Commercial Use Authorization
The National Park Service provides visitor services within the park that are necessary and appropriate for visitor use and enjoyment. A Commercial Use Authorization is needed for any entity that (1) provides an activity or service to the general public and (2) takes place at least in part in any park unit; and, results in compensation, monetary gain, benefit or profit to an individual entity, whether or not the individual or entity is recognized as non-profit under applicable laws.

More Information (requires Adobe PDF Reader):

How CUAs Work

CUA Authorized Activities

CUA Conditions

CUA Application Form

Special Use Permits

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. See the following definitions and examples to determine if your use might be included:

A special park use is defined as a short-term activity that takes place in a park area, and that:

1. provides a benefit to an individual, group or organization rather than the public at large;

2. requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the National Park Service (NPS) in order to protect park resources and the public interest;

3. is not prohibited by law or regulation;

4. is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the NPS; and is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease.

Examples include: weddings, other ceremonies, or public assemblies, etc. Examples of a First-Amendment Activity include: a church service, political event, or Freedom-of-Speech act.

For more information regarding Special Use Permits, or if you have any question as to whether or not one is required for your activity, please call (803) 776-4396, or email - with "Special Use Permits" as the subject.

Application for Special Use Permit (requires Adobe PDF Reader)

Photography and Filming Permits

Filming permits are required for any commercial filming or photography that occurs within Congaree National Park. For purposes of definition "filming" or "film making" is commercial motion picture photography or video taping. Documentaries, travelogues, feature stories and similar types of filming also require a permit.

More Information (requires Adobe PDF Reader):

General Filming and Photography Policies

Commercial Filming Application Form

Frequently Asked Questions: National Parks and Commercial Filming and Still Photography

Research Permits

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. When permits are required for scientific activities pertaining solely to cultural resources, including archeology, ethnography, history, cultural museum objects, cultural landscapes, and historic and prehistoric structures, other permit procedures apply. The park's Research Coordinator can provide information regarding permit procedures, or answer questions regarding current research at Congaree National Park. For a list of current research needs, please click here.

How to Apply for a Research Permit at Congaree National Park

The National Park Service manages an internet-based system called the Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS), which provides the following services if you are interested in obtaining permission to conduct a natural resource or social science study in a unit of the National Park System:

  • Ability to review NPS scientific permit requirements and application procedures
  • Ability to review permit conditions before beginning the permit application process
  • Ability to review previous research conducted in a park before planning a new study
  • Ability to review the types of research specific parks are interested in attracting
  • Ability to complete and submit an application for a scientific research and collecting permit

To access the NPS Research Permit and Reporting System and learn more about the NPS scientific permit application process, please visit the RPRS website.

Last updated: January 19, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

100 National Park Road
Hopkins, SC 29061


(803) 776-4396

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