Special Park Use Permits

Special Park Use Permits

“The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations.” - NPS Mission Statement

A special park use is defined as an activity that takes place in a park area and:

  • provides a benefit to an individual, group or organization rather than the public at large;

  • requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the National Park Service in order to protect park resources and the public interest;

  • is not prohibited by law or regulation;

  • is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the National Park Service (NPS); and

  • is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease;

  • is a short term activity.

Hot Springs National Park receives requests from individuals and groups seeking to use the park for various private uses. The park has the authority and responsibility to evaluate applicant requests, permit, manage, and/or deny all special uses within the park. Therefore, before any permit will be granted, consideration will be given to potential park resource impacts, as well as impacts to visitor use, access to park sites, or park administration.

The National Park Service may permit a special park use if the proposed activity will not:

  • cause injury, damage or impairments to park resources;

  • be contrary to the park’s purpose for which the park was established and the mission of the NPS;

  • unreasonably impair the atmosphere of peace and tranquility maintained in wilderness, natural, historic, or commemorative locations within the park;

  • interfere with visitor use, access, and programs;

  • interfere with park management or administration;

  • interfere with concession operations or other public facilities;

  • present a clear and present danger to public health and safety.

All permit activities must meet National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements and go through an environmental screening process.

There are cost recovery fees associated with the administration and management of special use permits.

Special Park Use guidelines state:

It is the policy of the NPS to charge permit fees for special uses. Permit fees should reflect the fair market value of a benefit provided the permittee. The fair market value of a special use is the value of the lands or facilities used and the NPS cost incurred in managing, facilitating, or supporting the use.

For more information about Special Use Permits; contact us by e-mail


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    General Special Use Permits

    Special events are activities, such as organized group events, rallies, walks, runs, and other events. Learn more here.

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    Commercial Filming & Still Photography

    You need a permit for both commercial filming and for still photography. Learn more about the guidelines here.

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    First Amendment Activities

    Freedom of speech, press, religion, & assembly are constitutional rights. Permits for activities are determined by group size. Learn more.

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    Cost Recovery Charges

    Learn more about the fees and costs associated with special park use permits.

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Permits & Reservations

Need a permit for a special event? Or a research permit? Learn more here.

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Laws & Policies

Know the laws and policies before coming to the Park.

Last updated: March 29, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

101 Reserve Street
Hot Springs, AR 71901


501 620-6715

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