Doing Business With The Park

Special Use Permits

Certain types of activities require a Special Use Permit. These include sports events, public spectator attractions, entertainments, ceremonies, and similar events, provided there is a “meaningful association between the park and the events, and the observance contributes to visitor understanding of the park area…” [36 CFR §2.50(a)] See the following definitions and examples to determine if your proposed use might require a permit.

A special park use is defined as an activity that takes place in a park area, and that:

  • provides a benefit to an individual, group or organization rather than the public at large
  • requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the National Park Service (NPS) in order to protect park resources and the public interest
  • is not prohibited by law or regulation
  • is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the NPS
  • is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease

Examples of activities that require a permit on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail include, but are not limited to:

  • Weddings/elopements/vow renewals
  • Hang gliding/paragliding at approved locations
  • Other ceremonies or public assemblies
  • Approved construction activities
  • Certain First Amendment Activities

The National Park Service is charged with the overall management of, and planning for, the Trail, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, which manages a significant portion of the land crossed by the Trail. As part of that mission, these two federal agencies have established and adhere to a Comprehensive Plan for the management of the Trail. In general, commercial activities are not considered an acceptable use in the Trail corridor.

Examples of activities that are not an appropriate use of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail are:

  • Commercial Guiding
  • Fundraising Events
  • “Awareness” Events or Hikes
  • Commercial outdoor instruction/education

To start the permit process, please submit an Application for Special Park Use Permit by postal mail, or by e-mail to Processing of permit will not begin until application fee is received. Please note that 10 business days is the minimum amount of time required for processing permit applications.

For information regarding Filming and Still Photography permits, please visit the following link:

Payment Options

Permit fees and costs may be paid by electronic transaction or check.

To pay by credit card, submit the application, then email us at for a reference number. This number is required for all Appalachian Trail National Scenic Trail transactions in

To pay by check, submit payment with the application. Make checks payable to National Park Service.

All large events are required to have a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability insurance naming the United States of America as additionally insured. Please contact an Event Specialist for more details.

Application for Special Park Use Permit (please allow 2-4 weeks for permit processing)

Application for Commercial Filming & Still Photography Permit (please allow 2-4 weeks for permit processing)

Application for Transportation & Utility Systems on Federal Lands

Last updated: March 18, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Appalachian Trail Park Office
P.O. Box 50

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6278

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