The Special Use Permit (SUP) program authorizes activities that provide benefit to an individual, group or organization, rather than the public at large, and that require written authorization and some management control in order to protect park resources and the public interest. Examples include parking, special events, commercial filming/still photography, weddings, scattering of ashes, group camping, First Amendment activities, and constructing a temporary Duck Blind.

Businesses seeking to operate commercial visitor services within the park should refer to the Doing Business with the Park webpage.

Special Use Permits are granted for specific periods of time and specific locations. Certain cost recovery, fees, and insurance requirements may apply.

All though some permits, such as parking, can be completed quickly, most permits need time to be evaluated, processed, completed, and signed by both parties. Allow at least two weeks (10 business days) for processing. Requests which involve multiple locations, complex logistics or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum of 15 working days to process. Projects which require environmental or cultural resource evaluation must be submitted not less than 30 days before the start of proposed activities.

Some of the information below is organized in tables. This part of the website is best accessed by computer rather than mobile device.

NOTE: Purchasing a permit, of any kind, in person or via telephone will only be available from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday excluding federal holidays. (Calling ahead for an in person purchase is advisable.)

Application Forms | Cost Recovery and Fees | Application Procedure


Instructions for ORV Beach Driving Permit and decal are on their own page

Special Use Permit (SUP) Applications and Forms

Special Use Permit Application (Form 10-930) (pdf, 690 Kb)

Long-Term Parking Permit

Application for Long-Term Parking Permit (Form 10-933) (pdf, 673 Kb)

Commercial Filming/Still Photography Permit Application (Form 10-932) (pdf, 232 Kb)

Duck Blind Permit Application (2021 season) (pdf, 743 Kb)
Instructions on how to sign up for the Duck Blind Lottery and the Lottery itself are on the Temporary Duck Blinds page


Special Park Use Cost Recovery and Fees

The authority for the National Park Service to recover and retain costs associated with managing special park uses is found at 54 U.S.C. § 103104 and 54 U.S.C.§ 100905. Charges established for a Special Park Use under this authority are intended to recover costs associated with managing that activity and not to generate revenue beyond actual cost.

Special Use Permit for: Application Fee Administrative Fee Total
Event/Service with 49 persons or less $50 $50 $100
Event/Service with 50 persons or more $50 $100 $150
Camping with 24 persons or less No Permit Required
Camping with 25 to 49 persons $50 No Fee $50
Camping with 50 or more persons $50 $50 $100
Commercial Film/Still Photography* $100 $100 $200
First Amendment No Fee No Fee No Fee
Recurring Permits
(Example: Annual Fishing Tournaments*)
No Fee $50* $50*
Long-Term Parking $0 $15 per week $15 per week
Off-Season Lighthouse Climbs $50 No Fee $50

* Other fees may apply

Special Use Permit for: First Blind Second Blind Total
Duck Blind $50 $25 $50-$75
NOTE: A lottery for the first day of duck blind sign-ups is held through -- fee for the lottery is $10

Application Cost: Must be submitted at the time of the initial application. This is a non-refundable payment.

Administration Cost: Payable when the permit is approved and prior to beginning the event. This is a non-refundable payment.

Monitoring Cost: If the event requires NPS supervision for resource protection or the health or safety of visitors, the cost* will be estimated and payable when the permit is approved and prior to beginning the event. The scope and complexity of the permit activity will determine the level and type of supervision. The fee includes employee travel time to and from the event location.

*Generally a $50.00 per hour per monitor charge is the rate for monitoring.

When is a photography 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.
Commercial Film/Still Photography Location Fee: Required by Public Law 106-206 payable when the permit is approved and prior to beginning filming.
Commercial Filming/Video Fees Still Photography Fees
1 to 2 people with camera and tripod only $0 per day
1 to 10 people $150 per day 1 to 10 people $50 per day
11 to 30 people $250 per day 11 to 30 people $150 per day
31 to 49 people $500 per day 31 or more people $250 per day
50 or more people $750 per day

Federal procedures (31 USC 7701) requires your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number on the back of all checks accepted for deposit. You must supply your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number in order for your check to be accepted and your application to be processed.


Permit Application Procedure

Requests for a permit application may be made in person at park headquarters, via telephone, email or letter. The application form may be downloaded from the park website. A completed application and the non-refundable application fee are required before an application can be processed.

For information on any Special Use Permit or to submit an application, contact the park.

Special Use Permits
Cape Lookout National Seashore
131 Charles Street
Harkers Island, NC 28531

Phone: 252-728-2250
FAX: 252-728-2160

NOTE: Purchasing a permit, of any kind, in person or via telephone will only be available from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday excluding federal holidays. (Calling ahead for an in person purchase is advisable.)


Special Use Permit (SUP) Information Links

Learn more about the general conditions for each of these common types of SUP. Note: these are guidelines only; the conditions may vary for your event.

Camping (Groups of 25 and Larger)

Commercial Filming/Still Photography Information

Cremains (Scattering of Human Ashes) Information

Duck Blind Information

First Amendment Activity Information

Long-Term Parking Information

Wedding Information


Long-Term Parking

Permit applications for the 2022 season can be submitted on or after Tuesday, February 16. North and South Core Banks will open to vehicles from March 12, 2022 to December 31, 2022. Learn more on the Long-Term Parking Information page.

For the 2022 season --
Permits for South Core Banks long-term parking areas -- Great Island Cabin Camp and the Lighthouse area -- may be obtained at the Great Island Cabin Camp Office on the island. Required paperwork to obtain the permit: Be sure to bring with you your current, valid Driver's License, Insurance Card & Vehicle Registration; the permit application form is available at the camp office. Payment can be made with a charge card in person at the Cabin Office.

If you would like to obtain the permit in advance of your trip -- see the instructions below for email requests through

Permits for North Core Banks (Portsmouth Island) long-term parking area -- are only available by email through Payment can be made with a charge card over the phone.

Email requests for Permits -- permits may be obtained in advance of your trip by sending an email to:
The email should contain the information listed below for each vehicle.

  • Owner's name and contact information -- email, phone number and physical address (so we can mail the permit to you)
  • Copies of your driver's license, insurance card & vehicle registration for each vehicle or trailer can be attached to the email or sent seperately by fax.

For all vehicles:
Where will you be parking the vehicle(s) when they are not in use? Choose only one long-term parking area:

  • Great Island Cabin Area (Great Island) on South Core Banks
  • Cape Lookout Lighthouse Area (Cape Lookout) on South Core Banks
  • Former Long Point Cabin Area (Long Point) on North Core Banks

For vehicles (jeeps/pickups/SUVs, etc.) and camping trailers

Vehicle tag and state:

Make, Model, Color of vehicle

For ATV/UTVs towed or carried onto the island

Towing (or carrying) vehicle tag and state:

Make, Model, Color of ATV/UTV:


For ATV/UTVs ridden onto the island

Make, Model, Color of ATV/UTV:

If the link is active, download the long-term parking permit and permit application (both must submitted when applying for a permit) from the Applications section above.


Duck Blinds

The Duck Blind lottery for the 2021-2022 season will be held on ($10 non-refundable registration fee will be charged): The Duck Blind Lottery is a two-step process.
Step 1 is to register for the lottery on Applicants can create their account on prior to the lottery date. (Note: the lottery site will not go 'live' until Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 10 am.).
Step 2 is the selection of a duck blind location(s) at the Harkers Island Visitor Center during a scheduled appointment time awarded through the lottery. On Thursday, August 12, the lottery will go 'live' at 10 am.

During the Lottery, Applicants will be randomly assigned an appointment time on one of two days: Monday, August 23 or Tuesday, August 24, 2021 to select your duck blind location(s). After the lottery is complete, the remaining duck blind spaces will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Learn more on the Temporary Duck Blind Information page.

Download the temporary duck blind permit application from the Applications section above.


Non-Profit Organizations

When engaging in activities on park area lands, a non-profit organization is required to obtain a Special Use Permit or other appropriate authorization as may otherwise be required by National Park Service policies and regulations. Certain cost recovery, fees and insurance requirements may apply.

A non-profit organization is an organization that has been determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be exempt from Federal income taxation as a nonprofit or not-for-profit organization under the terms of the Internal Revenue Code.


Scientific Research & Collections

A Scientific Research and Collecting Permit is required for most scientific activities pertaining to natural resources or social science studies in National Park System areas that involve fieldwork, specimen collection, and/or have the potential to disturb resources or visitors.

Last updated: November 3, 2022

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131 Charles St
Harkers Island , NC 28531


252 728-2250

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