Special Use Permits (SUP)

A Special Use Permit (SUP) is required for activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization, rather than the public at large, and that require some degree of management from the National Park Service in order to protect park resources and the public interest.

 

Activities That May Require a Special Use Permit

Visit our Filming and Photography page for information on film and photography permits. 

Weddings and ceremonies require a Special Use Permit in order to be conducted on Death Valley National Park land.  

Please read the information under “Before Applying” and “Applying for a Permit” below and follow the instructions for completing an application.  

Other information for weddings: 

  • Weddings are subject to monitoring fees, as described below, depending on group size.  

  • Group size may be restricted in requested locations for the protection of park resources and visitor experience.  

  • Breakfast Canyon, an area closed to the public, may be requested as a wedding location. Email the Office of Special Park Uses for pictures and information. 

  • Wedding photographers do not require a separate permit. Portrait photography (including wedding, engagement, high school senior, and family photos) does not require a SUP.  

Visit our First Amendment Activities page for more information on First Amendment permits. 

Please email the Office of Special Park Uses at DEVA_Permits@nps.gov for more information.  

Ash scattering requires a Special Use Permit in order to be conducted on Death Valley National Park land.

Please read the information under “Before Applying” and “Applying for a Permit” below and follow the instructions for completing an application.  

Other information for ash scattering: 

  • Ash scattering applicants are charged a $100 application fee (in lieu of the standard $300 application fee). 
  • Dantes View is the only approved location for ash scattering in Death Valley National Park.

Visit our Vehicle Testing page for more information on vehicle testing permits. 

Many special events require a Special Use Permit in order to be conducted on Death Valley National Park land. 

Please read the information under “Before Applying” and “Applying for a Permit” below and follow the instructions for completing an application. 

 

Before Applying

Due to the volume of permit requests received by Death Valley National Park, applications are handled in the order they are received. Priority will not be given to URGENT requests.

We require 30 days from your date of application to issue a permit – please plan accordingly! Bicycle and running events require 120 days.

See “How do I apply for a permit?” for contact information.

When conducting Special Use Activities in Death Valley with a permit, you are subject to all the laws and regulations that apply inside the park.

The following activities are not permitted:

Please read all regulations carefully as your permit application may be denied if it contains any of the activities below.

  • Use of drones or other unmanned aircraft.
  • Nudity in public areas.
  • Smoking inside buildings, on boardwalks, and in vegetated areas.
  • Loud noises (exceeding 60 decibels at 50 feet in distance).
  • Use of public address systems and sound amplification equipment unless otherwise specified in your permit.
  • Driving any vehicle (including motorcycles and bicycles) off designated paved or dirt roads.
  • Driving any off-road vehicle on a park road (including, but not limited to, OHV’s, ATV’s, dirt bikes, golf cards, Rhino or Polaris multiple passenger vehicles).
  • Operating a motor vehicle in a manner that causes unreasonable damage to the surface of a park road or route.
  • Operating a vehicle so slowly as to interfere with the normal flow of traffic is prohibited.
  • Stunt or high-speed driving.
  • Standing in a roadway as part of a film or photography shoot unless otherwise specified in your permit with approved traffic control.
  • Removing, moving, or obscuring park road signs, speed limit signs, or wayside signs.
  • Ground disturbance (including digging or driving posts and installing temporary signs or structures).
  • Attaching props, equipment, signs, or banners to NPS facilities, structures, rocks, or vegetation.
  • Contributing to erosion or otherwise unduly disturbing the ground or landscape, including running, walking, or other activity on fragile areas.
  • Walking on soft areas following a rain and leaving footprints or lasting damage (for example, on the Racetrack playa).
  • Collecting, moving, damaging, or otherwise disturbing any animal, plant, rock or any other natural, historical, or archeological resource.
  • Walking on, climbing, entering, ascending, descending, or traversing any archaeological or cultural resource (including all mine structures, features, and ruins).
  • Cutting or removal of branches or any vegetation.
  • Feeding, touching, harassing, frightening, hunting, trapping, or disturbing wildlife.
  • Viewing wildlife with artificial light (including infrared and black lights).
  • Introducing wildlife, fish or plants, including their reproductive bodies, into the park’s ecosystem.
  • Using a mineral or metal detector.
  • Releasing Mylar or helium balloons, doves, butterflies, flower petals, or other living objects.
  • Filming or photographing park employees unless otherwise specified in your permit.
  • Brandishing or discharging a firearm, real or prop, unless use of a firearm prop has been specifically authorized in your permit. 
  • Unduly interfering or conflicting with visitors’ normal use and enjoyment of the park, including blocking visitor access to an area.

You must also comply with the following:

  • Fire safety regulations and temporary closures resulting from fire conditions.
  • Speed limits and traffic laws.
  • Leave No Trace principles and ethics.
  • Regulations for pets in the park including leash requirements and location restrictions.
  • Park policies and principles related to ethical and responsible treatment of culturally sensitive sites and resources. 

Many permits require full-time or intermittent monitoring for the protection of resources and visitor experience. This will be determined by the Office of Special Park Uses based on your application.

If monitors are required, your permit will only be issued subject to availability of monitors on the dates and at the locations requested.

See below for fees associated with monitoring.

 

Applying for a Permit

  1. Download NPS Form 10-930 Application for Special Use Permit and fill out completely.
  2. Email DEVA_Permits@nps.gov the completed application at least 30 days in advance of your requested dates.  Bicycle and running events require 120 days.
  3. After the Office of Special Park Uses receives your application, we will send you information on paying the non-refundable application fee online, if applicable.
  4. After you pay your fee, a permit containing applicable terms and conditions will be sent you. The permit must be signed by the responsible person and returned to the park for final approval by the Park Superintendent. A fully executed permit containing both signatures is required before the permitted activity may begin.
  5. After your permitted activity, the Office of Special Park Uses will send information on paying the remaining costs, if applicable. See below for more information.

Please note:
If there is no contact from an applicant for 30 days after the application is submitted, the file will be closed. Any future contact with that applicant will require initiating the process from the beginning.

All costs of evaluating the request will be billed to the applicant, whether a permit is issued or not. 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 permit. Application will not be processed if submitted incomplete or are received without payment.

  1. Certificate of General Liability Insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 listing the United States of America as additional insured may be required. The insurance must be negotiable in US funds.
  2. For any activity along State Highway 190, a California Film Commission filming permit, Caltrans encroachment permit, and/or CHP (California Highway Patrol) officers for traffic control may be required.
  3. For any activity in or along a roadway, intermittent traffic control (ITC) must be provided by certified ITC staff. A park approved, professionally developed, traffic control plan must be on file with the Office of Special Park Uses prior to any activity.

The National Park Service will collect a cost recovery charge for most special use permits. See individual activities above for more information.

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 size and complexity of your permit.

Application fee: $300.00

The application fee must be submitted with your application. This is a processing fee and is non-refundable.

Hourly fee: approximately $50/hour

The exact hourly fee is based on the specific employee’s salary and may be charged if any of the following activities are required for your permit:

  • Monitoring: activities authorized by permit may require continuous, on-site supervision by the NPS to assure full compliance with all conditions of the permit. Monitoring will be charged at the billing rate of each individual monitor per hour/per monitor with a minimum of two hours per monitor/per day. The level and type of monitoring supervision will be determined by the scope and complexity of the filming activity. Generally, one monitor is required for every 8 people involved with the project.

  • Interviews: All interviews and filming or photographing of NPS staff members will be assessed at the specific employee’s hourly rate.

  • Scouting: If a permittee requests a scouting trip with or by the Special Park Uses Coordinator, staff time will be assessed.

  • Extended administrative time: Any activity that is particularly complex is subject to the hourly fee. This fee covers additional administrative time needed beyond the maximum two hours covered by the $300.00 application. This rate does not preclude any of the other fees and is applied per hour/per staff member.

Government Vehicle Mileage Fee: $0.55/mile

We currently charge $.55/mile on government vehicles used for monitoring and other activities associated with your permit.

Last updated: September 14, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 579
Death Valley , CA 92328

Phone:

760 786-3200

Contact Us

Stay Connected