Permits & Reservations

Special Use Permits
If you are beginning to plan a special event at Manzanar National Historic Site, please contact us for more information. You may need a Special Use Permit for certain types of activities. These include cultural programs, scientific research, workshops, events, commercial ventures, and filming.

To speak with us as you begin to plan a special event, or if you have questions regarding your activity, and in order to obtain an application for a permit, please call the park Special Park Uses Coordinator at 760-878-2194, ext. 3303.

Special Use Permit Application

Filming/Photography Application (short form)

Filming/Photography Application (long form)

It is the policy of the National Park Service (NPS) to allow filming and photography when it is consistent with the protection and public enjoyment of park resources, and avoids conflict with the public's normal use and enjoyment of the park. We are also sensitive to the environments around our park.

Permit Requirements
A permit is required when the filming, videotaping, sound recording or still photography involve the use of talent, professional crews, set dressing, or props; when they involve product or service advertisement; or when the activity could result in damage to park resources or disruption of visitor use. Generally, permits are not issued for filming on weekends or holidays.

Breaking News
Breaking news is an event that cannot be covered at any other time or at any other location. Coverage of breaking news does not require a permit.

Other Media
Frequently there are opportunities for news organizations to focus on park programs, or increase public awareness of park-specific issues. Filming related to these stories must be coordinated and planned in advance and do require a permit.

School media projects, independent films, documentaries, interviews with former internees, and feature films require a film permit.

Still Photography
Photography does not require a permit if it involves only hand-held equipment (tripod, interchangeable lenses or flash), and does not involve professional crews, product or service advertisement, or use of models, props or sets.

A still photography permit is required when:
· Product or service advertisement is involved
· Talent/models, props, crews or sets are involved
· More than just hand carried equipment is utilized

Permit Fees and Monitoring
Congress has authorized the National Park Service to charge location fees for the use of park lands and facilities for filming purposes. Site use charges will be estimated based on the information you provide in your application.

The National Park Service is required to recover all costs associated with permits for filming and photography. All administrative costs involving permit application and processing are nonrefundable and will be charged to a permittee. We require that charges be paid before work can begin on National Park Service property.

Location Fees for Motion Pictures and Videos

1-2 people with camera/tripod only $0/day
1-10 people $150/day
11-30 people $250/day
31-49 people $500/day
over 50 people $750/day

Location Fees for Still Photography

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

Film Monitor fee $40/hr; minimum of 2 hours

Note: Since our costs are based upon the services we provide, we do not differentiate between profit and nonprofit documentary projects.

The National Park Service cannot accommodate a project if:
· Damage to natural, cultural and recreational resources
is expected which cannot be mitigated
· The activity involves access to areas normally closed
for reasons of resource protection and safety
· The level of activity within the park is already so high that staff
would be unavailable to work with film crews
· The project includes a portrayal of activities that are not
permitted within a national park
· The production company is unwilling or unable to obtain necessary
insurance, or comply with National Park Service bond requirements

Prohibited Activities
· Altering, damaging or removing vegetation or cultural resources
· Vehicle use off established roads and parking areas
· Smoking in buildings, or in vegetated areas
· Digging, scraping, chiseling, or defacing natural or cultural

Permit Application Procedures
Applicants should read the summary of filming guidelines to facilitate an understanding of the permit process. If site scouting is planned prior to application period, contact the Park Special Park Uses Coordinator (at 760-878-2194, ext. 3303) to set up an appointment.

There is a non-refundable $75.00 permit application fee that must be submitted with your application. You can request an application by phone (760) 878-2194, ext. 3303, fax (760) 878-2949, email ( e-mail us ) or by letter (mailing address below). Completed applications must be returned to the park with payment.

Your request will be evaluated on the basis of the information in your application. During the process of reviewing and evaluating a permit application, if it is determined that substantial park staffing resources will be required for the permitted activity, the Park Special Park Uses Coordinator will contact the applicant about additional permit costs. Therefore you are encouraged to attach, maps, diagrams, script pages, vehicle and equipment lists, call sheet, itineraries, shot list, etc. with you application to assist park staff in evaluating your request. Most requests may be processed within 14 days if the application is complete and without alteration. In compliance with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, applicants must submit their Social Security number or Federal Tax ID number when filling out the application for permit.

Note: Park managers will not sign location releases supplied by applicants.

Please submit applications as far in advance as possible. Mail to:

Manzanar National Historic Site
Attn: Special Use / Filming Permits
P.O. Box 426
Independence, CA 93526-0426


Group Reservations

If your school, travel group, service group or organization is planning on visiting Manzanar NHS we have several options.

You can visit Manzanar on your own. There are exhibits in the Interpretive Center and the award winning 22 minute film Remembering Manzanar showing every 30 minutes. There is a self-guided driving tour of Manzanar where you will see two sentry posts, Japanese gardens, baseball field, cemetery and monument as well as exhibits at Block 14 that include a restored Mess Hall and two newly constructed reproduction barracks.

Ranger led programs can be arranged by reservation. Depending on your length of visit a program may be a fifteen minute introduction to the site, to an in-depth tour of Manzanar lasting about ninety minutes. Please call our reservation line at (760) 878-2194, ext. 3333. You may download the Group Reservation Request and fax it to (760) 878-2949.

Please note that reservations must be made at least 30 days prior to your visit to allow processing. Staffing may be limited on weekends and holidays.

Types of Ranger Guided Programs Offered

Basic Tour
Learn what life was like at Manzanar. Tour includes film, orientation to the site at scale model, and a visit to the two replica barracks, mess hall, and other features of Block 14.

Discussion Tour
Tour begins with the film and a walk through Block 14 to cover basic facts of life in camp, finishing in the mess hall for a ranger-facilitated in-depth discussion of Manzanar's relevance today.

Indoor Tour
The wind and extreme temperatures don't feel any better now that they did in 1942. Tour includes, film, orientation to the site at the scale model, and aspects of camp life featured in the museum exhibits.

Bus Tour
A park ranger will join your group on your bus, and tour the camp. Tour road length is 3.2 miles; most tours stop at the camp cemetery and Merritt Park.

Garden Tour
Tour begins by viewing the film, then walk to some of the unique gardens buit by Japanese Americans during the war. Tour discusses landscaping, gardening, contests, archeology and restoration.

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