Laws & Policies

Firearms in National Parks

The law governing possession of firearms inside a national park changed on February 22, 2010.

In areas administered by the National Park Service, an individual can possess a firearm if that individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm and if the possession of the firearm complies with the laws of the state where the park area is located. 54 U.S.C. 104906.

It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable Federal, state and local firearms laws and regulations, including laws authorizing or prohibiting concealed carry, before entering a national park.

Unless expressly authorized, Federal law prohibits the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon in National Park Service facilities. These buildings include, but are not limited to, government offices, visitor centers, ranger stations, fee collection buildings, and maintenance facilities. 18 U.S.C. 930.

Additional information on firearms in national parks is available at

Superintendent's Compendium

Here you will find the 2019 Superintendent’s Compendium Of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority. Approved by Tina Cappetta, Superintendent of Hampton National Historic Site. A PDF version of the 2019 compendium is also available to download. E-bike addendum October 2019.

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 Hampton National Historic Site. 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.


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

Visiting Hours:

  • The park, or portions of the park, may be closed at any time for emergency or security reasons in order to protect the welfare of staff and visitors.
  • Entering or remaining in the park outside of posted hours is prohibited.
  • Park roads and parking lots are open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Pedestrians may visit the park grounds from dawn to dusk daily, including holidays.
  • Park gates will be closed and vehicles may not enter the park on the following holidays:
    • Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in Nov)
    • Christmas Day (Dec 25)
    • New Year’s Day (Jan 1)
  • Buildings may be open to the public for interpretive services as staffing permits Thursday through Sunday, except on the above holidays.

The above visiting hours are based upon a determination that such hours are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety, the protection of natural and cultural resources, and the implementation of management responsibilities.

Public Use Limits:
  • Eating, drinking, chewing gum, and the use of smokeless tobacco products are prohibited in all buildings with the following exceptions:
    • Established employee break rooms
    • During activities under permit issued by the Superintendent.
    • The Orangery
  • To provide for public safety all persons and vehicles entering the park are subject to search for explosive or terrorist devices and illegal weapons.
The above public use limits are based upon a determination that such limits are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety and the protection of natural and cultural resources.

  • All buildings within the park are closed to public use except for regularly scheduled and conducted activities or as allowed by a permit.
  • All trails are closed to motorized vehicles unless their operators have received appropriate authority from the Superintendent or his/her representative. This includes mopeds operating under power of a motor. Handicapped visitors are authorized to use motorized wheelchairs, segways, or vehicles in this area with authorization from the Superintendent or their designee.
  • Parking areas are closed to all busses other than those arriving loaded, with Hampton NHS as a destination for their occupants.
  • Parking areas are closed to all vehicles whose passengers will leave the site grounds for more than one hour.
  • Employee residences located at Hampton NHS are closed to public access.
  • Maintenance facilities and areas are closed to public access.
  • The buildings and grounds may be closed to entry by the general public carrying backpacks, daypacks, large handbags, packages, coolers, or other large containers. These items are subject to search and inspection for weapons or items hazardous to visitors or staff. These provisions address terrorist concerns following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
  • The use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (VAPES, E-cigs, etc) is prohibited anywhere smoking is prohibited within the park (Buildings, within 25 ft of any doorway)
  • Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Hampton National Historic Site is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.
  • The park is closed to the following activities:
    • Racing
    • Skating (including inline skating)
    • Motorized scooters
    • Skateboarding
    • Rock climbing
    • Launching, landing or operating all unmanned aircraft
    • Volleyball, badminton, and other net games
    • Golf practice
    • Horseshoes
    • Lawn darts
    • Winter Activities including sledding, skiing, snow boarding
    • Organized games or team sports such as baseball, football, soccer, or variations of such games using Frisbees or similar devices
    • Recreational type activities that involve leaving property behind or affixing items to park property for other visitors to discover. Ex- Geo-caches, letterboxing, munzee barcodes, etc. See also 36 CFR §2.22
    • Other games or activities that damage park resources or present public safety hazards
    • Competitive events are only permitted under a permit issued by the Superintendent in accordance with §2.50(a)

The above closures are based upon a determination that such closures are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety, the protection of environmental values, the protection of natural and cultural resources, the implementation of management responsibilities, the equitable allocation and use of facilities and the avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities.

(a)(2) The following areas have been designated for a specific use or activity and/or the following conditions or restrictions are imposed on a specific use or activity:
  • Picnicking is only allowed in the designated Picnic Areas as designated on the attached map. See also 36 CFR § 2.11.
  • Motor vehicles must shut down their engines when not underway. This condition is adopted from Maryland State Vehicle Code § 21-1101 -- Unattended motor vehicle.

The above designations are based upon a determination that such conditions are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety, protection of environmental values, protection of natural or cultural resources and the equitable allocation and use of facilities.

(a)(3) The following restrictions, limits, closures, designations, conditions, or visiting hour restrictions imposed under §§(a)(1) or (2) have been terminated:
Martin Luther King, Jr Day and Washington’s Birthday Holidays have been removed from the list of days when vehicles may not enter the park

The above designations are based upon a determination that such conditions are necessary for the protection of natural and cultural resources and the implementation of management responsibilities.

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 Permit Office for Hampton NHS is located at Fort McHenry NM&HS.

Applications for Special Use permits can be obtained by contacting the Permit Office:

Fort McHenry NM&HS
c/o: Permit Office
2400 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230
410-962-4290 x115

(a)(4) Using or possessing wood gathered from within the park area is prohibited.

(a)(5) Walking on, climbing, entering, ascending, descending, or traversing an archeological or cultural resource, monument, or statue is prohibited, except in the following areas and/or under the following conditions:
  • Only permitted under a permit issued by the Superintendent
(a)(7) Possessing or using a mineral or metal detector, magnetometer, side scan sonar, other metal detecting device, or sub bottom profiler is prohibited.

(b) Leaving a trail or walkway to shortcut between portions of the same trail or walkway, or to shortcut to an adjacent trail or walkway in violation of designated restrictions is prohibited.

Under (a), collecting natural materials from the park is generally prohibited. However, pursuant to (c), the following fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions:
    • Walnuts, dandelion greens, and ginko fruit may be gathered by hand from the ground for personal consumption. One peck per person per day may be gathered. Leaves and pinecones may be collected from the ground for educational purposes. Tree climbing is prohibited.
(a)(1) The taking of wildlife is prohibited.
(b) Hunting and trapping is prohibited.
(d) Transporting wildlife through the park is prohibited.

36 CFR §2.3 – FISHING
(a) Fishing is not allowed within the boundaries of the park.
Pursuant to 18 USC § 930, firearms are prohibited in federal facilities. Federal facilities are marked with signs at public entrances.

Pursuant to 54 USC 104906, park visitors may carry firearms in the Park if they are otherwise in compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

Traps and nets are prohibited except as permitted by the Superintendent or his/her designee.

Taking plants, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals is prohibited except in accordance with 36 CFR chapter 1 or the terms and conditions of a specimen collection permit pursuant to § 2.5(a).

(a) Camping is not allowed within the boundaries of the park.

As listed in 36 CFR § 1.5 of this document, picnicking is only allowed in the designated Picnic Areas (see attached map).

Under § 2.12 (a) the following are prohibited:
  1. Operating motorized equipment, machinery, audio device, or musical instrument in a manner that makes unreasonable noise.
  2. Operating a power saw in developed areas is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.
  3. Operating any type of portable motor or engine, or device powered by a portable motor or engine in non-developed areas is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.
  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, except when authorized by the Superintendent.

(a)(2) The use of stoves or lanterns is prohibited, except when authorized by the Superintendent.

(a)(2) Using park refuse receptacles or facilities for dumping household, commercial or industrial refuse is prohibited.

(b) Conditions for the disposal, containerization, or carryout of human body waste have been established as follows:
  • All waste must be disposed of in designated human waste facilities.
36 CFR §2.15 – PETS
(a)(1) Possessing pets in public buildings, public transportation vehicles, swimming beaches, and the following structures and/or areas is prohibited:
  • Pets are not permitted in the cemetery or the fenced yard of the lower house. Pets may be walked in other parts of the park while kept on a leash that does not exceed six feet in length.
  • This restriction does not apply to service animals. The NPS will use the same definition of service animal currently found in DOJ regulations 28 CFR 36.104 and will not rely on 36 CFR 2.15. Service animals will be allowed wherever visitors or employees are allowed when accompanying a person with a disability.

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

(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:
  • Owners/handlers shall place pet excrement in an appropriate refuse container.
(b) The use of dogs in support of hunting is prohibited.

(e) Pets may be kept by park residents under the following conditions
  • Pets may be kept by residents of government quarters in accordance with park pet policy.
(b) The use of horses or pack animals is prohibited except with written permission from the Superintendent. No trails, routes, or areas are designated for their use.

(c)(1) The removal of a downed aircraft, components, or parts thereof is subject to procedures established by the Superintendent through written authorization.

(c) The use of snowmobiles is prohibited.

(a) Skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, innertubing, tobogganing, and similar winter sports are prohibited in the park.

(b) The towing of persons on skis, sleds, or other similar devices by motor vehicle or snowmobile is prohibited.

Using roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices is prohibited. Limitations are necessary for visitor safety along roadways and to avoid conflicts with other park users.

36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING
(a) The following portions of the park, or all or portions of buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking as noted:
  • Smoking is prohibited within of all park buildings. Permanent employee residences are excluded.
  • Smoking is prohibited immediately adjacent of any park building doors.

These restrictions are consistent with federal law and have been determined to protect park resources, reduce the risk of fire, and prevent conflicts among visitor use activities.

36 CFR §2.22 – PROPERTY
(a)(2) Leaving property unattended for periods longer than 24 hours is prohibited, except with the permission of the Superintendent.

(b) Recreation fees, and/or a permit, in accordance with 36 CFR part 71, are established for the following entrance fee 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:
  • There are no recreation fees for Hampton NHS.

Daily Site Use Fee Areas:
    • Hampton NHS has no daily use fees apart from those which fall under the Special Use Permit

Special Recreation Permit Fee (Such as but not limited to, group activities, recreation events, and the use of motorized recreation vehicles):
  • Special Use Permit Application Fee - $100.00
  • Land use for parades, rallies, ceremonies, celebrations, pageants
(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to 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:
  • All areas of Hampton National Historic Site, are closed to the consumption of alcoholic beverages or the possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage with the following exceptions:
    • Picnic Areas
    • Park residences and curtilage
  • During activities conducted under a permit from the Superintendent
This closure is implemented following the determination that the consumption and possession of alcohol within Hampton National Historic Site would be inappropriate considering other uses of the location and the purpose for which the park is maintained and was established.

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.

(a) Using, possessing, storing, or transporting explosives, blasting agents or explosive materials is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

(b) Using or possessing fireworks and firecrackers is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

(a) Sports events, pageants, regattas, public spectator attractions, entertainments, ceremonies, and similar events are allowed, provided there is a meaningful association between the park area and the events, and the observance contributes to visitor understanding of the significance of the park area, and a permit therefore has been issued by the superintendent.
  • The National Park Service will charge fees and recover costs for special use permits unless prohibited by law or Executive order, or when the proposed use is protected by the First Amendment or involves another right and not a privilege. Charges will reflect the fair market value of the use requested. Hampton NHS will retain funds recovered for the cost of managing a special park use. A permittee, while on park property, may not collect admission or any other money associated with a special event. All permittee monetary transactions must take place outside the park.
(b) Demonstrations of 25 people or less are allowed within the park areas designated as available under (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:
  • The West Field and north of the Mansion as designated on the attached map. These areas are in prominent view of the visiting public and will not interfere with public access to the park.
(b) The sale or distribution of printer 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.
  • These activities are also allowed in the West Field and north of the Mansion as designated on the attached map.
(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.

(b) The scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited at Hampton NHS, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit issued by the superintendent.

36 CFR §4.2 – State Law Applicable
(a) Unless specifically addressed by regulations in this chapter, traffic and the use of vehicles within a park area are governed by State law. State law that is now or may later be in effect is adopted and made a part of the regulations in this part.

(b) Violating a provision of State law is prohibited.

(a) The following load, weight and size limits, which are more restrictive than State law, apply to the roads indicated under the terms and conditions, and/or under permit as noted:
  • N/A
(b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:
  • The speed limit in the park is 15 mph.
36 CFR §4.30 – BICYCLES
(a) The use of a bicycle, e-bike is permitted on park roads and in parking areas that are otherwise open for motor vehicle use by the general public. These roads include:
  • Main Road
  • Farm Road
(b) Bicycle/e-bike use is permitted on the following administrative roads:
  • Stable Lane
  • Heart Shaped Drive
  • Historic Entrance Road
  • Cemetery Road
.(d)(3) Riding a bicycle/e-bike abreast of another rider is not allowed in the park.

Hitchhiking or soliciting transportation is prohibited.

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.

Engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas requires a permit, contract or other written agreement with the United States, or must be specifically authorized under special regulations.

(a) Before any motion picture, television production, or sound track may be made within the park by any person other than bona fide newsreel or news television personnel, written permission must be obtained from the Superintendent. .
  • Taking photography of vehicles, models, or other articles of commerce for the purpose of commercial advertising requires a written permit from the Superintendent.

(b) & (c) Using commercial vehicles on government roads within 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 issued by the Superintendent.

Such activities, including tents, canopies, and other ground penetration, are prohibited, except in accordance with the provisions of a valid permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States.

CCTV Use Policy
The National Park Service’s use of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) for law enforcement and security purposes will only be to visually monitor public park areas and public activities where no constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy exists. Such CCTV use - which will have adequate privacy and First Amendment safeguards – will be to help ensure public safety and security; facilitate the detection, investigation, prevention and deterrence of terrorist attack and crime; help ensure the safety of citizens and officers; help assist in the proper allocation and deployment of law enforcement and public safety resources; help facilitate the protection of the innocent and the apprehension and prosecution of criminals.

This policy does not restrict the official use of CCTV in government administrative areas including administrative buildings, jail holding facilities, revenue collection sites, etc, where the government may record/monitor its facilities. For example, the government may perform unrestricted video/audio recording at revenue collection points (entrance stations, visitor center counters, etc). This policy does not restrict the use of Mobile Audio/Video Recording Equipment (MVRE) in patrol vehicles driven by commissioned law enforcement rangers; that use is addressed in other policy documents, RM-9, Chapter 26, Section 1.

This information is included as required by RM-9, Chapter 26, Section 4.6


Last updated: October 9, 2019

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Towson, MD 21286



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