Superintendent's Compendium

Superintendent’s Compendium of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority.

____/s/_Cliff Spencer (Superintendent)_____March 12, 2008____

In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (“36 CFR”), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 16 United States Code, Section 3, the following regulatory provisions are established for the proper management, protection, government and public use of those portions of Petrified Forest National Park under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.


(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:

Visiting Hours:

Except as authorized by permit, public use of the park is prohibited during closed hours:

  • Mid-May through August - 7:00 p.m .through 7:00 a.m.
  • September - October, and Early March - Mid-May - 6:00 p.m. through 7:00 a.m.
  • November through Early March - 5:00 p.m. through 8:00 a.m.

*Dates and times are approximate. Specific hours are posted at park entrances, and published in local newspapers and park literature.

Public Use Limits:

A. Direct physical contact with rock art, which includes petroglyphs, is prohibited. Direct contact includes, but is not limited to: touching, making rubbings, molding, tracing, painting, brushing, outlining with chalk, or using air or gas compression.

B. During park closure hours park residents, employees, and concession employees are prohibited from using motor vehicles on the closed portion of the park road. This does not apply to emergency or non-stop travel through the park to destinations at Rainbow Forest or Painted Desert, or by permission of the Chief Ranger or Superintendent.

Closed sections of the park road may also be used by contractors or special use permit holders after closure hours, if provided for in contracts, permits, or agreements.

C. The parking/turnaround area next to park entrance sign at Exit #311 of Interstate 40 is restricted to Day Use Only, with a maximum two-hour use limit. See Map D.

D. The park and Xanterra employee housing areas at Painted Desert and Rainbow Forest (including sewage ponds) are closed to the public without specific permission of a resident, the Chief Ranger, or Superintendent. See Map D and Map H.

E. All vehicles, including buses, microbuses and vans, are prohibited from idling their engines for extended periods of time. Idling shall not exceed five minutes during periods of inclement weather and two minutes all other times.

F. All devices/toys/alternative modes of travel; mechanical or self-propelled, (i.e. skateboards, gliders, planes, kites, etc.) are prohibited unless approved by the Superintendent. This section does not apply to motorized wheelchairs.

Segways (or similar devices) are considered motorized vehicles under the definition in 36 CFR, section 1.4. Their use is not allowed in the park, except by mobility-impaired persons using the device for locomotion. As stated in 36 CFR 1.2 (e), “The regulations in this chapter are intended to treat a mobility-impaired person using a manual or motorized wheelchair as a pedestrian, and are not intended to restrict the activities of such a person beyond the degree that the activities of a pedestrian are restricted by the same regulation.” Park visitors that are mobility-impaired are allowed to use Segways (or similar devices) on paved or finished surfaces throughout the park, including buildings, sidewalks, parking areas, and other surfaces when such devices are used for the sole purpose of mobility assistance. These devices may also be used on paved park trails, with the special caveat that there are numerous sections of trail that are inappropriate for use of Segways or motorized wheelchairs due to the uneven surface of the trail or the incline of the trail. It is up to the user of the device to limit their travel in these areas. Users of mobility assistive devices must also adhere to the following;

  1. No person under 16 years of age may operate a Segway or similar device;
  2. A person shall operate any mobility assistive device in a safe and responsible manner; maximum speed will not exceed 8mph (Segway sidewalk/Intermediate key), so as not to endanger the operator or other visitors;
  3. A person riding any mobility assistive device shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that the mobility assistive device operator must always yield to pedestrians.


A. All unpaved roads in the park, and Old Highway 180 and Old Route 66, are closed to public vehicle and bicycle use, unless authorized by the Superintendent.

B. Except by permit from the Superintendent, the areas listed below are closed to the public at all times: Areas defined as archaeologically, paleontologically, or biologically sensitive in the park Backcountry Use Plan (as shown on maps in the Plan) or described below and shown on associated maps, are not open to the public including:

  1. The Newspaper Rock area: North boundary – 3/4 mile north of the Newspaper Rock overlook; South boundary - 1/4 mile south of the Newspaper Rock overlook; West boundary - the dirt service road; East boundary - top of the cliffs. See Map A.
  2. The Pedestal Log areas directly to the east of the first and second pullouts on the Blue Mesa Loop Road. See Map B.
  3. The north cliff area at Blue Mesa. See Map I.
  4. The fenced area east of the main park road near milepost (8) eight, known as site #236. See Map C.
  5. The area east of the main park road opposite the Newspaper Rock road access. North boundary - an eastward extension of the east-west line beginning at the Newspaper Rock access road junction with the main park road extending eastward one mile; South boundary – 1 1/8 mile south of the north boundary paralleling the north boundary; East boundary – a north/south line from the north boundary to the south boundary; West boundary – the main park road. See Map A.
  6. The cliff and rock wall that marks the southern boundary of the Chinde picnic area. See Map J.


(f) The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the superintendent is required:

§1.5 (d) The following activities related to Public Use Limits: Access to the park outside normal operating hours, as listed in section 1, a1. Access to areas listed under section 1, closures.

§2.4 (d) Carry or possess a weapon, trap, or net

§2.5 (a) Specimen collection (Take plant, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals)

§2.10 (a) Overnight camping.

§2.12 (a)(2) Operating a power saw in developed areas

(a)(3) Operation of any type of portable motor or engine, or device powered by a portable motor or engine in non-developed areas

(a)(4) Operation of a public address system in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51

§2.17 (a)(3) Delivery or retrieval of a person or object by parachute, helicopter or other airborne means.

(c)(1) Removal of a downed aircraft

§2.23 Special recreation activities

§2.37 Soliciting or demanding gifts, money goods or services

§2.38 (a) Use, possess, store, or transport explosives or blasting agents

(b) Use or possess fireworks.

§2.50 (a) Conduct a sports event, pageant, regatta, public spectacular attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and similar events.

§2.51 (a) Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades and other public expressions of views

§2.52 (c) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising

§2.60 (b) Livestock use

§2.61 (a) Residing on federal lands

§2.62 (b) Memorialization - (Scattering ashes from human cremation)

§4.11 (a) Exceeding of established vehicle load, weight and size limits

§5.1 Advertisements - (Display, posting or distribution.)

§5.2 (b) Sale of intoxicants in certain park areas (Regional Director approval required)

§5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business (requires a permit, contract or other written agreement with the United States, or must be pursuant to special regulations).

§5.5 (a) Commercial filming of motion pictures or television involving the use of professional casts, settings or crews, other than bona fide newsreel or news television. (See the Fees and Reservations page for access to Special Use Permits for commercial filming.)

(b) Still photography of vehicles, or other articles of commerce or models for the purpose of commercial advertising. (See the Fees and Reservations page for access to Special Use Permits for commercial filming.)

§5.6 (c) Use of commercial vehicles on park area roads (The superintendent shall issue a permit to access private lands within or adjacent to the park when access is otherwise not available)

§5.7 Construction of buildings, facilities, trails, roads, boat docks, path, structure, etc.

§5.10 (a) Operation of eating, drinking, or lodging establishments.

Part 11 Use of Arrowhead and Parkscape Symbols

Part 14 Rights-Of-Way

Part 17 Conveyance of Freehold and Leasehold Interests on NPS Lands

Part 18 Leases and Exchanges of Historic Property

Part 51 Concession Contracts

Part 71 Recreation Fees



(b) Hiking or pedestrian traffic is restricted to the trail tread or walkway on the following trails/walkways:

  • Giant Logs Trail
  • Long Logs Trail
  • Crystal Forest Trail
  • Agate Bridge Approach Trail
  • Blue Mesa Trail
  • Newspaper Rock Approach Trail
  • Puerco Pueblo Trail
  • Painted Desert Rim Trail


(d) The transporting of lawfully taken wildlife through the park is permitted under the following conditions and procedures:

  • With approval by the Superintendent or their acting representative
  • A case by case basis

(e) The following areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light:

  • All park areas


(d) In all other cases, a permit is required to posses a weapon, trap or net. The superintendent will only issue a permit to carry or possess a weapon trap or net under the following circumstances:

  1. When necessary to support approved/permitted research activities.
  2. For employees, agents or cooperating officials – for official duty.
  3. As part of a grazing Special Use Permit for the sole purpose of dispatching sick or injured livestock.


(a) The sites and areas listed below have been designated for camping activities as noted. A permit system has been established for camping activities, and conditions for camping and camping activities are in effect as noted:

  • In the Painted Desert unit of the Wilderness Area, starting at least one linear mile from the trailhead at Kachina Point, or north of the Lithodendron Wash. Total campers are limited to 50 persons and 12 stock animals per night. See Map E.
  • In the Rainbow Forest unit of the Wilderness Area, starting at least a half mile southeast of the main park road in the Flattops Wilderness Area. Total campers are limited to 25 persons and 6 stock animals per night. See Map E.

(b2) Refuse must be packed out of the wilderness by the user

(b9) Camping is allowed for not more than a total of 30 days in any calendar year park-wide.

Group size is limited as follows:

  1. Eight (8) person limit per group staying in the wilderness overnight.
  2. Use of campsites is limited to eight (8) persons.
  3. There is a limit of six (6) head of pack and saddle stock per party. All food and water must be packed in. All feed must be certified weed-free.

Camping in the park without a permit is prohibited. A permit may be obtained for a maximum of 14 consecutive days. The campsite must be relocated every three days to minimize impacts on the resource. All permit applicants must read and sign the permit conditions sheet before being issued a permit. (See the Backpacking page for more information.)


Conditions for Picnicking:

Picnicking is allowed on hardened surfaces and in other areas where impacts to resources will not occur, and as long as the activity does not conflict with other visitor uses and park operations.

36 CFR 2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:

Designated Areas:

Certain types of fire (as listed below) are allowed in the designated picnic areas at Rainbow Forest and Chinde Point. The use of solar, propane/butane, and white gas fueled stoves is allowed in wilderness camping areas.

Receptacles Allowed:

The use of solar, propane/butane, white gas fueled stoves, and charcoal-type grills is allowed in designated picnic areas. Charcoal fires are not allowed in wilderness camping areas.

Established Conditions for Fires:

Fires must be constantly monitored, and must be completely extinguished before leaving the area.

(c) High fire danger closures will be in effect as noted:

  • No fires are allowed if the area is posted with high fire danger warning signs.


(a)(2) The use of government refuse receptacles or facilities for dumping household, commercial or industrial refuse, brought as such from private or municipal property is prohibited.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

(a)(3) Pets may be left tied to an object under the following conditions:

  • Short periods of time (less than 5 minutes) in developed areas
  • During emergency situations in developed and undeveloped areas.

(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed in accordance with the following conditions:

  • Pet excrement in developed areas must be collected and deposited in a trash receptacle.

(e) Pets may be kept by park residents under the following conditions:

  • Pets must be registered with the park Housing Officer. Pets must also be current with required vaccinations.

Pets are not allowed in government and public buildings (even if carried), or in Wilderness areas or their access trails. (These restrictions do not apply to service dogs or those used by sight or hearing impaired individuals).


(a) The following animals are designated as pack animals:

  • Horses, burros, mules, llamas

(b) The use of horses or pack animals is permitted on the following trails, routes or areas:

  • All park lands with the exception of paved roads, paved trails, and around visitor use areas.

(d) Free-trailing or loose-herding is not permitted.

(g) Other conditions concerning the use of horses or pack animals:

  • The number of stock animals is limited to six per group.
  • Riders must comply with wilderness restrictions when in park wilderness areas.

(See the Horseback Riding page for more information.)


(c)(1) The removal of a downed aircraft, components, or parts thereof is allowed, subject to written authorizations from the superintendent, under the following terms and conditions:

  • The parties responsible for removal of the aircraft must submit a written plan specifying a timeframe for removal, means of access to the site, and the manner or method of removal.


The use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are not allowed in the park except:

  • By park residents within the confines of park residential areas.

36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING

(a) The following portions of the park, or all or portions of buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking:

  • The interior of all public and government buildings.
  • Immediately adjacent to gasoline dispensing pumps at the concessionaire gas station.
  • During posted high fire danger no smoking is allowed in any portion of the park except for the interior of vehicles.

All smoking areas must be a reasonable distance from any building entrances, windows and ventilation systems so that persons entering or leaving the building or facility shall not be subjected to breathing tobacco smoke and so that tobacco smoke does not enter the building or facility through entrances, windows, ventilation systems or any other means. Similarly, ashtrays shall be removed to the same reasonable distances from buildings and facilities.

36 CFR §2.22 – PROPERTY

(a)(2) The following describes areas where property may be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours, and the conditions under which property may be left:

  • Visitors on authorized wilderness camping permits are permitted to leave their vehicles unattended within designated parking spaces for the period specified on their permit.


(b) Recreation fees, in accordance with 36 CFR part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:

Entrance Fee Areas:

Single vehicle seven-day pass $10

Motorcycle or Pedestrian $5

Non-Commercial bus passengers $5

Commercial Tours – sedans $25 plus $5 per person

Commercial Tours – vans $50

Commercial Tours – mini bus $60

Commercial Tours – large coach $150

(c) The collection of recreation fees will be suspended during the following periods:

  • Veterans Day, November 11
  • As established by the Superintendent, Regional Director, or Director


(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:

  • All areas of the park with the exception of: established picnic areas at Chinde Point and Rainbow Forest, residential areas, or by permit, or during official events.


The solicitation or demand for gifts, money, goods or services requires a permit under §2.50, §2.51, or §2.52, and is subject to the terms and conditions specified therein.


Public assemblies are prohibited except with a permit. Permits may be issued for the following areas only:

  • Painted Desert - the southwest side of the visitor center parking lot, in an area 140 feet by 20 feet. See Map F.
  • Rainbow Forest – The northwest corner of the Rainbow Forest Museum parking lot, in an area 80 feet by 20 feet. See Map G.

Written applications for permits must be received by the Superintendent at least 24 hours prior to the date desired for the event. The activity must not conflict with any scheduled NPS function or program.

No amplification of voice or sound will be allowed. Visitors will not be subjected to undue noise or physical contact. Signs are restricted to no larger than 3 foot by 3 foot in size. Visitors shall not be impeded in their progress to any portions of the park including public buildings, visitor centers, restaurants, parking areas, etc.


The distribution of printed matter without a permit is prohibited. Permits may be issued for the same areas referred to in section 2.51 “Public Assemblies” only.

Permittees will be required to provide waste containers for visitors to use in conjunction with receiving the printed material, as well as to remove from the park all trash contained in these containers.


(a) Absent a permit, the running-at-large, herding, driving across, allowing on, pasturing or grazing of livestock of any kind in a park area for agricultural purposes is prohibited. Additionally, a permit can only be issued in the following circumstances:

(a)(1) As specifically authorized by Federal statutory law; or

(a)(2) As required under a reservation of use of rights arising from acquisition of a tract of land; or

(a)(3) As designated, when conducted as a necessary and integral part of a recreational activity or required in order to maintain a historic scene.


Absent a permit, lease or contract, residing in park areas on other than private land, is prohibited.


(a) Authorization from the Director of the National Park Service is required to install a monument, memorial, tablet, structure, or other commemorative installation in a park area.

(b) A permit is required for the scattering of ashes from cremated human remains in the following areas, and/or according to the following terms and conditions:

The scattering of human ashes from cremation is allowed pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit as outlined below:

  • The remains to be scattered must have been cremated and pulverized.
  • The scattering of remains by persons on the ground is to be performed at least 100 yards from any trail, road, developed facility, or body of water.
  • The scattering of remains from the air is to be performed at a minimum altitude of 2000 feet above the ground.
  • No scattering of remains from the air is to be performed over developed areas, facilities, or bodies of water.


(a) Park roads, open for travel by motor vehicle, are those indicated in the following publication:

  • Park Brochure


(a) The following load, weight and size limits, which are more restrictive than State law, apply to the roads indicated under the terms and conditions, and/or under permit as noted:

  • Trucks and/or trucks and trailers rated over 50,000 pounds GVW are not permitted on park roads, except for trucks and/or trucks and trailers required for park operations.


(b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:

Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in the park is 15 mph. Under 36 CFR paragraph 1.5 Closure and Public Use Limits, the Superintendent retains the right to change speed limits in any area of the park, without public notice, when emergency conditions so warrant.

A. The speed limit is 45 mile per hour along the following portions of the park road:

  1. From Lacey Point south to the Puerco Bridge.
  2. From the south end of the Puerco Pueblo development to just north of the Crystal Forest pullout, excluding cautionary limit areas of 35 mph in the Tepees and Agate Hill.
  3. From just south of Crystal Forest to the Jim Camp Wash Bridge.

B. The speed limit is 35 mile per hour along the following portions of the park road.

  1. From the Painted Desert Entrance Station to Lacey Point.
  2. From the Puerco Bridge to the south end of the Puerco Pueblo development.
  3. From the Blue Mesa road at its intersection with the main park road to its intersection with the Blue Mesa Loop Road.
  4. Alongside of the Crystal Forest pullout.
  5. From the Rainbow Forest Museum to the south entrance gate.

C. The following speed limits are posted on the following areas of park roadway:

  1. 25 mph on the Blue Mesa Loop portion of the Blue Mesa road.
  2. 25 mph on the main park road from the Painted Desert electronic gates to the entrance station.
  3. 15 mph on the Chinde Point, Newspaper Rock, Agate Bridge, Jasper Forest, and Long Logs access roads.
  4. 15 mph from the Jim Camp Wash bridge through the RainbowForest parking area.
  5. 15 mph in heavy visitor use areas including the Painted Desert Visitor parking area; the Rainbow Forest Museum and concessions parking area; and all turnoffs.
  6. 15 mph in residential areas.

36 CFR §4.30 – BICYCLES

(a) Bicycle use is permitted on paved park roads and parking areas open to the public.

The following routes are closed to bicycle use: All park lands not covered by pavement, and Old Highway 180 in the Rainbow Forest area, and Old Route 66 in the Painted Desert area. (See the Bicycling Information page for more information.)

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