Laws & Policies


Introduction to the Compendium

The purpose of the compendium is to provide the public and park employees with a document that lists the special designations, closures, public use limits, permit requirements and other restrictions imposed under the discretionary authority of the Superintendent. The Superintendent’s authority to implement these provisions is found in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), § 1.5(a). The compendium is available to the public on the park website and upon request. The compendium will be reviewed and updated annually or as needed to ensure adequate protection of the park’s resources, provide for public safety and enjoyment and to address changes in public use patterns.The provisions found in this compendium constitute only one of many tools designed to manage and protect Golden Spike National Historical Park (NHP). It is important to utilize this document in conjunction with Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, which includes the full text of National Park Service regulations, including those that authorizing the provisions outlined in this compendium.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 Golden Spike NHP]. 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 § 1.4 Definitions

Off-road motorized vehicle (AKA: ORV, ATV, UTV) – any motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, or other natural terrain.Unmanned Aircraft (AKA: UAS, UAV, “drone”) – a device used or intended to be used for flight in the air without direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the 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, quad copters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including recreation or commerce.


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

Visiting Hours:

  • Visitor Center Hours 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • All Park grounds are closed at Dark.
The closures are necessary for public safety and to protect the park’s cultural, historical, and natural resources from damage, vandalism, and destruction during times when there are limited personnel on duty.

Public Use Limits:

  • The use of Segways or similar devices in lieu of manual or motorized wheelchairs is allowed by persons with disabilities.
This provides for the use of mobility assistive devices within the park for individuals with mobility disabilities and protection of the park resources against recreational activities inconsistent with park management.
  • Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Golden Spike NHP is prohibited except as approved by the superintendent.
It has determined the unrestricted use of unmanned aircraft is incompatible with the mission to protect park resources and to ensure visitors enjoyment within the park. Unrestricted use of unmanned aircraft could impact sensitive wildlife, result in unnecessary noise, and pose a potential danger to park visitors. This prohibition complies with the NPS Director’s Policy Memorandum 14-05 (Unmanned Aircraft – Interim Policy; June 19, 2014).Closures:
  • The access road leading to the well and water diversion area beginning 100 yards east of the maintenance/residential roadway is closed to the public.
  • The Engine House road is closed to non-authorized personnel except during the winter months for the purpose of guided engine house tours. Permission for access to the engine house must first be gained from personnel at the Visitor Center front desk.
  • The Central Pacific Railroad grade from County Road 7200 North east to Utah 83 is closed to all public vehicle access year round except for local ranch access.
  • The dirt access road to the last spike site from the Whitaker ranch road is closed to non-authorized personnel.
The above closures are to provide for visitor and employee safety and preclude interference with administrative operations by visitors
  • The West Auto Tour will also be closed during times of cattle grazing on private lands adjacent to park boundaries.
This closure protects significant resource in the area from livestock grazing damage.
  • The East & West Auto Tours are closed to buses, motorhomes, and trailers. This closure to oversized vehicles is necessary due to the narrow and confined road (historic railroad grade) widths found in many sections of the trail.
  • The East & West Auto Tours are closed to all public vehicle access during snowy or wet weather. The auto tours shall also be closed during periods of maintenance activities. Closure shall be denoted by closed gates or appropriate signage at both entrance and exit gates.
  • Park roads and buildings are subject to temporary closure. Temporary closures may be necessary at any time due to maintenance activities, inclement weather, or road conditions.
  • The Big Fill Trail may be temporarily closed when trail conditions are such that use may be hazardous to the visiting public (e.g., rockslides, flash flooding). Visitors shall be advised of such closures by the posting of signs at trailheads and/or other appropriate locations. Entering a closed trail is prohibited.
  • Administrative buildings and areas are closed to the public except during ordinary business hours, when invited by park staff, or to report bona fide emergencies. The housing area is open to the public only when invited by park staff or residents or to report bona fide emergencies.
The above restrictions are necessary for the maintenance of public safety, the protection of scenic values, and the protection of natural and cultural resources. These measures protect park resources and processes from physical disturbance, damage, and/or removal at times when park staff is either limited or absent. These restrictions help prevent accidents that could result in serious personal injury and/or property damage.

(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:

Conditions and Restrictions on Specific Uses or Activities: Passenger Carrying Buses:

  • Engines on passenger carrying buses must be shut down when not moving and parked in designated parking areas.

The idling of bus engines adds unnecessary exhaust fumes to the air and diminishes the enjoyment by visitors of the peace and tranquility of the park.


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

The following activities related to Public Use Limits:

  • §2.16 Use of Stock Animals
  • §1.5 Unmanned Aircraft Systems
  • §2.50 Special events (sports events, pageant, public spectator attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and similar events).
  • §2.5(a) Specimen collection (taking plant, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals).
  • §2.51(a) Public assemblies, meetings, demonstrations, parades, and other public expressions of views (group’s sizes of 25 or less do not require a permit).
  • §2.52(a) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising.
  • §2.62(b) Memorialization (Scattering ashes from human cremation).
  • §5.1 Advertisements – (display, posting or distribution).
  • §5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business (requires a permit, contract or other written agreement with the United States, or must be pursuant to special regulations).
  • §5.5 Commercial filming or still photography. Refer to the Special Use Permit guidelines.
  • §2.23 Permit fees will be required for all permitted activities with the exception of those groups eligible for educational fee waivers. They will require an educational fee waiver application and approval.
Individuals and organizations wishing to apply for a Special Use Permit should contact the Park’s Special Use Coordinator for information and application. Permits are authorized and issued pursuant to specific regulation in this chapter.Permits must be in the permittee’s possession at all times and shown to authorized personnel upon request.


(b) Hiking or pedestrian traffic is restricted to the trail(s) and walkway(s) listed in 36 CFR §1.5 of this document.

Hiking and Pedestrian Use:

  • Hiking and pedestrian use is restricted to the park’s trails and auto tour roads.

  • Leaving a trail to shortcut between portions of the same trail or auto tour road, or to shortcut between portions of the same trail is prohibited.

Restricting hikers and pedestrians to the park’s trails and auto tour roads helps protect the fragile habitat and natural resources of the park.


(b) The following conditions and procedures for transporting lawfully taken wildlife through the park area are in place:
  • Carcass loading must take place outside the NPS boundary.
  • Carcass may be taken through the park by vehicle only and must be accompanied by the licensee who harvested the animal and must be tagged in accordance with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources regulations.
  • Any animal entering the park after being shot or wounded while outside the park may not be retrieved without first contacting the park.
It is the intent to allow transport of lawfully taken wildlife through only those areas of the park on the direct route of travel between the place where a legal taking of wildlife has occurred and the residence of the individual who has performed that legal taking.

(e) The following areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light:
  • In all areas of the Park, the viewing of wildlife at night with the use of an artificial light is prohibited. 36 CFR 1.5(a), 2.2(e).
These restrictions are required to prevent disturbance of wildlife and deter poaching.


(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.
  • Permits will be obtained through the scientific research and collecting permit system.
Research is a vital part of the NPS mission and researchers should understand the need for proper accounting and tracking of projects to avoid any conflicts.


  • Camping is prohibited at Golden Spike NHP by order of the superintendent pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5(a)(1)
  • Unless it is taking place in conjunction with an authorized interpretive program or event.
  • Overnight parking of self-contained recreational vehicles may be permitted by the resident ranger under emergency situations.
This is to protect from any activity that could adversely impact or degrade the historic scene. There are no overnight camping facilities in the park, and except for authorized interpretive programs or events, there is no valid scientific or educational reason to allow visitor use after dark. Visiting is therefore limited to daylight hours.

(b)(7) Connecting to a utility system is prohibited , except as designated below:
  • Park volunteers may request to use trailer pads and utilities located within the administration park lot area.

36 CFR 2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of open fires is prohibited, except in the following areas and/or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:

Designated Areas:

  • Picnic areas are designated by the presence of park provided picnic tables.

Receptacles Allowed:

  • Portable gas grills brought to the park by an individual. No charcoal grills, ground fires or other fires are permitted in picnic areas.

Established Conditions for Fires:

  • If the Superintendent determines high or extreme fire conditions exist, the park may be closed to all fires.

The use of fires in the park is regulated to protect structures, natural & cultural resources and the public. During extreme weather conditions, all fires may be restricted to prevent the accidental ignition of wildfires.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

(a)(1) The following structures and/or areas are closed to the possession of pets:

Pets are prohibited inside the Visitor Center with the exception of service animals.

  • Properly restrained pets are permitted in all areas of the park with the exception of public buildings, unless specifically authorized by the Superintendent. Service animals are permitted in all buildings as necessary. Pets are permitted on park grounds and trails, but must be on a leash and under the immediate control of the pet’s owner at all times. Leash shall not exceed six feet in length.
(a)(3) Pets may be left unattended temporarily and tied to an object in the following areas, under the conditions noted:
  • Pets may be left unattended temporarily if they are secured in a location where they will not become a nuisance, interfere with wildlife, impede normal travel by visitors or cause other resource damage.
  • Pets may not be left unattended in vehicles, overnight, or when weather and other conditions could endanger the pet’s health.
(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:
  • Pet excrement must be immediately collected by the pet owner and removed from the site or deposited in an appropriate waste container.
Pet owners are responsible to ensure their pets do not destroy park values/experiences for others in those areas where they are allowed. Environmental conditions that pose a health risk to the animal may be determined by NPS personnel observing ambient temperatures, the probability of unhealthy conditions within the vehicle, and observing signs of distress from an animal. If NPS personnel determine an animal is in imminent danger action may be taken to prevent further harm to the animal. Pet excrement contributes to sanitation problems in visitor use areas.

(e) Pets may be kept by park residents under the following conditions:
  • Approval from the Superintendent
Limitations on pets are required to protect wildlife from being chased or harassed by unrestrained dogs or cats.


(b) The use of horses or pack animals is prohibited outside of the following trails, routes or areas designated for their use:
  • Allowed on the Central Pacific railroad grade east and west of the visitor center during dry weather periods when the roadways are open to the public.
  • Animals must be unloaded away from the parking areas and cannot be tethered in the visitor center area.
(d) Free-trailing or loose-herding of horses or pack animals on trails is prohibited.(g) Other conditions concerning the use of horses or pack animals:
  • Horse and pack animals are not allowed in the visitor center, maintenance, and engine house areas, without a special use permit.
  • No feed for stock animals shall be provided in the park.
  • No grazing of stock animals in the park.
  • Use of horses and pack animals is limited to the period between sunrise and sunset
  • Tethering of stock to any feature resulting in injury or damage to the feature, vegetation or soil is prohibited.
  • Horse and pack animal use in any part of the park may be prohibited when; at the discretion of the Superintendent such action is necessary to protect park values or visitors.
Limitations on stock use are required to protect native vegetation and minimize the introduction of exotic plants.

36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING

(a) The following portions of the park, buildings, structures and/or facilities are closed to smoking as noted:
  • Smoking is prohibited in all public buildings, structures or facilities, offices, last spike site amphitheater, and interpretive shelter.
  • Smoking is prohibited within 25 feet of any door, window or air intake of any building.
  • The following portions of the park, all public buildings, structures or facilities are closed to electronic cigarettes (“vaping”), all public building, offices, interpretive shelter, and last spike site amphitheater.
Limitations on smoking are required to protect non-smokers form second hand smoke and other hazardous and/or noxious emissions. During periods of high fire danger, the Superintendent may designate additional areas of the park as non-smoking.


(b) Recreation fees and/or permits, in accordance with 36 CFR part 71, are established for the following areas and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:

Entrance Fee Areas: are paid at the visitor center. No person shall use or visit the park without an entrance permit accept those on official business or local traffic passing through the park.


(a)(3)(i) All public use buildings are closed to the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages except during officially sanctioned activities when the building is closed to the general public.
  • The possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage and/or bottle, can, other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, is prohibited in all public use and administrative buildings.
The consumption of an alcoholic beverage or the possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage would be inappropriate considering the historic nature and cultural significance and sensitivity associated with these specific sites. In addition, it has been determined that these closures are necessary for the public safety, and to avoid conflicts in visitor use of the historic site.


(c)(2) The following locations are designated as available for demonstrations: See attached map below – Appendix A
  • The mowed field across the road from the visitor center parking lot.
  • A second area has been established in the field across from the decorative park sign, approximately 100 yards north of the railroad crossing located on Golden Spike Drive.

This action is necessary to comply with 36 CFR2.51 to provide a map showing locations available for public assembly activities. The areas provided should not unreasonably interfere with visitor services and should provide adequate public recognition for any public assembly activities.


(b) The sale or distribution of printed matter is allowed within park areas designated as available under §2.51(c)(2) (see above) when the superintendent has issued a permit.
  • The mowed field across the road from the visitor center parking lot.
  • A second area has been established in the field across from the decorative park sign, approximately 100 yards north of the railroad crossing located on Golden Spike Drive.

This action is necessary to comply with 36 CFR2.51 to provide a map showing locations available for public assembly activities. The areas provided should not unreasonably interfere with visitor services and should provide adequate public recognition for any public assembly activities.


(b) The scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a Letter of Permit, in the following areas and according to the following conditions:
  • There are no fees connected with scattering cremains but it is necessary to obtain permission (letter of permit) pursuant to 36 CFR 2.62(b).
  • The remains to be scattered must have been cremated and pulverized.
  • The chosen site must be 150 ft away from all park buildings, or historic sites, such as the Last Spike Site.
  • The chosen site must be away from other developed areas, e.g., roads, trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas, as well as away from a stream or other watercourse.
  • The ashes must be scattered and not deposited in any type of container. Cremains may not be buried, even without a container. The identifying tags and the containers in which the ashes are packaged by the crematory must be disposed of outside the park.
  • No marker or memorial of any sort may be placed or left at the site. The placement or planting of real or artificial flowers, memorial trees, brass markers, wooden crosses, etc. is prohibited.
  • No birds, butterflies, balloons, or objects, either natural or artificial may be released in conjunction with the scattering of cremains within the national park.
  • No scattering of remains from the air is to be performed over developed areas, facilities, or bodies of water.
  • Cremation must be accomplished in accordance with state law.
These limitations are necessary to ensure park resources and visitors are not impacted, while also allowing the Superintendent to consider requests of families wanting to scatter ashes.


(a)(b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:
  • All park dirt roads are designated at 15 mph.
Due to the character of park roads, dust, and visitor safety in these areas, the above speed limits are posted. Federal Regulations provides for a specified speed limit of 15 mph for parking areas, camp grounds, and other congested areas, such as parking lots, driveways, and service roads. This entry does not apply to State, county, or township-maintained roads.

36 CFR §4.30 – Bicycles


  • §4.30(a) The use of a bicycle is permitted on park roads and in parking areas that are otherwise open for motor vehicle use by the general public

Electric Bikes:

  • 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 in Golden Spike NHP 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). Traditional bicycles are allowed on the East and West Auto Tours unless the Auto Tour roads are closed.
  • Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within Golden Spike NHP 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.

Appendix A: Designated Area for First Amendment Activities

Map depicts two designated areas for first amendment activities.

First Amendment Plan Map
Golden Spike visitor center and engine house


Last updated: February 24, 2023

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