All Special Use Permits (SUPs) and Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA) need to be submitted 45 days in advance of the scheduled event for processing.


Special Park Uses

The rugged beauty of the Badlands is a spectacular backdrop for filming, organized activities, or wedding ceremonies. A special park use is a short-term activity, like those mentioned, that occurs in a National Park Service area and:

  • 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 in order to protect park resources and the public interest
  • Is not prohibited by law or regulation
  • Is neither initiated, sponsored, nor conducted by the National Park Service

Special park uses, if approved, require the issuance of Special Use Permits and payment of permit fees before the activity can be held in the park. Special Use Permits must be acquired for commercial and independent filming, weddings, and commercial photography.

How To Apply

You may download a permit application online. There two types of permits, a short form and long form. The short form is used for small scale events, such as wedding photos. The long form permit should be submitted for larger events such as commercial filming.
The completed application must be submitted with $100.00. The $100.00 is a non-refundable application and administrative charge. This fee should be in the form of cash (though not by mail), certified check, or credit card information. Other administrative fees (see below) may also apply.

To apply for a Special Use Permit, print and complete the form listed above, attach any required fees, and mail it to the address specified on the form. For further information about obtaining a Special Use Permit or determining if your activity needs a permit, please contact the park at 605-433-5361 and ask for the Fee Program Manager.

Commercial Filming

Commercial filming and still photography in the park requires a special use permit. There are two types of permit applications, a long form and short form. Short forms are suitable for small scale events where the long form is required for large scale events.
Fee structures are listed below.

  • 1-2 people (camera and tripod only): $0/day
  • 1-10 people: $150/day
  • 11-30 people: $250/day
  • 31-49 people: $500/day
  • 50+ people: $750/day
  • 1-10 people: $50/day
  • 11-30 people: $150/day
  • 30+ people: $250/day


Commercial Use Authorizations

What is a CUA?

A commercial use authorization (CUA) allows an individual, group, company, or other for-profit entity to conduct commercial activities and provide specific visitor services within a national park unit. The National Park Service (NPS) issues CUAs to manage a wide-range of commercial visitor services in addition to road-based commercial tours.

Federal law mandates the NPS issue CUAs only for commercial activities and visitor services that:

  • are determined to be an appropriate use of the park,
  • will have minimal impact on park resources and values, and
  • are consistent with the park purpose, management plans, policies, and regulations.

Why does NPS require CUAs?

The requirement is in 36 CFR 5.3 - It is illegal to conduct business in a park area without a permit, contract, or other written agreement. Additionally, Public Law 105-391 Section 418, passed in 1998, provides NPS the authority to issue CUAs to allow business operations and requires NPS to collect a reasonable fee for CUA administration and management.

Do I need a CUA?

You may not conduct commercial activities in a park unit without a valid CUA!

A CUA is required if you provide any goods, activities, services, agreements, or other function for members, clients, or the public that:

  • take place at least in part on lands managed by the National Park Service,
  • use park resources, and
  • result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit.

How to Apply:

Download the application and follow the instructions on the form. Submit the completed application to the email or physical address on the form.

Last updated: May 18, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

25216 Ben Reifel Road
Interior, SD 57750


605 433-5361

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