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.
Permit Application Procedure
Requests for a permit application may be made in person at the Harkers Island Visitor Center or via telephone, email, or letter. The application form may be downloaded from the Special Use Permits webpage. Please allow minimum of two (2) business days for processing. Park contact information is:
Special Use Permits Phone: 252-728-2250 ext. 3020 Cape Lookout National Seashore FAX: 252-728-2160 131 Charles Street Website: www.nps.gov/calo Harkers Island, NC 28531 Email: e-mail us