Special Use Permits

Many activities in the Park require a permit. A complete list of these activities can be found in the Superintendent's compendium.
More detailed information is available for the following uses:

Continue on this page to learn about the application process for other uses, such as:

  • Weddings
  • Public Assemblies and Meetings
  • Other Special Events (festivals, etc.)

To Apply:
Please complete an:
Application for Special Use Permit (NPS Form 10-930) - Word Doc

Submit it to the Office of Special Park Uses at least two weeks in advance of the activity, more if the activity entails significant impacts to park operations. Please remember to enclose a cashier's check, or money order for $50 or contact us for credit card payment, to cover non-refundable application costs. Send the completed application along with the application fee in the form of a credit card, cashier's check, money order or personal check made payable to National Park Service to:

Office of Special Park Uses
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
415 Washington Ave
Bayfield, WI 54814

For more information: contact the Chief Ranger by email or (715) 779-3398 ext. 1801.


Commercial Filming and Photography

Commercial Filming Permits on Park Land

Effective October 28, 2022, the National Park Service (NPS) has rescinded interim guidance that was in place during litigation regarding commercial filming and has returned to longstanding laws and regulations governing commercial filming in parks. Under federal law, all commercial filming that occurs within a unit of the National Park System requires a permit.

The following types of filming activities may occur in areas open to the public without a permit and without advance notice to the NPS:

  • Outdoor filming activities [outside of areas managed as wilderness] involving five persons or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras.

The organizer of any other type of filming activity must contact the park and provide written notice to the Superintendent at least 10 days prior to the start of the proposed activity. Based upon the information provided, the Superintendent may require the organizer to apply for and obtain a permit if necessary to:

  • maintain public health and safety;
  • protect environmental or scenic values;
  • protect natural or cultural resources;
  • allow for equitable allocation and use of facilities; or
  • avoid conflict among visitor use activities.

If the Superintendent determines that the terms and conditions of a permit could not mitigate the concerns identified above in an acceptable manner, the Superintendent may deny a filming request without issuing a permit. The Superintendent will provide the basis for denial in writing upon request.

The NPS will consider requests and process permit applications in a timely manner. Processing times will vary depending on the complexity of the proposed activity. If the organizer provides the required 10-day advance notice to the NPS and has not received a written response from the NPS that a permit is required prior to the first day of production, the proposed filming activities may occur without a permit.

The following are prohibited:

  1. Engaging in a filming activity without providing advance notice to the Superintendent when required.

  2. Engaging in a filming activity without a permit, if the activity takes place in areas managed as Wilderness, or if the Superintendent has notified the organizer in writing that a permit is required.
  3. Violating a term and condition of a permit issued under this action.

Violating a term or condition of a permit issued under to this action may also result in the suspension and revocation of the permit by the Superintendent.

Still Photography

When is a permit needed?

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.

How do I apply for a permit?

To Apply:
Please complete an Application for Special Use Permit (NPS Form 10-932) - Word Doc

Submit it to the Office of Special Park Uses with no less than 30 days before the start date of the proposed activity to allow sufficient time for evaluation by the park staff. Include a check, money order, or call for credit card payment of $50 to cover non-refundable application costs. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the National Park Service. Location Fees are also required based on the number of crew and by days filming or photographing. Send the completed application to:

Office of Special Park Uses
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
415 Washington Ave
Bayfield, WI 54814


Generally, permits are not required for:

  • Visitors using cameras and/or recording devices for their own personal use.
  • NPS filming or photography, Department of the Interior Audiovisual Center filming or filming/photography done pursuant to a cooperative agreement or contract.
  • News-gathering activities involving filming, videography or still photography at breaking news events. In these cases, the superintendent will still be required to protect park resources and the rights and safety of park visitors. News media wishing access for entertainment or scheduled purposes may require a permit. Please contact the Chief Ranger with any questions.

For more information: contact the Chief Ranger by email or (715) 779-3398 ext.1801.

Last updated: November 2, 2022

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 770
Bayfield, WI 54814


715 779-3397

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