Special Park Use Permits

Thank you for your interest in having your event at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, or Fort Point National Historic Site. We manage many popular sites within our three park units including Marin Headlands, Crissy Field, Baker Beach, Ocean Beach, and Alcatraz Island. Please note all picnic tables are available on a first come, first served basis, and cannot be reserved. Reminder: National Park Service property is a no drone zone.

For event reservation information for the following jurisdictions, please contact: Presidio Trust, Mt. Tamalpais, Angel Island, San Mateo County Parks, San Francisco Recreation and Parks (for Marina Green and Golden Gate Park, etc.), Fort Mason Center and other surrounding parks.

Your first step in requesting access is to submit a completed permit application, which begins the process.

Permit Application Process:

  • Complete a Permit Application or Filming Permit Application.

  • Send application by postal mail, fax (number is on application), or email to goga_permits@nps.gov.

  • After your application is reviewed, a permit specialist will contact you to discuss your event proposal.

  • Note: Submitting an application does NOT mean your permit request has been approved.

Processing Timelines:

  • It takes 4-15 business days for initial permit application review.

  • Once your permit is approved, it can take several months for your permit specialist to write your permit.

  • We accept applications up to a year in advance. Be aware that many of our popular sites are fully booked for 2024.

Permit Fee & Cost Recovery Estimates:

Potential Factors That Will Determine the Cost For Your Event:

  • Number of participants.

  • Complexity of event.

  • Potential for impacts to park resources.

  • Special equipment needs.

  • Monitoring requirements.

  • Catering will require a Temporary Food Event permit.

  • If additional requirements, such as Fire and Safety permits, may also apply to your activity.

See the FAQ sections below for specific types of reservations or events to learn more.

For more information, please contact the Office of Special Park Uses at [goga_permits@nps.gov] OR click here to EMAIL US.

  • Submission of an application does not guarantee permit approval.
  • Additional documents, such as but not limited to layout/route maps, parking plans, liability insurance will be required for complex events at least 4 months before event date.
  • All Events which allow for the public to attend (with or without registration) must comply with all accessibility regulations and must review the park's accessibility checklist.
  • Advertising and branding is prohibited. Signs on site must be approved by NPS prior to your event. Signs must be event related, directional, and logos cannot be more than 30% of sign.
  • No sales of merchandise or food to either the public or your participants will be allowed. This includes items such as t-shirts for a ‘suggested donation.’
  • Large events, events with rental equipment, and/or with caterers cooking onsite, require at least one Park Ranger present during the event as well as during load in.
  • You may not enter areas closed to the general public. Permit requests in closed/sensitive areas require additional approval.
  • If you want to have a large event (1,000 or more people) at Crissy Field, it will need to go through Project Review, so allow for addtional lead time up to 6 months or more.
  • We only allow 3 large events at Fort Mason each year.
  • A date and location can be held up to one year in advance with a permit application and application fee.
  • Events will not be granted exclusive use of an area.
  • We require composting and recycling at all events. Please review the Green Event Guidelines.
  • Sound cannot exceed 85db in any park area. 65 dB near buildings and residents.
  • Unmanned aircraft, such as drones, regardless of whether the operation is for recreational, hobby, business, or commercial purposes, is not allowed, and will not be permitted.
  • Holidays and other event black-out dates exist. Please contact the permit office concerning availability.
  • For additional regulations, please read the park's Superintendent's Compendium.
  • Event Permit Application
  • All large events require a certificate of liability insurance (information below).
  • Athletic Events
    • Athletic events with fewer than 50 people might not trigger permit requirements. Please confirm with a Permit Specialist before proceeding.
    • Events with substantial equipment, such as but not limited to generators, PA systems, signs, etc... requires a permit regardless of group size.
  • Special Events with catering, food service, sound equipment, generators, etc...
    • Gatherings with fewer than 50 people may not require a permit.
    • Gatherings with onsite catering, food service or significant equipment requires a permit, regardless of size.
    • All picnic tables in the park are first come, first served and cannot be reserved, except for the group picnic site at West Fort Miley. Special event permits are not issued in designated picnic areas.
  • Beach Fire Permit Application
  • Beach fires with or without a permit are prohibited at Ocean Beach from November 1st to March 1st.
  • Burning debris, including Christmas trees, anywhere in the GGNRA is not permitted. Only untreated wood may be burned.
  • Beach fires are allowed only within fire rings at Ocean Beach and Muir Beach.
  • Beach fire rings are first come, first served and cannot be reserved.
  • Fires are not permitted when a Spare the Air day/night has been delared.
  • Beach fires with fewer than 50 people do not require a permit, unless there will be substantial equipment and/or activities that require additional permitting. No glass on all beaches and no alcohol allowed on Ocean Beach.

Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. People may exercise these rights peacefully in national parks, but the National Park Service retains as its highest priority the protection of park visitors and resources. Therefore, the National Park Service requires a permit for most First Amendment activities in order to establish the location, time, number of participants, and other general conditions under which such events may occur. The content of First Amendment activities is not regulated, and the opinions expressed by permittees do not necessarily reflect the vision, mission and/or policy of the National Park Service.

Please email us regarding any questions or comments related to First Amendment permits.

A permit is required for First Amendment activities that meet any of the following criteria:

  • Groups larger than 25 participants
  • Utilizes significant equipment including generators, platforms, tents, etc.
  • Would like a guarantee of priority use of a specific location
  • Requesting an area not designated as a first amendment area in the park's compendium

A group of 25 people or less is not required to obtain a First Amendment Permit if they do not meet the criteria above, but they are encouraged to get one as a permit will prevent another group from reserving the area.

Examples of First Amendment Activities:

  • Religious services
  • Political speeches
  • Press conferences
  • Public demonstration, picketing, assembly or rally expressing opinions and views

Type of Activities Not Covered by the First Amendment:

  • Church picnic or social gathering
  • Wedding ceremonies or receptions
  • Political fundraiser or other invitation-only political activity or event
  • Solicitation of donations without a permit
  • Community parades, athletics, or sporting events

First Amendment permits are issued at no cost to the permittee. Many of the activities not covered by the First Amendment can be accommodated through a Special Use Permit for which cost recovery will be charged.

  • Ash Scattering
    • Permits are not required for small groups of 25 or less with no reception like activities.
    • The scattering of remains is prohibited within Muir Woods National Monument, Fort Point National Historic Site, and on Alcatraz Island.
    • Per 36 CFR §2.62(b) – MEMORIALIZATION 34, the scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited except in accordance with the following terms and conditions:
      • Remains to be scattered must have been cremated and pulverized.
      • The scattering of remains within the park is to be performed at least 10 yards from any trail, road, developed facility, or any interior body of water.
      • The scattering of remains is prohibited into any inland waters, including any lake, lagoon or stream, and into ocean and tidal waters from uplands or tidelands and from structures, including bridges and piers.
      • Scattering shall be distributed in general areas so as not to create a memorial or resource damage.
  • Alcatraz Events, Photo/film
    • Special Park Use permits are currently not being issued for Alcatraz Island. We hope to have an update to this by June 2024, but events are unlikely to be permitted before 2025 or later. Special events are not permitted while the public is on the island.
    • When filming permits resume, they will most likely only be approved to the one hour between the 8:20am staff boat and the first public boat at 9:20am in the morning. We do hope eventually to also offer an hour or two after the public has left the island during the summer.
    • Commercial filming is not permitted while the island is open to the public.
    • For first amendment requests on Alcatraz, please send a completed permit application to GOGA_Permits@nps.gov.
  • Commercial Dog Walking Special Use Permits are required for any professional walking 4 to 6 dogs on GGNRA lands in San Francisco and Marin counties.
  • For more information about Commercial Dog Walking, please click here.
  • Please contact a permit specialist for more information via email click here to email us.
  • All permit applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable permit application fee of $60. A permit specialist will contact you for payment information after application is received. This fee is non-refundable even if your application is denied, so please contact the office prior to sending in paperwork. The application fee is applied towards your permit costs.
  • Submitting an application with the fee does not guarantee your activity or the date requested will be approved. Applications are accepted up to one year in advance. We will let you know within 4 business days that we have received your application, but approval or denial of your activity can range from days to weeks.
  • The permit office accepts payment by credit card only, and cannot accept personal or business checks. If you do not have a credit card, a money order is possible in a few rare cases. Please contact the permit office before sending in any funds.
  • Permit costs can range from free to over $40,000. While we will be able to give you an estimate of costs over the phone or in email, we cannot tell you the final cost of your activity until after we receive a permit application. We are happy to have a few conversations with you by phone or email, but an application and non-refundable application fee are due prior to the office spending more time than that on your proposal.
  • Some activities are required to go through full environmental or historic compliance review.
  • Staffing costs are currently $100 per hour per staff member.

For more specific pricing estimates on events please review the Permit Cost Recovery Schedule. Additional charges, such as Temporary Food Event permits, Fire and Safety permits, etc may apply to your activity. Please contact the office for more information

All large events are required to have a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability insurance naming the United States of America as additionally insured. Please contact an Event Specialist for more details.


Contact the Office of Special Park Uses

Please understand that we write over 1,000 permits per year, and are usually quite busy. Filling out the application form and sending it in is the fastest way to begin planning your event, but does not guarantee your event will be approved. Permit applications, certificates of insurance, and correspondence to anyone in the Office of Special Park Uses may be faxed (number is on application). The Office of Special Park Uses is located on the San Francisco Bay in Fort Mason at the intersection of Bay and Franklin. Paperwork to and from the Office of Special Park Uses is generally done through email, but fax, mail, or in person appointments at Fort Mason Building 201 are possible, if needed.

Individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind, or have speech disabilities may utilize the following Federal Relay Service Numbers:

(800) 877-8339 Federal Relay Service
(800) 877-6280 VCO
(800) 877-8982 Speech to Speech
(800) 845-6136 Spanish
(866) 893-8340 TeleBraille

Thank you for your interest in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a unit of your National Park Service.

Last updated: March 11, 2024

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Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
201 Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123


United States Park Police Dispatch: Non-Emergency: 415-561-5505 Emergency: 415-561-5656

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