Special Events in GGNRA

Thank you for your interest in holding your event in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, part of the National Park Service.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is home to many unique and beautiful landscapes that are ideal venues for a variety of special activities such as cultural programs, picnics, wedding ceremonies, festivals, athletic events, and film and photography projects.

Please visit the permits page to download permits or contact someone in the Office of Special Park Uses if you have any questions after reading the information on this page.

Click here for: Park Maps

Where Do You Want to Have Your Event?

Be sure you know where you want to have your event. The information here does not cover Vista Point, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Marina Green, Angel Island, Mt. Tamalpias state park or Presidio Trust property. This information applies to Ocean Beach, the Great Meadow at Fort Mason, and the Historic Airfield at Crissy Field, and can also be used as a guideline for areas within the Marin Headlands.

Permit Application

Before your project can be approved, you must fill out a permit application for a special event, located at the link above. There is a non-refundable application fee due with your permit application, so please call or email with any questions before submitting an application. Sometimes we (the Office of Special Park Uses) cannot determine your application fee until we see the application, so feel free to fax in the application without the fee. We will contact you about the fee before beginning work on your permit. Email is often the best way to reach the office.

The application fee is non-refundable and is not the same as the permit fee. Details on this below. Submitting the fee and the application does not guarantee you a date, location, or the ability to hold your event in the park at all.

Please fill out the form to the best of your ability. You may not know all the equipment you will have, but once the permit is written certain changes may not be allowed, so you may want to over-estimate or discuss it the permit office first. Be sure to include a Tax ID or Social Security Number, as well as a cell phone and email address. We cannot process your application without this information. Your permit can be sent to you by email or fax when it is written. A signed copy of the permit must be returned to the office prior to your event, and you must have the permit with you at all times during your event or you may be subject to a citation.

There is an application fee that must be submitted with the application. If your project gets approved, you must pay the permit fee, management fee, and all other fees before load-in can begin on your event.

New Events, Night Events, and Other Considerations

If an event is unlike anything that has been held in the park before, or if it is a night time event, or if there are other aspects of the event the park needs to consider, your application will be taken through a National Park Service process called Project Review. This is the opportunity for all departments (and sometimes the public as well) to ask questions before approving your event.

A natural resources specialist might want to know what mitigating factors you will take to prevent the lights in your tent from disturbing nesting sea birds. A cultural resources expert might want to know how you will attach your equipment without damaging a historic structure. Maintenance might ask how you will protect the grass during load-in. Law enforcement might want to know how you will control the crowds. It varies from event to event. The permit writer will work with you to help you through this process. If your application needs to go through Project Review, the application fee is usually $1000 and is always due before Project Review can begin.

Project Review takes at least three weeks, and the process does not guarantee that your event will get approved.

A Few Rules to Note

Having your event in a National Park site is a beautiful, wonderful opportunity, but it is not appropriate for all events. We are not an event venue per se, and we do not strive to have as many events as possible; rather we want to have events that are as appropriate as possible. Every event must have a nexus to the park - a connection as to why that event is appropriate to be in a National Park site. Your event will limit public access to public land, and we take that very seriously and try to only do so when appropriate.

Your permit will contain a complete list of specific conditions, but you are also responsible for following all the laws and rules of the Park (as well as all the laws and rules of California.) Federal property often has different regulations than neighboring jurisdictions. For example, medical marijuana is legal in San Francisco, but illegal on all Federal property. A sample permit can be emailed to you for more details on this.

Some of the key rules are:

· All advertising on site must be approved by NPS prior to your event. Signs cannot be more than 30% advertising. A sign that says "Buy These Things" is not appropriate. A sign that says "Restrooms" in a large font, and then in a smaller font says "brought to you by These Things" is okay.

· Large events require at least one Park Ranger to be present during all load-in, load-out, and during the event itself. (Some smaller events do not require this.)

· Events in sensitive areas, either due to proximity to structures or wildlife habitats, require special approval.

· Staking or accessing a hydrant takes extra time and money.

· You may not enter into most areas closed to the general public. Some areas open to the public are closed to events.

· Any event over 200 people will be required to submit a parking and transit plan, and in the case of a Crissy Field event, you must also obtain a permit from the Presidio Trust. (There is very little parking at any of our sites.) No ticketed event at Crissy Field has been approved for more than 1000 people. If you want to have a large event at Crissy Field, it will need to go through Project Review.

· We only allow 3 large events at Fort Mason each year.

· A date and location can only be held with an application and application fee. We accept these up to one year in advance.

· Not all events will be granted exclusive use of an area.

· Your event and your advertising materials must provide Universal Access. The event specialist can discuss this in more detail.

· We require composting and recycling at all events.

· Sound cannot exceed 85db.


All fees must be paid by credit card only. (We can take the number over the phone.) If you do not have a credit card, contact the permit office prior to submitting your application. Paying your application fee does not guarantee that your project will get approved.

All permit applications require an application fee that is not-refundable. This amount can range from $50 to $1000. It goes towards your permit fee.

There are 4 fees: the application fee, the permit fee, the staffing fee, and "other" fees. Most fees are non-refundable.

Application fee: $50 to $1000. Ask your event specialist for the exact fee. This is non-refundable and does not guarantee that you can have your event in the GGNRA.

Permit fee: $175 to $10,000. Your application fee goes towards this cost.

Management fee: $85/hour. This covers Park Ranger or US Park Police time. For large events, staffing time will be several hours.

Other fees: If you want to sell items at your event, you must obtain a Commercial Use Authorization, which is an additional fee and has restrictions that you should know in advance. Inspection of your tent may require a Presidio Fire Department fee. Staking has an additional fee. When serving food, you will want to use the City of San Francisco's Health Inspector, and that is a separate fee. Your event specialist can discuss these details with you. Events at Crissy Fee have an additional fee, due to the high use of that area.

If a bond is required by the NPS, it must be paid with a money order a cashier's cheque. Bonds can be returned by direct deposit to the permit applicant only. Final payment cost will be determined after we receive your permit application, but we can discuss ballpark figures with you.


All large events require a certificate of liability insurance in the amount of one million dollars. The three parties which must be named as additionally insured are: United States Government or United States of America, the National Park Service, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The form should include this address: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Office of Special Park Uses, Building 204, Fort Mason San Francisco, CA 94123

Forms may be faxed to the Office of Special Park Uses at 415-561-4305.

Failure to follow the regulations noted here may create a delay in issuing your permit.

Once your event has been approved, it may take several months to get your permit. In those cases, we can write you an email stating the approval in writing, so that you can begin the work of planning your event.

Permit Applications

Return to the main permit page

Last updated: August 1, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


(415) 561-4700

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