First Amendment Activities

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

First Amendment Activities Explained

Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. People may exercise these rights in national parks, but the National Park Service still retains its responsibility to protect park resources and prevent conflict among park visitors. Therefore, the National Park Service establishes guidelines for setting the time, place and manner (number of participants, use of facilities and type of equipment) for the events to occur.

  • By law, the National Park Service has established places in parks where First Amendment activities can be accommodated. These areas are visible to the general visiting public without interfering with the public's enjoyment of the park. These areas are identified in the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park Superintendent's Compendium. While the National Park Service regulates aspects of the activity to protect park resources, it never regulates the content of the message.
  • All requests for similar activities are treated equally. As long as requirements are met, no group wishing to assemble lawfully will be discriminated against or denied the right of assembly.

The necessity of a permit to conduct First Amendment activities is determined by the group size.

A small group is defined as 25 people or less. A small group is not required to obtain a First Amendment Permit if they are located within a park designated First Amendment site and have no more than leaflets, booklets, and/or hand-held signs. A permit is required for any small group that:

  • wants to hold a demonstration or distribute and/or sell printed matter somewhere outside a designated First Amendment area.
  • wants to use equipment (i.e., tables, banners, platforms, etc.) even if it is within a designated area.
  • is merely an extension of another group already availing itself of the 25 person maximum.
  • wants to guarantee they will have priority for the use of a location, including the designated First Amendment areas.

A large group is defined as more than 25 people and is required to obtain a First Amendment Permit even if they are utilizing a park designated First Amendment site.

There are no fees or costs associated with Permits issued for First Amendment activities.

Types of First Amendment Activities

  • Religious services or ceremonies
  • Press conference
  • Press coverage of breaking news
  • Voter registration
  • Collecting signatures on petitions or voter initiatives
  • Public demonstration, picketing, assembly or rally for expressing opinion and views
  • Sale or distribution of printed material related to free expression of opinion

Type of Activities that are NOT covered by the First Amendment

  • Church picnic or social gathering
  • Wedding ceremonies or receptions
  • Political fund raiser or other invitation-only political activity or event
  • Solicitation of donations
  • Community parades, athletics, or sporting events
  • Sale of message-bearing clothing, arts and crafts, or similar merchandise

Many of these activities can be accommodated through the Special Use Permit system for which a fee may be charged.

Before your event, please contact:

Special Park Uses Coordinator
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
P.O. Box 329
Johnson City, TX 78636
(830) 868-7128
Email

Last updated: February 26, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 329
Johnson City , TX 78636

Phone:

830 868-7128

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