Laws & Policies

Federal Laws
Laws are created by Congress and establish the highest order of legal authority over national parks.

  • Many laws, including the 1916 Organic Act that created the National Park Service, affect all areas managed by the National Park Service.

NPS Policies
Service-wide policy for the National Park Service is developed by the Office of Policy with public input and in accordance with applicable laws. Policies dictate many of the overall directions and procedures used by all parks. More...

Park Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations 36 CFR parts 1-199 and the Park Compendium provide a complete listing of park rules and regulations. These most specific rules are developed with public input to implement applicable law.

Assimilated Laws
As Fort Raleigh National Historic Site manages under concurrent jurisdiction, State of North Carolina statues are assimilated.

Firearms Regulations: As of February 22, 2010, a new federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws to legally possess firearms in this park.

It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws before entering this park.

2020 Superintendent's Compendium
Approved by David Hallac, Superintendent, on May 19, 2020


1. Superintendent’s Compendium Described

The Superintendent’s Compendium is the summary of park specific rules implemented under 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR). It serves as public notice, identifies areas closed for public use, provides a list of activities requiring either a special use permit or reservation, and elaborates on public use and resource protection regulations pertaining specifically to the administration of the park. The Superintendent’s Compendium does not repeat regulations found in 36 CFR and other United States Code and CFR Titles, which are enforced without further elaboration at the park level.

The regulations contained in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, are the basic mechanism used by the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the park and to protect visitors and property within the park. Parts 1 through 6 are general regulations applicable to all areas of the National Park system, and Part 7 contains special regulations specific to individual parks. Each of these Parts has many sections and subsections articulating specific provisions. Within some of these Part 1-7 sections and subsections, the Superintendent is granted discretionary authority to develop local rules to be responsive to the needs of a specific park resource or activity, park plan, program, and/or special needs of the general public.

As an example, 36 CFR 1.5(a) Closures and Public Use Limits provides the Superintendent certain discretion in allowing or disallowing certain activities. The authority granted by the Section, however, requires the Superintendent to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act (6 USC Section 551), which requires public notice on actions with major impact on visitor use patterns, park resources or those that are highly controversial in nature.

Another example is 36 CFR 1.6 Permits, which allows the Superintendent to require a permit for certain uses and activities in the park. This Section, however, requires that a list of activities needing a permit (and a fee schedule for the various types of permits) be maintained by the park.

A final example is 36 CFR 2.1(c) (1) Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archeological Resources, which provides the Superintendent the authority to designate certain fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells which may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption. This activity can occur, however, only if a written determination shows that the allowed activity does not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

This Compendium should be used in conjunction with Title 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, to more fully understand the regulations governing the use and enjoyment of all the areas of the national Park System.

A copy of Title 36, CFR, can be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office at:

Superintendent of Documents
P.O. Box 371954
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954

The CFR is also available on the Internet at:


2. Laws and Policies Allowing the Superintendent to Develop This Compendium
The Secretary, acting through the Director of the National Park Service, shall promote and regulate the use of the National Park System by means and measures that conform to the fundamental purpose of the System units, which purpose is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in the System units and to provide for the enjoyment of the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations (54 U.S.C. §100101(a)).

In 1970, Congress declared:

(A) the National Park System, which began with establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, has since grown to include superlative natural, historic, and recreation areas in every major region of the United States and its territories and possessions;
(B) these areas, though distinct in character, are united through their interrelated purposes and resources into one National Park System as cumulative expressions of a single national heritage;
(C) individually and collectively, these areas derive increased national dignity and recognition of their superb environmental quality through their inclusion jointly with each other in one System preserved and managed for the benefit and inspiration of all the people of the United States; and
(D) it is the purpose of this division to include all these areas in the System and to clarify the authorities applicable to the System (54 U.S.C. §100101(b)).

54 U.S.C. §100102(2) defines the National Park System as "…any areas of land and water administered by the Secretary , acting through the Director, for park, monument, historic, parkway, recreational, or other purposes."

In addition to the above statutory authority, the Superintendent is guided by established NPS policy as found in the NPS Management Policies (2006). The Superintendent is also guided by more specific policies promulgated by the Director, National Park Service, in the form of Director’s Orders.

As stated in the NPS Management Policies, the primary responsibility of the NPS is to protect and preserve our national natural and cultural resources while providing for the enjoyment of these resources by visitor and other users, as long as use does not impair specific park resources or overall visitor experience.

The appropriateness of any particular visitor use or recreational experience is resource-based and will vary from park to park; therefore, a use or activity that is appropriate in one park area may not be appropriate in another.

The Superintendent is directed to analyze overall park use and determine if any particular use is appropriate. Where conflict arises between use and resource protection, where the Superintendent has a reasonable basis to believe a resource is or would become impaired, then that Superintendent is obliged to place limitations on public use.

3. Consistency of This Compendium with Applicable Federal Law and Requirements
The Superintendent’s Compendium is not considered a significant rule requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. In addition, this Compendium will not have a significant economic effect on a number of small entities nor impose a significant cost on any local, state or tribal government or private organization, and therefore does not fall under the requirements of either the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

The actions and requirements described in this Compendium are found to be categorically excluded from further compliance with the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in Department of the Interior (DOI) Guidelines 516 DM 6 and as such, an Environmental Assessment will not be prepared.

4. Development of the Requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium
As outlined above, the NPS has broad authority and responsibility to determine what types of uses and activities are appropriate in any particular National Park System area. The requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium are developed through an analysis and determination process. The decision criteria used during this process are:

  • Is the use or activity consistent with the NPS Organic Act and NPS policy?
  • Is the use or activity consistent and compatible with the park’s enabling legislation, management objectives, and corresponding management plans?
  • Will the use or activity damage the park’s protected natural and cultural resources and other protected values?
  • Will the use or activity disturb or be in conflict with wildlife, vegetation, and environmental protection actions and values?
  • Will the use or activity conflict with or be incompatible with traditional park uses and activities?
  • Will the use or activity compromise employee or public safety?

5. Applicability of the Compendium
The rules contained in this Compendium apply to all persons entering, using, visiting or otherwise present on federally owned lands, including submerged lands, and waters administered by the NPS within the legislative boundaries of the park. This includes all waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including all navigable waters.

6. Enforcement of Compendium Requirements
NPS Law Enforcement Park Rangers enforce the requirements of the United State Code, 36 CFR, and this Superintendent’s Compendium.

7. Penalties for Not Adhering to the Compendium Requirements
A person who violates any provision of the regulations found in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, or provisions of this Compendium, is subject to a fine as provided by law (18 U.S.C. 3571) up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months (18 U.S.C. 3559), or both, and shall be adjudged to pay all court costs associated with any court proceedings. You may receive a list of fines associated with any particular provision by contacting the Chief Ranger at the park address found below.

8. Comments on the Compendium
The Compendium is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The park welcomes comments about its program and activities at any time.

Written comments on the Compendium may be submitted to:

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
1401 National Park Road
Manteo, NC 27954

9. Effective Date of the Superintendent’s Compendium
The Superintendent’s Compendium is effective on the approval date listed on the first page of this document, and remains in effect until revised.

10. Additional Information
Some of the terms used in this Compendium may have specific meaning defined in 36 CFR 1.4 Definitions.

11. Availability
Copies of the Compendium are available at Park Headquarters located at: 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.

Under the authority of Title 54 USC Section 100751(a), and Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, a Superintendent's Compendium is established for Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Regulations listed in this compendium are requirements in addition to those listed in the specific section found in Title 36 unless otherwise noted. The specific authority for this regulatory procedure is found in § 1.5, 1.6, and 1.7 of Title 36. Written determinations, which explain the reasoning behind the Superintendent’s use of discretionary authority, as required by Section 36 CFR 1.5 (c), appear in this document identified as “justification.”
(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:
Sidewalks and Foot Trails
Except as authorized by the Superintendent, automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, or other vehicles shall not be operated on the sidewalks or foot trails within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.
(Justification: The level terrain and relatively wide stabilized paths within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site invites use of private vehicles in areas heavily utilized by pedestrians. In addition to safety hazards, such use detracts from the historic scene, and has resulted in damage to foot trail lighting and other structures. Restricting this use to that traffic essential for the maintenance and operation of the facilities increases visitor safety and prevents damage to facilities.)
Unmanned Aircraft
Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Fort Raleigh National Historical Site is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.
Definition: The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g. model airplanes, quadcopters, drones, model rockets) that are used for any purpose, including recreation or commerce.
(Justification: Visitor safety is seriously compromised if unmanned aircraft are launched from or operated over park grounds. Unmanned aircraft use would be incompatible with the quiet contemplation of the area where the first attempt at English Colonization of the New World took place or with the production of The Lost Colony outdoor drama.)
Remote controlled ground devices
Remote controlled ground devices (remote controlled cars) are authorized in the Lost Colony parking lot during the off season (after Labor Day to the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend) except when an event is being conducted.
(Justification: The regular use of the parking lot during the busy summer season is not conducive to such activity. The operation of remote-controlled model cars would pose a safety risk to visitors using the parking lots as well as put the RC ground device in jeopardy of being struck.)

(a)(2) The superintendent may designate areas for a specific use or activity, or impose conditions or restrictions on a use or activity.


The term "e-Bike" means a two - or three wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.).

E- Bikes are allowed in Fort Raleigh National Historic Site where traditional bicycles are allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bikes are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.

Any person operating an e-bike is subject to the following sections of 36 CFR part 4that apply to the use of traditional bicycles: sections 4.12, 4.13, 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23, and
4.30(h) (2)-(5).

Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is governed by State law, which is adopted and made a part of this Compendium. Any violation of State law adopted by this paragraph is prohibited.

(Justification: E-bikes will be treated the same as a traditional bicycle and are subject to the constraints and locations allowed for traditional bicycle use.)
(f) The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the superintendent is required. A permit may be requested by contacting Park Headquarters at 252-475-9034.
- Non-commercial soliciting (Section 2.37)
- Special Events (Section 2.50) - Public Assemblies/meetings (Section 2.51)
- Primary and Secondary First Amendment areas are identified in attached maps.
- Sale/distribution of printed matter (Section 2.52)
- Business operations (Section 5.3)
- Commercial photography (Section 5.5)
(c)(1), (c)(2) The following fruits, nuts, berries, or unoccupied seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions:
Edible fruits of wild grape, persimmon, blackberry, huckleberry, blueberry, mulberry, service berry, and prickly pear cactus may be gathered. The above listed items have a one gallon, per person, per day limitation on quantity.
(Justification: Those natural items enumerated are not endangered or rare, and are present in such quantities that the gathering or consumption thereof will not adversely affect park wildlife, reproductive potential of the species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources. Shells may not be collected due to the potential that they may have been used as artifacts from earlier times.)
(e) All areas within the park are closed to viewing wildlife with any type of artificial light.
(Justification: Prohibiting the use of artificial lights minimizes the potential for the illegal taking of wildlife and disorienting nesting turtles during night periods.)
(h) Notwithstanding any other provision in this Chapter, a person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable firearms within a national park area in accordance with the laws of the state in which the national park area, or that portion thereof, is located, except as otherwise prohibited by applicable Federal law.
  • Pursuant to 18 USC § 930, federal law prohibits firearms in certain government facilities. These facilities are marked with signs at public entrances.
  • Pursuant to 54 USC§ 1049906, park visitors may carry firearms in the park if they otherwise are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws.
  • Federal facilities are defined as: a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.
36 CFR §2.13 – FIRES
(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas and/or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:
Grills, camping stoves, or other self-contained units are allowed for cooking fires in the Fort Raleigh picnic area and in the Waterside Theater parking lot. Only gas (propane, butane, and white), charcoal, and wood chips are allowed as fuel in grills and other self-contained units.
Fully extinguished, cold to the touch, coals and ash may be placed in bags and disposed in the trash containers that are provided. Coals and ash may not be emptied onto the ground.
(Justification: Numerous visitors utilizing the park or attending the Lost Colony production have requested the ability to cook or grill food in the Fort Raleigh picnic area or Waterside Theater parking lot as part to their experience in the park.
Charcoal or gas cooking fires, in self contained units, present little hazard but can significantly enhance the visitor experience to the park.)
36 CFR §2.15 – PETS
*****Service animals are not subject to the park's pet policies and, when accompanying an individual with a disability, they are allowed wherever visitors are allowed. A service animal means any dog or miniature horse that is individually training to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability.*****
(a)(5) Failing to comply with pet excrement disposal conditions which may be established by the Superintendent.
Pet excrement must be picked up and disposed of in the provided trash containers in all areas of the park.
(e) Pets may be kept by residents of park areas consistent with the provisions of this section and in accordance with conditions which may be established by the superintendent. Violation of these conditions is prohibited.
Permanent park residents who are living in shared housing may keep pets in accordance with 36 CFR 2.15 and the Park’s approved Housing Management Plan.
  • Refer to Housing Management Plan
(Justification: Compendium item 2.15(e) allows permanent park residents the same opportunities to keep pets, as they would if they lived outside of the park boundary. Pets are to be confined or restrained at all times due to their potential negative impact on park resources, neighbors, and park employees. Removal of pet excrement is necessary due to health and sanitation.)
(b) The use of horses or pack animals outside of trails, routes or areas designated for their use.
Horseback riding is authorized along the shoulder of paved roads open to motor vehicles and the Freedom Trail. All other areas are prohibited.
(Justification: Horseback riding and the use of pack animals is restricted to the areas specified above to insure compatibility between visitor use, resource protection, and visitor safety. Use in areas not specified would cause unacceptable resource damage and/or cause unacceptable risks to visitor safety.)
(g) Violation of conditions which may be established by the superintendent concerning the use of horses or pack animals.
Horse excrement, hay, straw and/or bedding materials must be removed from all parking/staging areas.
(Justification: Horseback riding and the use of pack animals is restricted to the areas specified above to insure compatibility between visitor use, resource protection, and visitor safety. Use in areas not specified would cause unacceptable resource damage and/or cause unacceptable risks to visitor safety.)
Using roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are prohibited, except in designated areas.
Using roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are prohibited except on the Waterside Theater parking lot between Labor Day and May 1st.
No artificial ramps or jumps are permitted.
(Justification: All existing roads and other paved areas within the Fort Raleigh area are high volume areas designated either for motor vehicles or pedestrian use. The mixing of skating, skateboards, trikes, and similar devices in those areas would present a greater potential for personal injury. The Waterside Theater parking area is not a high volume area in the off-season.)
36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING
The superintendent may designate a portion of a park area, or all or a portion of a building, structure or facility as closed to smoking when necessary to protect park resources, reduce the risk of fire, or prevent conflicts among visitor use activities.
Smoking is prohibited in the following areas:
- All government buildings
(Justification: The restrictions on smoking ensure appropriate public health concerns, the comfort of facility users and are in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations, Title 41 CFR 101-20.105-3.)
(a)(3)(i)(A) The superintendent may close all or a portion of a public use area or public facility within a park areas to the consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or that has been opened, or whose seal is broken or the contents of which have been partially removed. The consumption of an alcoholic beverage or the possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage would be inappropriate considering other uses of the location and purpose for which it is maintained or established.
Possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all visitor centers, museums, government offices and buildings unless authorized by a Special Use Permit.
(Justification: The consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages in visitor centers, museums, and government offices and buildings is not conducive to the purpose of the facilities.)
(c)(2) The superintendent must designate on a map, which must be available in the office of the superintendent and by public notice under § 1.7 of this chapter, the locations designated as available for demonstrations and the sale or distribution of printed matter.
The following first amendment assembly areas are designated on a map in the Office of the Superintendent for Public Assemblies:
See attached maps for:
- Fort Raleigh Assembly Area #1
- Fort Raleigh Assembly Area #2
Fort Raleigh First Amendment Assembly Area near Visitor Center
Fort Raleigh First Amendment Assembly Area near Lindsay Warren Visitor Center

National Park Service

Fort Raleigh First Amendment Assembly Area near Elizabethan Gardens
Fort Raleigh First Amendment Assembly Area near Elizabethan Gardens

National Park Service

(b) The superintendent may designate a different speed limit upon any park road when a speed limit set forth in paragraph (a) of this section is determined to be unreasonable, unsafe or inconsistent with the purposes for which the park area was established.

Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is 20 mph on roads and 15 mph in parking lots.

(Justification: The majority of the vehicle roads within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site are adjacent to or within parking lots containing several turns and directional signs which cause first time visitors to travel at slow speed in an attempt to find out their intended destination, therefore, 20 mph is considered to be the maximum safe speed on roads of Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.)

Last updated: June 23, 2020

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Mailing Address:

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


(252) 473-2111

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