Special Events at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
The following is general information for holding special events at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a unit of the U.S. National Park Service. If you are interested in holding a special event in the national park, please contact our reservation coordinator, Eva Dodd, at 360-816-6241 as soon as possible and she or a member of the park ranger staff can directly discuss your proposed activity with you. If you are interested in obtaining a permit for commercial filming, please click here for more information.
The units of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site are home to nationally significant landscapes, historic structures, and settings that can be ideal venues for a variety of special activities such as picnics, ceremonies, and family and group gatherings.
Special events can provide a unique, intimate opportunity for visitors to connect to this National Park and understand why it is considered so special as to be one of just over 400 sites in the National Park System--America's Best Idea.
Process & Guiding Principles
The process for obtaining permission to hold a special event in a national park is different than many other venues. Each applicant submits a permit application along with a $100 non-refundable application fee to park staff. This application form can be obtained in person at the Visitor Center or downloaded from the park website here.
All applications are reviewed by park staff on a case-by-case basis, to ensure that applicants' needs are balanced with park efforts to allow a national park experience for all visitors while also preserving the park for the enjoyment of future generations. For approved applications, park staff issue a special use permit. This permit establishes the date, time, and location of the activity and includes any additional costs and conditions of use, based on the event type and location.
The most successful special events are those that are small in size and scale (fewer than 300 participants) that use the park's designated locations as the setting. Examples of appropriate special events include weddings at the Bandstand, group picnics at the Great Meadow, and meetings, celebrations, or change of command ceremonies in the Historic Hangar at Pearson Air Museum.
Some activities--such as the sale of food, drink or merchandise, the charging of a separate public admission fee, and the release of helium balloons--are prohibited in national parks. Park staff will work with you on a case-by-case basis to make sure your proposed activity fits the national park setting, so please be sure to contact park staff as early as possible.
The metro area is home to many local, county, regional, state, national, and privately-owned venues suitable for special events. With that in mind, large events, such as concert and festival-style events, may be better suited to these numerous other community resources.