Permits & Reservations


Special Park Uses

Certain types of activities require a special use permit. These include many types of special events, sporting events, wedding ceremonies, and other organized gatherings. 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. Application deadlines vary by activity, please see below. 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.

First Amendment Activities

Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulation. People may exercise these rights in national parks, but the National Park Service still retains its responsibility to protect park resources and prevent impacts to park visitors. A first amendment permit is not required for groups of 25 individuals, or less, conducting first amendment activities in the park’s designated first amendment areas. There are several different first amendment areas designated in the park; a map of available areas can be found in the Superintendent's Compendium.

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 visit our river restoration page.


Fees and Restrictions

Application Fee and Cost Recovery

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.
  • Events on trails will not be permitted from December 1 - June 1 due to trail conditions.

Location Restrictions

Events taking place on trails 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
  • 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: 30 days
  • 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

Wedding Permits

There are many beautiful settings for weddings in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For wedding ceremonies you must obtain a Special Use Permit. For more information contact the Permit Coordinator at 440-546-5991 or e-mail us. A permit is not required for wedding photos.

Commercial Filming

On August 23, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a decision reversing the order of the District Court. Price v. Garland 45 f.4th 1059 (D.C. Cir 2022). This decision became effective October 28, 2022, with the issuance of the Court of Appeals Mandate.

As a result, the statute and regulations that governed commercial filming before the Price decision are again in effect.

Those interested in commercial filming activities within Cuyahoga Valley National Park are encouraged to
email us directly for more information about filming and to discuss how to minimize potential impacts to visitors and sensitive park resources.

Still Photography

When is a permit needed?

Still photography requires 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. The park would incur additional administrative costs to provide on-site management and oversight to protect park resources and minimize visitor use conflicts.

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.

  • 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 Ryan Trimbath at 440-724-3877.

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: June 3, 2024

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15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, OH 44141


440 717-3890

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