Thank you for your interest in having your event in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Information on this page is for land administered by the National Park Service including Muir Woods National Monument, Fort Point National Historic Site, Alcatraz Island, Crissy Field, the Marin Headlands, Ocean Beach, as well as other sites.
As a unit of the National Park Service, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area must balance preserving the resources with allowing for a variety of visitor uses. While several types of activities such as weddings, picnics, marathons and filming are allowed in the park, many uses are prohibited.
When your application is under review, the Office of Special Park Uses will look at multiple criteria, including whether or not there is a meaningful association between the park and the event, and how the event contributes to visitor understanding of the significance of the park.
Please note that 10 business days is the minimum amount of time required for processing most permit applications, and applications for large or complex activities may take longer.
At Muir Woods National Monument, permits for weddings are issued outside of peak visitor hours, so either before 10 am or after 4:30 pm. Also, from March 15 to November 1, we are unable to issue permits for weekends. Permits are not issued for holiday weekends year round. Group size is limited to 30, and you are required to use one of the 3 designated wedding sites
Picnics with fewer than 50 people may not require a permit.
Any picnic with catering, or significant equipment will require 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.
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
Is requesting an area not otherwise open to the public
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:
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
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.
All permit applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable permit application fee of $45. This fee is non-refundable even if your application is denied, so please contact the office prior to sending in paperwork. For the smallest permits, the application fee goes towards your permit costs. For larger events, it is an additional charge.
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 $90/hour.
For more specific pricing estimates on events please review the Permit Cost 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. A sample can be found here. Please contact an Event Specialist for more details if needed.
Contact the Office of Special Park Uses
Call us for more information and to speak with a Permit Specialist: (415) 561-4300
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 to (415) 561-4305. 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.