Special Use Permits (SUPs)
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 with over 25 participants require special use permits, and the park may regulate the time, place, and manner in which they are conducted. First Amendment activities with less than 25 participants who utilize designated areas do not require a permit. Some examples of special events that require permits are:
When is a permit needed for 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 park where you intend to film in advance.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:
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: Commercial Filming
What about photography workshops?
If you are planning a photography workshop as part of a business, you may need a commercial use authorization. Click on the tab below, Commercial Use Authorizations, for more information.
A commercial use is defined as any activities, services, agreements, or anything offered to park visitors and/or the general public for recreational purposes which uses park resources or is undertaken for or results in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit to an individual, organization, or corporation, whether or not such entity is organized for purposes recognized as non-profit under local, state, or federal law.You are required to apply for a CUA if any of the following apply:
Due to the complexity associated with managing all the facets of most traditional wedding ceremonies Minute Man NHP does not generally issue permits (or allow) for traditional weddings in the park. Small ceremonies like weddings or military ceremonies with a total size of 10 people including participants and witnesses/guests, are allowed without a permit under the following conditions:
The North Bridge, and vicinity, is a site of national significance and has become a major focus of historical programming, contemplation and commemoration. As such, it is one the most frequently sought out locations for Special Uses at Minute Man NHP. Minute Man NHP restricts the use of the North Bridge, the area adjacent to the monuments, and the benches by the North Bridge, so as to best preserve and reserve that space for historical interpretation. Except for NPS, Town of Concord, or certain other official government activities, permits issued for Special Uses by the North Bridge, the Monuments, or the benches are issued for only “after hours” (generally 6pm or later), or rarely, very early in the morning. Exceptions to these guidelines are rarely granted due to the exceptional value the activity represents for the visitors or the park.
In most cases, a permit for any activity that is conducted in the area of the North Bridge will include a condition that NPS staff will be present during the activity in order to protect the resource and help assure that the permitted activity does not unduly interfere with visitation by the general public.
For small events including filming activities, like those that do not involve the setup of substantial equipment or involve large numbers of staff or participants, the short form can be used. Otherwise please use the long form. For those interested in still photography permits please contact the Chief Ranger’s Office for that form.
If you have questions about permits or CUA’s, or would like to submit a permit request, please email the Chief Ranger’s Office at e-mail us or call 978 318 7828 (this is a voicemail only line and is checked twice weekly). When you inquire via email or phone, please include the following information. This will help us get you feedback quickly on whether your activity can be considered.
Next, you will receive a response from the permit office with the correct forms for your specific request. Please note that submitting your completed forms back to us electronically will decrease the processing time of your application and will increase your chances of getting your first-choice dates and times. FEES: In most cases an application fee will be assessed for all permitted activities except those noted above, and for permits involving a partnership with the National Park Service. Currently, Minute Man only accepts checks (personal checks, cashier's checks, business checks). Payment must be submitted by US Mail separately and made out to the "National Park Service." Permits will be issued once that payment is received.
Last updated: December 6, 2022