First Amendment Activity

If you are planning a special event, holding a First Amendment activity, or developing a research study at Cape Lookout, the following information will be helpful in making your plans. All these activities require a Special Use Permit. Follow the guidelines outlined below to ensure that your permit is in place in time for your event.

 

Additional Special Use Permits

Below you will find information about other special use permits that are available at Cape Lookout National Seashore

Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. People may exercise these rights in national parks, but the National Park Service (NPS) still retains its responsibility to protect park resources and prevent conflict among park visitors. Therefore, the NPS establishes guidelines for setting the time, place, and manner (number of participants, use of facilities, and type of equipment) for the events to occur.

By law, the NPS has established places in parks where First Amendment activities can be accommodated. These areas are visible to the general visiting public without interfering with the public's enjoyment of the park.

Special Use Permits are issued for First Amendment activities, but there are no fees or costs and no insurance is required for the activities. All requests for similar activities are treated equally. As long as permit criteria and requirements are met, no group wishing to assemble lawfully will be discriminated against or denied the right of assembly.

Groups of 25 persons or less may exercise their First Amendment activities without first obtaining a permit. They are still required to use one of the park's First Amendment areas. Groups without permits will be allowed use of the First Amendment area on a first come first serve basis. A group with a valid permit will be permitted to displace a group without a permit.

Obtaining a First Amendment Permit
In order to obtian your first amendment pemit, you must first fill out an application. Download the application that is appropiate for your group size, fill out with your information, and email a copy to CALO_SUP@nps.gov.

Application for First Amendment Permit

After sending your application, you will be contacted within 7-10 business days to collect payment. Once we receive your payment, a permit will be emailed to you for a signature. 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. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.

Note: If you are unable to fill out application digitally, you may print application, complete, and scanned copy to CALO_SUP@nps.gov. If you are unable to submit the application digitally, call Harkers Island Visitor Center (252) 728-2250 to request an application to be mailed to you.


 

Types of First Amendment Activities

  • Religious services or ceremonies
  • Press conference
  • Press coverage of breaking news
  • Voter registration
  • Collecting signatures on petitions or voter initiatives
  • Public demonstration, picketing, assembly or rally for expressing opinion and views
  • Sale or distribution of printed material related to free expression of opinion

Type of Activities that are NOT covered by the First Amendment

  • Church picnic or social gathering
  • Wedding ceremonies or receptions
  • Political fundraiser or other invitation-only political activity or event
  • Solicitation of donations
  • Community parades, athletics, or sporting events
  • Scattering of cremated human remains ("cremains")

Many non-First Amendment activities can be accommodated through the Special Use Permit system for which a fee may be charged. Liability insurance may be required. Refer to the Permits webpage for additional information.

If you are interested in a holding a special assembly at Cape Lookout National Seashore, the following information will be helpful in making your plans. A Special Use Permit is required to hold an event anywhere within Cape Lookout National Seashore. Until a Special Use Permit is approved and issued, the requested date and location cannot be guaranteed (permits do not guarantee exclusive use of the area). Follow the guidelines outlined below to ensure that your permit is in place in time for your special occasion.

Obtaining a Wedding Permit
In order to obtain an event permit, you must first fill out an application. Download the application that is appropriate for your group size, fill out with your information, and email a copy to CALO_SUP@nps.gov.

Application for 49 or Less Attendees at Event Permit
Application for 50 or More Attendees at Event Permit

After sending your application, you will be contacted within 7-10 business days to collect payment. Once we receive your payment, a permit will be emailed to you for a signature. 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. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.

Note: If you are unable to fill out application digitally, you may print application, complete, and scanned copy to CALO_SUP@nps.gov. If you are unable to submit the application digitally, call Harkers Island Visitor Center (252) 728-2250 to request an application to be mailed to you.

Location
Please indicate the specific location on the application. The Special Use Permit does not allow your ceremony to restrict other park visitors from your chosen location nor does it guarantee you a specific site.The following areas are restricted for camping (are generally not available for camping):

Cost Recovery
The authority for the National Park Service to recover and retain costs associated with managing special park uses is found at 16 U.S.C. 3a, 16 U.S.C. 460l-6d, and 31 U.S.C. 9701. 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.

For events with 49 people or less, there is a $50 application fee. Applicants also must pay an administrative fee of $50, totaling to $100. For events with 50 people or more, there is a $50 application fee and a $100 administrative fee, equaling to $150.

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.

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.

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: January 3, 2023

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Harkers Island , NC 28531

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