Laws & Policies

When you visit any of the 400 plus National Park Service sites, you are viewing an American treasure. These parks were created because they tell a unique story and have special meaning to us all. The laws that created these special places for us to own and enjoy also require that they be protected for the enjoyment of future generations. Help protect America's National Park sites by following policies, leaving everything in its place, and not defacing the natural or cultural resources. Other park visitors and future generations of Americans will thank you.

Trails and Grounds

Public use is restricted to established trails and mowed lawn areas. Mowed lawns are located adjacent to the Freeman School, Heritage Center, and Education Center where visitors are welcome to walk and explore.

All trails and grounds are closed to bicycles and motorized vehicles other than emergency vehicles and vehicles performing maintenance activities. An exception is a motorized wheelchair used for accessibility purposes. Other exceptions may be made through the Office of the Superintendent.

Recreational Activities

Overnight camping is prohibited in the park unless approved by the Superintendent.

Picnicking is allowed on mowed lawn areas and on established picnic table areas. Picnicking is prohibited in the restored tallgrass prairie and woodland areas and on all hiking and walking trails.

Fires (including charcoal) are prohibited unless approved by the Superintendent.

Hunting and trapping are prohibited at the park in its effort to protect wildlife. The viewing of wildlife with artificial light is also prohibited.

Boating is allowed only by written authorization from the Superintendent Office.

Fishing is authorized in accordance with Nebraska Fishing Regulations; a valid Nebraska fishing license is required.

Biking is prohibited except on roadways.

Winter Activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed and encouraged at Homestead National Historical Park, but may not leave the designated hiking/walking trails.


Pets are only allowed in parking lots and mowed lawn areas adjacent to the Education Center and Heritage Center. All pets must be leashed. Pets are prohibited in the prairie and woodland areas, all hiking/walking trails, all buildings, and in the community garden.

Service animals are an exception and are allowed in buildings and all areas of the Park where visitors are allowed.

The use of horses and pack animals on trails is prohibited. There may be exceptions for horses associated with park approved special events.

Gathering Consumable Resources

Edible plants may be gathered up to the amount that one immediate family could use in one day. A one gallon pail, per person, per day of the following may be gathered for personal use or consumption: Walnuts, wild strawberries, plums, asparagus, mulberries, mushrooms, gooseberries, hedge apples, rosehips, elderberries, choke cherries. Three gallons, or a common grocery bag, are allowed of hedge apples.

Gathering of all other natural resource items is prohibited unless a research permit is acquired and approved by the Superintendent.


Special events, weddings, public assemblies, meetings, certain commercial photography, sale or distribution of printed matter, sale of food or mechandise, and any other activities of organized groups require a written permit from the Superintendent. The permit must be approved prior to the event and can be designated to a specific area. Visitors may obtain additional information or permit applications by contacting the Office of the Superintendent, Homestead National Historical Park, 8523 West State Highway 4, Beatrice, Nebraska 68310-6743 (402) 223-3514. (or download an application below)

Application for Individual Special Use Permit
Application for Organization Special Use Permit

All buildings, grounds, and parking areas within the boundaries of Homestead National Historical Park are closed to all public use from sunset to sunrise. Permission for after hour events may be granted through the Office of the Superintendent.

Special Events and Gatherings

Permits must be obtained for any special events, including weddings, meetings, or any other activities of organized groups. The permit must be approved by the Superintendent prior to the event and can be designated to a specific area.

Public Expressions of Views and Printed Matter

Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, and other public expressions of views will be permitted if a permit has been issued and if they take place at locations designated to balance freedom of expression with the needs of park visitors to enjoy the park and its resources. The sale or distribution of printed matter will also be permitted at these locations.


A permit is required for research or collection of any plants, wildlife, fish, rocks, or minerals, except for consumable plants as noted above or for recreational fishing. Learn more about getting a research permit here.

Commercial Use Including Photograph and Filming

We welcome you take any family photos and senior photos here at Homestead, for which you do not need a permit or special approval.

We require a permit for commercial photography and filming. Visitors can obtain the applications for these permits by downloading them below. (Link to document)

Application for Commerical Filming/Still Photograph Permit (short)

Application for Commerical Filming/Still Photography Permit (long)

Guidelines for Commercial Use Authorization (CUA)
Visitors may obtain additional information or commercial use applications by contacting the Office of the Superintendent, Homestead National Historical Park, 8523 West State Highway 4, Beatrice, Nebraska 68310-6743 (402) 223-3514.

To receive an "Application for Temporary Food Establishment Permit" please email us and request an application be sent.

Lost and Found

Please turn any items found in to a Ranger and they will be kept in our Lost and Found. Please call or visit the park to have any lost items returned to you.

Food and Drinks

Food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages, are prohibited in all public facilities within Homestead National Historical Park unless authorized by the Superintendent.


Smoking is prohibited in all buildings and areas except for paved roads, concrete sidewalks, and parking lots.

Trash and Littering, Leave No Trace

Please do not litter; dispose of trash and recycling in receptacles around buildings.

Please practice Leave No Trace principles and leave all natural and outdoor areas as you found them.

Firearms, other weapons, and explosives

As of February 22, 2010, a federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws to legally possess firearms in this park. Refer to Section 512 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, Public Law 111-24, 123 Stat. 1764-65.

Park User Responsibility: It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearm laws before entering this park.

Review the Nebraska State Laws regarding firearms.

Federal law also prohibits firearms in certain facilities in this park; these places are marked with signs at all public entrances. Refer to 18 U.S.C. § 930.


To protect park resources and visitors, the possession of and/or use of fireworks, firecrackers, or black powder or explosives in the park is prohibited.

Superintendent's Compendium

For even more information, see the Superintendent's Compendium of Designations, Closures, Restrictions, and Public Use Limit, Permits, Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed under Discretionary Authority.

Last updated: November 6, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

8523 West State Highway 4
Beatrice, NE 68310


402 223-3514

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