For information on boat tours, mill & trolley tours, and other programs offered at the park, please visit our Guided Tours page. Reservations are recommended for most tours. Please call (978) 970-5000 for more information.
Special Park Use Permits
Lowell National Historical Park is a unique national park which which often hosts numerous events and activities. Most special events and activities held in the park require a special use permit, issued only after the National Park Service (NPS) determines that the activities involved will not impair park values and resources. Please note that there are usage limits for the number of people and vehicles for any special activity.
For more information on permits and applications, you can contact the park at (978) 275-1700, by email, or by mail: Special Use Permit Coordinator 67 Kirk Street, Lowell, MA 01852
A special use permit is required for activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large and that require some degree of management from the National Park Service to protect park resources and the public interest. Some examples of special events that require permits are:
A permit may be required for photography involving models, sets, or props. There may be a non-refundable application fee, and permit issuance fee. Other fees may apply.
In most cases, still photography does not require a permit. A permit is required for still photography only when:
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, if the image will not be used to promote or sell a product or service.
Under federal law, all commercial filming that occurs within a unit of the National Park System requires 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.
First Amendment Activities
Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are constitutional rights. However, the courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect park resources. Therefore, all first amendment activities require special use permits and the NPS may regulate the time, place, and manner in which they are conducted. Some examples of special events that require permits are:
Other activities may require permits if there is the potential for interference with visitor use, congestion of a highly visited area, or possible impact on park resources.
Last updated: June 1, 2023