Permits and Commercial Use Authorizations


Special Use Permits

National parks are great places to celebrate historic events and family milestones. The types of activities that take place in national parks are diverse, such as sporting events, pageants, celebrations, public spectator attractions, entertainment, ceremonies, historical reenactments, fairs, festivals, family reunions, and picnics.

Depending on the size and complexity of the planned event, the park may require you obtain a special use permit (SUP). If issued, the permit will include terms and conditions that protect park resources while allowing you to enjoy the park without interfering with other park visitors.

A special park use is defined as an 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 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 National Park Service (NPS); and
  • is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease;
  • is a short term activity.

The National Park Service may permit a special park use if the proposed activity will not:

  • cause injury, damage or impairments to park resources;
  • be contrary to the park’s purpose for which the park was established and the mission of the NPS;
  • unreasonably impair the atmosphere of peace and tranquility maintained in wilderness, natural, historic, or commemorative locations within the park; or
  • interfere with visitor use, access, and programs;
  • interfere with park management or administration;
  • interfere with concession operations or other public facilities;
  • present a clear and present danger to public health and safety.

Permit Inquiries

Unsure if your event will require a permit? Fill out our Permit Inquiries Form to help the park determine if an event requires a permit.

Permit Applications and FAQs

A living historian filling out a piece of paper.
Apply for a Special Use Permit

All the information and documents you need to apply for a permit at Fort McHenry.

A band and a group of visitors holding a big 15 star 15 stripe flag in the star fort parade ground.
Special Use Permit FAQs

Here is a link to a few answers for typical Special Use Permit questions.

Three members of the military standing with flags, and two sitting on horses.
Special Event Permit Activities

If you want more details on the events allowed at the park and the event restrictions, click here.


Commercial Filming & Still Photography

Lands of the United States were set aside by Congress, Executive Order, or otherwise acquired in order to conserve and protect areas of untold beauty and grandeur, historical importance, and uniqueness for future generations. The tradition of capturing images of these special places started with explorers who traveled with paint and canvas or primitive photo apparatus. It was the sharing of these images that led to the designation of these areas as national parks and monuments. Visitors to national parks today continue to memorialize their visits through videos and photographs.
A man with a camera filming a ranger with a flag.
Commercial Filming

Here is a link to information and answers to typical questions regarding commercial filming.

A visitor taking a picture of a ranger.
Still Photography

Here is a link to answers to typical questions regarding still photography.


Commercial Use Authorization

If you are a commercial tour business that is planning multiple visits to Fort McHenry, or have already had your first visit to the site, then a commerical use authorization is required. Any businesses looking to conduct business on National Park Service land must obtain a Commercial Use Authorization.
Food stands with visitors at the park.
Commercial Use Authorization

Link to all the information regarding Commercial Use Authorizations at Fort McHenry.

Last updated: May 19, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

2400 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230


410 962-4290 x250

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