Competitive and noncompetitive organized runs, races, and bicycling events are popular in the park. These events must be balanced with the regular visitation in the park throughout the year. Since space for these events may be limited, road closure are not permitted for the events, it is highly recommended to start the permit process as early as possible.
Submit an Application for a Permit to Conduct a Demonstration or Special Event in Park Areas (Special Event Permit Application) to the Division of Permits Management in person or mail:
National Mall and Memorial Parks
Applications can be delivered Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm, except federal holidays or other National Mall & Memorial Parks office closures. Special Event Permit Applications are not accepted via fax or email. Applications are accepted up to one year in advance inclusive of the first day of setup.
Application Processing Cost
A non-refundable application processing cost of $120 is required with the submission of the Special Event Permit Application. Follow the instructions on the application form for submitting a payment by credit card, check, or money order.
A permits specialist will contact you if additional meetings, discussions, or documents are required and continue to walk you through the permit process. A permit must be issued prior to holding the activity in the park.
Additional Required Documents and Steps
Depending on the size and scope of the event, the permits specialist may require additional meetings and more in-depth event plans prior to approving the permit, such as site layout, setup/cleanup schedule, equipment lists, etc. All organized runs, races, and bicycling events require a description or map of the proposed route.
Additional Associated Costs
A refundable cost recovery deposit may be required to pay for incurred by the National Park Service resulting from the activity, such as administrative cost (permit monitoring, utilities, management of activity), restoration and/or rehabilitation, or cleanup of parkland. Cost recovery is based on the size and scope of the event and can range from $500 to $500,000 or more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, organized group practice runs and other organized non-competitive runs require a permit.
Yes, organized runs that pass through any portion of parkland require a permit.
Exchange of money is not permitted on parkland. All participants must be pre-registered if payment is required to participate in the activity. Runs, races, and bicycling events that do not require a payment may check in participants who are signing up at the event.
Corporate sponsors can be recognized on signage throughout the event as long as the National Park Service determines that the size and form of the recognition is consistent with the special nature and sanctity of the Fort Washington Park or any other requested park area. The lettering or design identifying the sponsor must be no larger than one-third the size of the lettering or design identifying the special event.
Nonprofits can have signs without restrictions.
Merchandise may not be sold during the event. However, as part of a special event or demonstration permit, they may sell books, newspapers, leaflets, pamphlets, buttons, and bumper stickers containing a message related to the activity.
Yes, soliciting donations on park land for a charity or for other types of organizations is allowed only with a valid permit for a special event or demonstration. Organizations or individuals engaging in onsite donation collection cannot:
(a) Mislead or give false information regarding the purpose of the donation
(b) Require a donation in exchange for an item, if the item is available for free
(c) Require a donation for t-shirts, CDs, pens, art, food or any other item that is prohibited by the National Park Service sales regulation.
Yes, liability insurance naming both the permittee and the National Park Service is required for all competitive and non-competitive runs, races, and bicycling events. You can discuss the details including minimum coverage with your permit specialist.
Last updated: February 13, 2021