Superintendent's Compendium (FRLA/JOFI/LONG)

Superintendent compendiums supplement Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR) and other US Code and CFR Titles that apply to areas managed by the National Park Service with park-specific regulations related to park management, such as visiting hours, closures, permits, and visitor-use activities. The current Superintendent's compendium for the National Parks of Brookline and Cambridge was signed by Superintendent Newman on May 31, 2024, and will remain in effect until amended or supplemented by the Superintendent.


In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations ("36 CFR"), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 16 United States Code, Section 3, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of Frederick Law Olmsted (FRLA), Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters (LONG), and John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JOFI) National Historic Sites. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.

Written determinations, which explain the reasoning behind the Superintendent's use of discretionary authority, as required by Section 1.5(c), appear in this document identified by italicized print.

36 CFR §1.5 – Visiting Hours, Public Use Limits, Closures, and Area Designations for Specific Uses Or Activities

36 CFR §1.5 (a)(1) - Visiting Hours, Public Use Limits, and Closures

(a)(1) The following visiting hours, public use limits, and closures are established:

Visiting Hours:

  • The grounds of all three sites:
    • Year-round, daily from dawn to dusk
  • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
    • Walk-in tours:
      • Late April to early June: Friday-Saturday
      • Mid-June to mid-September: Thursday-Sunday
      • Late September to late November: Friday-Saturday
    • Group tours:
      • Year-round, by appointment
    • Good Neighbors education program:
      • Late March to mid-June by appointment
      • Late September to early November by appointment
    • Archival research
      • Year-round, by appointment
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
    • Walk-in tours:
      • Early June to late October: Thursday-Sunday
    • Group tours:
      • Year-round, by appointment
    • Education programs:
      • Year-round, by appointment
  • Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site
    • Walk-in tours:
      • Late May to late October: Friday-Monday
    • Group tours:
      • Late May to late October by appointment: Thursdays
      • November to late May by appointment: Fridays
    • Education programs:
      • By appointment
    • Archival research:
      • Year-round, by appointment

Public Use Limits:

  • Except for the self-guided exhibits at Frederick Law Olmsted NHS, the historic building interiors are available to see by ranger guided tour only. Tours are given on a first come, first served basis at scheduled times (check park website).
    • At Frederick Law Olmsted NHS, reservations are recommended for groups of 10 or more.
    • At John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS, reservations are recommended for groups of 5 or more.
    • At Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters NHS, reservations are recommended for groups of 8 or more.
  • Tours of the historic buildings are limited to the following carrying capacities for each tour conducted:
    • Frederick Law Olmsted NHS: 12 people maximum
    • John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS: 10 people maximum
    • Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters NHS: 12 people maximum
  • Pocketbooks, large bags, and backpacks are never permitted in the historic houses and may not be left unattended at any time. Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters NHS and John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS both offer locked storage facilities.
  • The rooms in the historic houses are generally small and contain original furnishings and museum collections. Visitor numbers are limited in order to preserve and protect the structures and their contents.


  • The park superintendent may, due to severe weather or other safety concerns, close park facilities.
  • On extremely rare occasions, the park superintendent may close one or two of the sites in order to reallocate staffing to support a special event at the third site.

Use of 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 the three sites 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 a 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, and drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation and commerce.

36 CFR §1.5 (a)(2) - Designations for Specific Uses Or Activities

(a)(2) The following areas are designated for a specific use or activity and/or the following conditions or restrictions are imposed on a specific use or activity:

First Amendment Assembly Area

Groups larger than 25 people may demonstrate in these areas when the superintendent has issued a permit. Demonstrations involving 25 persons or fewer may generally be held without a permit within the designated park areas. Applications for permits should be submitted to the Superintendent's Office. The designated area for demonstrations for each site are as follows:

  • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site: South lawn between the circular drive and the Jefferson elm tree
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site: Backyard area away from the sidewalk
  • Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site: West portion of the front forecourt

36 CFR §1.6 – Activities That Require a Permit

Activities requiring a permit are listed above under Public Use Limits and/or throughout this document under the specific 36 CFR Section that authorizes or requires the issuance of a permit.

Individuals and organizations wishing to apply for a permit should contact the Site's Special Use Coordinator for more information and application.

36 CFR §2.1 – Preservation of Natural, Cultural, and Archeological Resources

(a)(5) Climbing on park buildings and monuments is prohibited.

  • Climbing of trees is strictly prohibited.

36 CFR §2.4 – Weapons

(a)(2)(i) Weapons may only be carried, possessed or used at the following designated times and locations:

  • Firearms are prohibited in federal facilities pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 930. Federal facilities are defined as "buildings or parts thereof owned or leased by the federal government, where federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties." Federal facilities are marked with signs at the public entrances.
  • Park visitors who can legally possess and carry firearms under federal, state, and local law are allowed to carry them on the Park grounds. The role of the responsible gun owner is to know and obey the federal, state, and local laws appropriate to the Park they are visiting. However, weapons cannot be used in the park except by authorized federal, state, or local law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.

36 CFR §2.5 – Research Specimens

(a) Taking plants, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals is prohibited except in accordance with other regulations of Chapter I of 36 CFR or pursuant to the terms and conditions of a specimen collection permit.

36 CFR §2.10 – Camping and Food Storage

  • Camping is prohibited throughout the park.

36 CFR §2.11 – Picnicking

Conditions for Picnicking:

  • Picnicking is permitted on the lawn areas of Frederick Law Olmsted and Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Sites and the backyard lawn of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site. Visitors are expected to clean up after themselves and dispose of waste properly.

36 CFR §2.12 – Audio Disturbances

(a)(3) Operating any type of portable motor or engine, or device powered by a portable motor or engine is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

(a)(4) Operating a public address system is prohibited, except in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51.

36 CFR §2.13 – Fires

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is prohibited.

36 CFR §2.15 – Pets

(a)(1) All park buildings are closed to pets, except:

(a)(1) and (f) The provisions of this section shall not apply to service animals (of any species) which have been trained to assist impaired or handicapped persons, or, to dogs used by authorized federal, state, and local law enforcement officers in performance of their official duties.

(2) Pets must be restrained on a leash which shall not exceed six feet in length, or otherwise physically confined at all times.

(a)(3) Leaving a pet unattended and/or tied to an object is prohibited.

(a)(5) The following pet excrement disposal conditions are established:

Any person having possession, custody or control of any dog or other animal that defecates in any area of the park shall be required to immediately remove the feces.

36 CFR §2.18 – Snowmobiles

(c) The use of snowmobiles is prohibited.

36 CFR §2.19 – Winter Activities

(a) Skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, inner tubing, tobogganing, and similar winter sports are prohibited on park roads and in parking areas open to motor vehicle traffic.

36 CFR §2.20 – Skating. Skateboards, and Similar Devices

Using roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices is prohibited.

36 CFR §2.21 – Smoking

Smoking, e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, and all other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) are prohibited throughout the park, including grounds, buildings, and vehicles under NPS administration, except the far east potion of the front forecourt at Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site.

Note: e-cigarette/personal vaporizer means a device containing a liquid or other substance that is vaporized and inhaled, typically used to simulate the experience of smoking tobacco, more generally known as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) as referred to in Policy Memorandum 15-03. (See Director's Order 50D, which cites Executive Order 13058 "Protecting Federal Employees and the Public from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke in the Federal Workplace" and Policy Memorandum 15-03 "Use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems")

36 CFR §2.22 – Property

(a)(2) Leaving personal property unattended is prohibited.

36 CFR §2.35 – Alcoholic Beverages and Controlled Substances

(a)(3)(i) Consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed is generally prohibited.

  • Alcoholic beverages may only be consumed on park property when a special use permit has been granted by the park superintendent.

36 CFR §2.37 – Non-Commercial Soliciting

Soliciting or demanding gifts, money, goods or services is prohibited except pursuant to the terms and conditions or a permit that has been issued under §2.50, §2.51, or §2.52.

36 CFR §2.38 – Explosives

(a) Using, possessing, storing, or transporting explosives, blasting agents or explosive materials is prohibited.

(b) Using, or possessing fireworks and firecrackers is prohibited.

Special Park Uses (36 CFR §2.50 – Special Events; 36 CFR §2.51 – Public Assemblies)

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 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 Service; and is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease.

Each request to engage in a special park use or to renew authorization of an existing use will be reviewed and evaluated by the Superintendent according to the terms of applicable legislation, regulations, guidelines, and management planning documents, using criteria and procedures outlined in the Special Park Uses Guideline (DO/RM-53). An application for a special park use permit will be considered unless:

  • The superintendent has granted or will grant a prior application for a permit for the same time and place, and the activities authorized by that permit do not reasonably allow multiple occupancy of that area.
  • It reasonably appears that the event will present a clear and present danger to public health or safety.
  • The event is of such nature or duration that it cannot reasonably be accommodated in the particular location applied for, considering such things as damage to park resources or facilities, impairment of the area’s atmosphere of peace and tranquility, interference with program activities, or impairment of public use facilities.
  • The activity would constitute a violation of an applicable law or regulation.
  • Adequate staff for monitoring is not available.

The National Park Service will also terminate any activity subsequent to finding that any of the above conditions exist.

With the exception of those permits issued for First Amendment activities, to the extent authorized by applicable legislation, regulations, and policies, the National Park Service will establish and collect appropriate permit fees for special park uses and will seek reimbursement from permit holders for NPS costs incurred in administering the permit, monitoring the activities it authorizes, or for any damage caused by those activities.

36 CFR §2.50 – Special Events

1. A permit is required to hold a special event

Frederick Law Olmsted, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Sites represent unique national resources associated with the birth of American landscape architecture, the birthplace of the 35th President of the United States, the American Revolution, and American literature. Special events may be permitted provided there is a meaningful association between the park area and the events, the observance contributes to visitor understanding of the significance of the park area, and a permit has been issued by the Superintendent. A special event may be permitted only if the activity has been judged by the Superintendent not to cause any derogation of the values and purposes for which the park was established, unless directly and specifically authorized by Federal law.

As well as the criteria listed above, initial or renewal requests to conduct an activity will be denied if the Superintendent determines that the activity will be in derogation of the values and purposes for which the Park was established or will be inconsistent with the Park's enabling legislation.

All proposals for special events will be evaluated for:

  • consistency with applicable laws, executive orders, regulations, and policies;
  • consistency with the existing plans for public use and resource management;
  • actual and potential effects on park resources and values;
  • total costs to the Service;
  • whether there is a meaningful association between the park area and the events; and,
  • whether the public interest will be served.

Additionally, when considering requests to hold special events such as parades, meetings, entertainments, exhibitions, fairs, festivals, lectures, conferences, etc. the Superintendent will be guided by CFR 36 Parts 1 and 2, Director’s Order #53 and the Management Policies for the National Park Service issued in August 2006.

The National Park Service will not permit the staging of special events that are conducted primarily for the material or financial benefit of participants, that involve commercialization, advertising, or publicity by participants, or for which a separate public admission fee is to be charged. Weddings are not allowed at the historic properties.

Further, the Superintendent will consider the following factors before approving a special event:

  • The effect of the proposed event on resources, operations, and the mission of the park.
  • Park visitation at the time of the proposed event.
  • The location requested.
  • Public safety considerations.
  • The time of year requested.
  • The duration of the proposed event.
  • The size (number of participants and/or observers) of the proposed event and associated equipment.
  • Other, previously approved events.

The primary concern of the Superintendent is the effect of the proposed event on the cultural and natural resources and the impact on normal visitor operations and the visitor experience. It may be possible to accommodate events at certain locations only before or after the public hours of the building. It may also be necessary to limit the size and/or duration of the proposed event to a small number of participants/observers or a shorter length of time in order not to interfere with public use or threaten the historical and natural resources of the park.

For special events that will result in significant restrictions or closures of areas normally open to the public, the Regional Director’s written concurrence must be obtained before issuing the permit. (Policy Memorandum 16-02)

Past approval of similar special events by a park will not have a bearing on the approval process. Each request received must be evaluated individually for impacts to park resources and values and compliance with current statutes, regulations and policies. (Policy Memorandum 16-02)

36 CFR §2.51 – Demonstrations

(b) Demonstrations of 25 people or less are allowed within the park areas designated as available under paragraph (c)(2). Demonstrations of more than 25 people are allowed within designated park areas when the superintendent has issued a permit for the activity.

(c)(2) The following locations are designated as available for demonstrations:

  • Frederick Law Olmsted NHS: South lawn between the circular drive and the elm tree
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS: Backyard area away from the sidewalk
  • Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters NHS: West portion of the front forecourt

36 CFR §2.52 – Sale or Distribution of Printed Matter (During First Amendment Activities Only)

(b) The sale or distribution of printed matter by 25 people or less is allowed within the park areas designated as available under §2.51(c)(2) (see above). The sale or distribution of printed matter by more than 25 persons is allowed within designated park areas when the superintendent has issued a permit.

36 CFR §2.61 – Residing on Federal Lands

(a) Residing in park areas, other than on privately owned lands, is prohibited except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit lease or contract.

36 CFR §2.62 – Memorialization

(a) The installation of a monument, memorial, tablet, structure, or other commemorative installation in a park area without the authorization of the Director is prohibited.

(b) The scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

36 CFR §4.30 – Bicycles

The use of a bicycle is prohibited except on driveways and in parking areas. Bicycle racks (accessible via driveways and walkways) are located at the rear of the buildings. There are no bicycle routes designated through any of the park sites. See 36 CFR §1.5.

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

E-bikes are allowed within the sites where traditional bicycles are allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.

A person operating an e-bike is subject to the following sections of 36 CFR part 4 that 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 the sites 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.

36 CFR §4.31 – Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking or soliciting transportation is prohibited.

36 CFR §5.1 – Advertisements

Commercial notices or advertisements shall not be displayed, posted, or distributed on federally owned or controlled lands within a park area unless prior written permission has been given by the Superintendent.

36 CFR §5.3 – Business Operations

Engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States, except as such may be specifically authorized under special regulations applicable to a park area, is prohibited.

36 CFR §5.4 – Commercial Passenger-Carrying Motor Vehicles

(a) The commercial transportation of passengers by motor vehicle except as authorized under a contract or permit from the Secretary or his authorized representative is prohibited in certain parks.

36 CFR §5.5(a) – Motion Pictures & Television

(a) Before any commercial filming by any person other than bona fide newsreel or news television personnel, written permission through an authorized Filming Permit must first be obtained from the Superintendent. Refer to Special Use Permit Form, NPS 10-932 – Application for Special Use Permit Commercial Filming and Still Photography.

(b) A permit may be required for non-commercial filming if necessary to manage the activity, protect park resources and values, minimize conflict between user groups, and/or ensure public safety. Refer to Special Use Permit Form, NPS 10-930 – Application for Special Use Permit.

36 CFR §5.5 – Still Photography and Audio Recording

(a) Taking photographs of any vehicle or other articles of commerce or models for the purpose of commercial advertising without a written permit from the Superintendent is prohibited.

Generally, permits are not required for still photography activities unless:

  • The activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
  • The activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or
  • The park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity; or
  • The park needs to provide management and oversight of the activity.

A permit is not required if none of these conditions exist. A permit is required if one of the above conditions exist. Still photography permits are subject to cost recovery and location fees.

(b) Audio recording does not require a permit unless:

  • It takes place at a location where or when members of the public are generally not allowed;
  • It uses equipment that requires mechanical transport;
  • It uses equipment that requires an external power source other than a battery pack; or
  • The NPS would incur additional administrative costs to manage and oversee the permitted activity to:
    • Avoid unacceptable impacts and impairment to resources or values; or
    • Minimize health or safety risks to the visiting public.

If a permit is issued, cost recovery must be collected, and a location fee based on the location fee schedule for still photography must be collected.

36 CFR §5.6 – Commercial Vehicles

(b) & (c) Using commercial vehicles on government driveways within these park areas when such use is in no way connected with the operation of the park is generally prohibited, and requires permission or a permit from the Superintendent.

36 CFR §5.7 – Construction of Buildings or Other Facilities

Such activities are prohibited.

Last updated: May 31, 2024

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