Special Use Permits (SUP) are issued to ensure protection of resources and to prevent significant disruption of normal visitor uses. Allow sufficient time for evaluation by the park staff before the start date for your activity. Your request will be evaluated on the basis of the information in your application; therefore you are encouraged to attach maps or diagrams to assist park staff in evaluating your request.
A special park use is a short-term activity that takes place in a park area and:
- Provides a benefit to an individual, group or organization, rather than the public at large; and
- Requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the NPS in order to protect park resources and the public interest; and
- Is not prohibited by law or regulation; and
- Is not initiated, sponsored, nor conducted by the NPS.
Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics, large number of participants, or coordination with other visitor activities, will require additional days to process. All projects undergo environmental and/or cultural resource impact evaluation.
Permit activities may be restricted based on weather, emergency or seasonal conditions (fire danger, high river flows, nesting season, etc.).
A complete Special Use Permit Application, (PDF, revised 06/2017) including detailed responses and additional pages when necessary, improves the processing time. Helpful information includes:
- a complete Special Use Permit Application (PDF, revised 06/2017) including a detailed description of proposed event;
- a site diagram depicting location of event, staging areas, construction areas, and ingress and egress routes;
- a list of all personnel, equipment and materials;
- a proposed time frame for activities; and
- if applicable - contractor contact information.
In compliance with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, the applicant must submit their social security number or Federal tax ID number when filling out the application for a permit. Applications submitted without this information will not be processed.
The completed SUP application must be accompanied by an application fee. Application and management fees are non-refundable. Applications submitted without this fee will not be processed.
The park’s permit coordinator will review the application and supporting information. The applicant will be contacted should additional information or a meeting be necessary. At this time, management fees and bonding requirements will be determined.
All activities undergo environmental or cultural resource evaluation to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. A detailed description of the activities and best management practices informs and facilitates this process. Conditions will be established to prevent or minimize impacts to visitor experiences and park natural and cultural resources.
The park’s permit coordinator, chief park ranger, and superintendent will review the application to ensure that the requested activity does not conflict with any law, regulation or policy. Further, the requested activity must avoid visitor use conflicts and unacceptable impacts.
Fees, Insurance, and Bonding
The permittee is responsible for the following fees and insurance. The park’s permit coordinator will inform you if bonding is required.
- Administrative Fee - A non-refundable administrative fee of $175.00 is due with the application. Payment of this fee by credit card, check or money order payable to the National Park Service must be received with the SUP application.
- Management Fee - The permittee is responsible for all costs incurred by the park for permitting a special park use. The permittee is reimbursing the United States for those expenses it incurs resulting directly from the permitted activity. These expenses include but are not limited to: site preparation, monitoring, visitor and resource protection, traffic control, site cleaning, and refuse removal. The management fee varies and will be determined prior to the permit issuance.
In addition, all costs incurred for natural and/or cultural resources NEPA compliance must be borne by the applicant. Fees are based on actual costs per 54 USC §103104 following policy set forth in Director’s Order 53, Special Park Uses.
All fees are payable to the National Park Service.
- Liability Insurance -
The permittee is required to maintain liability insurance during the event. The amount of insurance shall be in an amount commensurate with the degree of risk and the scope and size of such activities authorized herein. Insurance shall be not less than $500,000 per person and $1,000,000 per incident for bodily injury and not less than $500,000 per occurrence for property damage. The policy shall be underwritten by a United States company naming the United States of America (National Park Service, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, 1978 Island Ford Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30350) as additional insured and the NPS shall be identified as a certificate holder. A copy of the certificate of insurance indicating that the required insurance is in effect must be received prior to issuance of the SUP.
- Performance Bond (if required) -
Performance bonds or deposits are the permittee's guarantee of compliance with permit conditions and reimbursement to the park for damage to resources and/or facilities as a result of the permittee's activities. An amount adequate to cover the cost of restoration, repair, rehabilitation and cleanup of the area may be required. Should resource damage beyond that envisioned by the original performance bond result from the permittee's use, the park may file suit against the permittee under the authority of 54 USC §100721-100725, System Unit Resource Protection Act. Any expenses exceeding the performance bond will be billed to the permittee. These expenses include but are not limited to: monitoring, site cleaning, refuse removal, and repair of damage to lands, waters or facilities. If no unexpected expenses are incurred the bond is returned. The guarantee must be by surety bond, certified check, cashier’s check, or money order payable to the National Park Service and received prior to issuance of the SUP.
- Once the application package has been reviewed and the environmental evaluation completed, the applicant will be notified of approval or denial.
- The certificate of insurance will be required at this time.
- A permit will then be prepared by the park’s permit coordinator. The permit will specify the activities, dates, location(s), and conditions under which the action is to be authorized. Any activities not specified in the permit are not allowed.
- The park’s permit coordinator will contact the permittee. The permit with conditions, management fee estimate, and other attachments will be sent as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file via email.
- The permittee shall sign and date the permit after reviewing it for accuracy. Management fees and the performance bond (if required) will be payable at the time the permit is signed.
- Management Fee - A credit card, check or money order payable to the National Park Service.
- Performance Bond (if required) - A surety bond, certified check, cashier’s check, or money order payable to the National Park Service.
- The permittee will be provided with a copy of the approved SUP and is required to keep a copy with attachments at the assigned area during the duration of the permit. Note: No activity on NPS property may begin until the permit has been signed with the management fee and performance bond fully paid and insurance is in effect.
Post Event Follow Up
- At the conclusion of the special park use, the assigned area will be inspected. All damages, unanticipated management expenses, or unbudgeted expenses will be billed to the permittee. Payment of this bill may be made by credit card, check or money order payable to the National Park Service.
- Once all outstanding bills have been paid, the performance bond shall be returned to the permittee and the project closed as complete.
Federal Law prohibits commercial activities within areas administered by the National Park Service (NPS) unless the business is operating under a Federal contract or permit. A permittee, while on park property, may not collect admission or any other money associated with an organization or SUP. All permittee monetary transactions must take place outside the park. A permittee may hire a caterer or bring food and beverages purchased outside the park that are prepared and consumed by people from your group. Food and beverages may not be provided to the general public.
Advertisement of commercial products is not allowed on NPS lands or waters. Commercial vehicles marked in a permanent manner, including magnetic markings, with company names or logos are not considered advertising so long as these vehicles are not left unattended. Advertisements relating to the permitted event, including event applications and Internet web pages, must be submitted to the park’s permit coordinator and approved prior to distribution or posting. No event related materials may be posted or distributed on NPS lands or waters except as specified in the SUP.
Sharing the Park
A SUP does not allow the permittee to restrict park visitors from a location unless the restriction is for public safety.
Activities having the potential to damage or significantly impact or alter park resources are prohibited. The following are also prohibited:
- Altering, damaging or removing vegetation.
- Vehicle use off established roads and parking areas.
- Use of insecticides, herbicides and pesticides.
- Loud noises (exceeding 60 decibels at 50 feet).
- Smoking in buildings.
- Damage to fragile vegetation areas.
- Writing on or discoloring any natural feature or manmade structure.
- Harassment of wildlife.
- Use of animals.
- Discharge of blank ammunition and all black powder weapons.
Termination of Permit
All SUPs issued by the NPS are "revocable" WITHOUT NOTICE if the terms of the permit are violated or as determined by the Superintendent for public safety. Deliberate infractions of the terms of the permit or the deliberate making of false or misleading statements concerning intended actions in order to obtain a permit are causes for immediate termination of the permit and cause for possible prosecution. Permits will be revoked if damage to resources or facilities is threatened, of if there is a clear danger to public health or safety.