Special Use Permits
Special use permits authorize activities that benefit an individual, group or organization, rather than the public at large; and that require written authorization and management control in order to protect the park resources and public interest. The following information applies to Fort Clatsop, Fort Clatsop Visitor Center and surrounding area and trails including the Fort to Sea Trail east of Highway 101, Middle Village/Station Camp, Dismal Nitch, Salt Works and Netul Landing. For special use permits for Fort Steven State Park, Ecola State Park and Fort to Sea Trail west of Highway 101 contact Oregon State Parks and Recreation. For special use permits for Cape Disappointment State Park and Fort Columbia State Park contact Washington State Parks and Recreation.
Activities and Events
Public spectator attractions, entertainment, and encampments may be permitted by the park when, in the determination of park staff:
- there is a meaningful association between the park area and the event; and
- the event will contribute to visitor understanding of the significance of the park area.
The National Park Service will not permit the public staging of special events that are:
Parking at Middle Village/Station Camp for Weddings at St. Mary's Church
A Special Event Permit is required to park at Middle Village/Station Camp when conducting a wedding at St. Mary's Church in McGowan, Washington.
The National Park Service conserves and protects areas of untold beauty, grandeur and historical importance for current and future generations. The tradition of capturing images of these special places started with explorers who traveled with paint and canvas or primitive cameras. Sharing these images helped inspire the creation of national parks. Today, visitors to national parks continue to memorialize their visits through filming and photography.
Effective October 28, 2022, the National Park Service rescinded interim guidance that was in place during litigation regarding commercial filming and has returned to longstanding laws and regulations governing commercial filming in parks. Questions and answers about filming and photography are provided below.
When is a permit needed under commercial filming?
Under federal law, all commercial filming that occurs within a unit of the National Park System requires a permit.
What is considered commercial filming?
"Commercial filming" means the film, electronic, magnetic, digital, or other recording of a moving image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience with the intent of generating income. Examples include, but are not limited to, feature film, videography, and documentaries. Commercial filming may include the advertisement of a product or service, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props.
Does commercial filming by individuals or small groups require a permit?
Federal law requires a permit for all commercial filming, no matter the size of the crew or the type of equipment. This includes individuals or small groups that don’t use much equipment, but generate revenue by posting footage on websites, such as YouTube and TikTok. The primary focus of the NPS, however, is on commercial filming that has the potential to impact park resources and visitors beyond what occurs from normal visitor use of park areas. Examples of this type of filming are productions that use substantial equipment such as sets and lighting, productions with crews that exceed 5 people, and filming in closed areas, wilderness areas, or in locations that would create conflicts with other visitors or harm sensitive resources. All filmers, no matter the size, must comply with all rules that apply in park areas, just like other visitors.
Does non-commercial filming require a permit?
Individual parks may require a permit for non-commercial filming if necessary to manage the activity, to protect park resources and values, minimize conflict between user groups, or to ensure public safety. Examples of non-commercial filming include, but are not limited to, filming for tourism bureaus, convention and visitor bureaus, student filming, and filming for personal use and enjoyment.If you have questions about whether a non-commercial film project requires a permit, please contact the Special Use Permit office email or (503) 861-4421.
In most cases, a permit is not necessary for visitors filming for personal enjoyment.
When is a permit needed for still photography?
In most cases, still photography does not require a permit. A permit is required for still photography only when:the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed;orthe activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location's natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities;or the National Park Service would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity. A “model” means a person or object that serves as the subject for still photography for the purpose of promoting the sale or use of a product or service. Models include, but are not limited to, individuals, animals, or inanimate objects, such as vehicles, boats, articles of clothing, and food and beverage products. Portrait subjects, such as wedding parties and high school graduates, are not considered models.
How do I apply for a permit?
Email or call (503) 861-4421 to be sent a Special Use Permit application. Early consultation with park staff will help them process the submitted application in a timely manner.
What fees will I have to pay for a permit?
Federal law requires the National Park Service to recover its administrative costs for commercial filming and still photography activities that require a permit. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in processing your request and monitoring the permitted activities. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of the permitted activities. The application fee must be submitted with your application.
In addition, Federal law also requires the National Park Service to collect a location fee that provides a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands for commercial filming and for still photography requires a permit. The National Park Service uses the following fee schedules for filming and photography:
1–2 people, camera & tripod only - $0/day
1–10 people - $150/day
11–30 people - $250/day
31–49 people - $500/day
Over 50 people - $750/day
1–10 people - $50/day
11–30 people - $150/day
Over 30 people - $250/day
Permits issued for non-commercial filming may be subject to cost recovery charges, including an application fee, but a separate location fee will not be charged.
What terms and conditions will the permit have?
Filming and photography permits will contain terms and conditions that are necessary to protect park resources and visitors. They will specify the location and time of the activity and the number of personnel and equipment that may be used. The permits also may require you to obtain liability insurance naming the United States as additionally insured in an amount commensurate with the risk posed to park resources by your proposed activity. You also may be required to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.
Filming Within Fort Clatsop
Due to the limited size and capacity of Fort Clatsop, we encourage filmers to notify the park ahead of time. The rooms in the fort are 16 ft (4.9m) by 10 ft (3m) with limited light and electricity. It may be beneficial to schedule filming either before or after the hours that the site is open to the public.
News coverage does not require a permit, but is subject to time, place, and manner restrictions, if warranted, to maintain order and ensure the safety of the public and the media and protect natural and cultural resources.
You must allow two weeks (excluding weekends and holidays) for the park to process your request.
A non-refundable application fee is required. Please send a personal check, cashier's check or money order payable to National Park Service or pay on site with a credit card. Additional administrative costs, cost recovery or facilities use cost may also be charged.
Permit Application for Activities/Events
Permit Application for Photography/Filming
For more information or questions on park facilities please contact: Special Permits at (503) 861-4421 or email