determined to be a First Amendment activity, must be accompanied by a $50.00 payment for initial processing. The application processing cost represents the average costs incurred by the park in mailing, distribution and initial review of applications to make sure the information supplied is sufficient to inform a decision. Payment of application costs may be in the form of check, money order, or credit card.
This office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., holidays excepted.
Thanks for visiting. You can reach us at (202) 619-7225 to obtain additional information.
Application for a Public Gathering (Special Event or Demonstration)
(PDF)Application for filming or photography (Short Form - typically for smaller projects) (PDF)
Special Park Use application for sports activities and wedding ceremonies (PDF)
Code of Federal Regulations - Specific regulations pertaining to permitting process (36 CFR 7.96) (PDF)
National Capital Region Guide: Requirements for Special Events held on Parkland (PDF)
Did You Know?
At the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. you can see a reconstruction of Frederick Douglass' "Growlery." It was a one room building with a stove, bed, and desk where Douglass could retreat to work and "growl" when he was in the mood.