Permits & Reservations

Changes Due to COVID-19

Special Use Permits are being evaluated on a case by case basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A COVID-19 Preparedness Plan may be required for some permits. The Ledges and Octagon Shelters are open to new reservations as of June 1, 2021. For more information please e-mail us.

Special Park Uses

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 information below.

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

    • Provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large;

    • 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;

    • Is not prohibited by law or regulation;

    • 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.

  • Read all conditions, guidelines and restrictions.

  • Fill out and return permit application. Applications must be received at least 30 days in advance in order to be considered. Download the application for non commercial filming/photograpy related events.

  • Your permit will be created and returned for your signature.

  • When received with your signature, your permit will be approved and returned to you.

  • For more information and forms contact the Permit Coordinator at 440-546-5991 or e-mail us.

Image of permit closure map with mark up of Towpath Trail detour. Google map image of area around the center of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Red areas indicate holds on permits.

Google maps.

Temporary Hold on Special Use Permits on Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Station Road Bridge to Lock 29

Due to the number of large-scale restoration projects beginning in 2019, the park will not be issuing Special Use Permits for events utilizing the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail between Station Road Bridge and Lock 29. This also includes the entire vicinity of Station Road Bridge and Boston. For additional information about these projects please visit


Important Changes to Special Park Uses Program in 2019

Application and Cost Recovery Charges

The following are examples of charges you may incur as a part of the permitting process.

  • Application fee, nonfefundable: $75
  • Monitoring fees: $25 - $60 per hour depending on complexity of event and staffing levels (2 hour minimum).
  • Use of utilities (electricity): $50
  • Administrative fees: $75 and up, depending on the complexity of event.

Date Restrictions

Permits will not be issued on the following dates:

  • Only one permit per location per day will be approved.
  • Memorial Day weekend (Friday - Monday)
  • Labor Day Weekend (Friday - Monday)
  • Independence Day and associated weekends.
  • No events will be permitted at Brandywine Falls or on the Brandywine Gorge Trail on weekends, holidays, or during the month of October.

Location Restrictions

Organized running events and other large groups requesting trail use will only be permitted on the following trails:

  • Salt Run
  • Lake
  • Cross Country
  • Oak Hill
  • Plateau
  • Towpath Trail (depending on size of the event and time the event takes place)
  • Buckeye Trail

No permits will be issued at the following locations:

  • Blue Hen Falls
  • Old Carriage Trail
  • Cuyahoga River
  • East Rim Trails

No events will be permitted at Brandywine Falls or on the Brandywine Gorge Trail on weekends, holidays, or during the month of October.

All other locations will be limited based on availability, season, or size of the event. Please contact Permit Coordinator Kathleen Smoot at 440-546-5991 for additional information or
e-mail us.

Application Deadlines

  • Wedding ceremonies and photos: 30 days
  • Commercial Filming and Still Photography: 30-90 days depending on complexity of project.
  • Organized sporting events: 90 days
  • Other special events: 90 days
  • Proposals for new events: 6 months

Weddings and Wedding Photography Permits

We offer a variety of lovely settings for weddings. For weddings or wedding photos you must obtain a Special Use Permit. For more information contact the Permit Coordinator at 440-546-5991 or e-mail us.

Changes to Commercial Filming 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 are unconstitutional. The National Park Service is currently determining how this decision will be implemented.

Following the recent court decision, the National Park Service will not be implementing or enforcing the commercial filming portions of 43 CFR Part 5 until further notice, including accepting applications, issuing permits, enforcing the terms and conditions of permits, issuing citations related to permits, or collecting cost recovery and location fees for commercial filming activities.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 activities may require a permit to address their potential impacts on park resources and visitor activities. If you are unsure whether your project requires a permit or not, please contact the Permit Coordiantor at 440-546-5991 or e-mail us.

Still Photography

When is a permit needed?
Price v. Barr had no impact on how the National Park Service regulates still photography, so there are no changes in how the National Park Service regulates that activity. Still photographers require a permit only when:

  1. the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or

  2. 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

  3. a park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.

For more information please contact the Permit Coordinator at 440-546-5991 or e-mail us.

Research and Collection Permits

  • If you are planning a university project and considering doing research in CVNP, please visit the NPS Research Permit and Reporting System website.

  • Important requirements for research and reporting permits at CVNP.

  • If you are looking for possible Ph.D. or Master's degrees research projects in CVNP, we can provide you with a catalog of research project suggestions.

  • For more information contact Lisa Petit at 440-546-5970.

Commercial Use Authorizations

  • Commercial Use Authorizations authorize a private person, corporation, or other entity to provide commercial services in the National Park. Approval from the Superintendent through a Commercial Use Authorization is required before any commercial operations can begin in the park.

  • At this time commercial use for the Cuyahoga River is not authorized.

  • For more information contact the Permit Coordinator at 440-546-5991 or e-mail us.


Reservable Facilities

  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park has several facilities available for public rentals that can accommodate a variety of activities. For reservations contact the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park at (330) 657-2909 ext. 130. For more information visit the facilities web page.

Reservable Picnic Shelters


Last updated: October 18, 2021

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Mailing Address:

15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, OH 44141


(440) 717-3890

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