Certain types of activities require a special use permit. These include many types of organized gatherings, distribution of printed material and other public expressions of opinion, and other activities that are controlled or prohibited.
Some common activities that require a permit include:
- Commercial Photography
- First Amendment Activities
Please review the information in the documents listed below for guidance on planning your special event or use. Please contact the park's Special Use Permit Coordinator at 828-693-4178 or by email to discuss your event.
Weddings and Special Events
(word) - Please read this before you fill out a form to request a wedding permit.
(.pdf) (example: Weddings, first amendment demonstrations, facility use, special events, etc...)
When is a permit needed?
Still photographers require a permit only when:
the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
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
a park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.
- short form (.pdf) (one-day or simple events)
- long form (.pdf) (multi-day or complex events)
What fees will I have to pay?
The National Park Service will collect a cost recovery charge and a location fee for still photography permits. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in processing your request and monitoring your permit. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of your permit. The application fee must be submitted with your application.
In addition, the National Park Service has been directed by Congress to collect a fee to provide a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands. The National Park Service uses the following still photography fee schedule:
Are there other permit requirements?
You may be required to obtain liability insurance naming the United States as additionally insured in an amount commensurate with the risk posed to park resources by your proposed activity. You may also be asked to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.
What about photography workshops?
If you are planning a photography workshop, you may need a commercial use authorization. See the commercial use authorization page for more information.
Changes to Commercial Filming Permits on Park Land
On January 22, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Price v. Barr determining the permit and fee requirements applying to commercial filming under 54 USC 100905, 43 CFR Part 5, and 36 CFR Part 5.5 are unconstitutional. The National Park Service has issued interim guidance as of February 22, 2021, to manage filming activities. Under the interim guidance, filming activities may require a permit if they pose a threat to park resources or the visitor experience. The National Park Service intends to update regulations addressing filming activities that are consistent with the outcome of Price v. Barr. Once effective, those regulations will replace and supersede the interim guidance.
As regulations regarding commercial filming permits are being reassessed, those interested in commercial filming activities on land managed by the National Park Service are encouraged to contact the park directly for more information about filming in the park and to discuss how to minimize potential impacts to visitors and sensitive park resources.
Do I need a permit to film?
Under the interim guidance, the National Park Service is not distinguishing between types of filming, such as commercial, non-commercial, or news gathering. Low-impact filming activities will not require a special use permit, but non-low-impact filming may require a permit to consider its potential impacts on park resources and visitor activities.
“Low-impact filming" is defined as outdoor filming activities in areas open to the public, except areas managed as wilderness, involving five people or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras. Those participating in low-impact filming activities do not need a permit and are not required to contact the park in advance. Anyone conducting low-impact filming and have questions about areas where you want to film, please contact the park directly at (802) 457-3368 x222.
All applicable laws and regulations governing activities and public use in parks still apply, including park hours and areas open and closed to the public. Videographers, filmers, producers, directors, news and other staff associated with filming are reminded that rules and regulations that apply to all park visitors still apply to filming activities even if no permit is needed for their activity. Check with the park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.
Filming activities that do not meet the description of low-impact filming requires at least ten days advance notice to the National Park Service by contacting the park directly in writing. The park superintendent will determine whether the filming activity requires a special use permit based on the information provided.
A permit may be required to:
maintain public health and safety;
protect environmental or scenic values;
protect natural or cultural resources;
allow for equitable allocation or use of facilities; or
avoid conflict among visitor use activities.
Some requests that may require permits:
Entering a sensitive resource area, filming in areas that require tickets to enter, or filming in visitor centers, campgrounds, or other visitor areas. The decision to require a permit rests with the park superintendent, with a determination based on the threat to park resources, values, or the visitor experience.
Please contact the park directly, prior to filming, at s if you are unsure whether or not a filming activity is considered low-impact or will require a permit.
Are filmers still required to pay fees to film in parks?
As of January 22, 2021, and under the interim guidance the National Park Service is not collecting application or location fees, or cost recovery for filming activities.