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:
Changes to Commercial Filming Permits on Park Land
On January 22, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Price v. Barr determining the permit and fee requirements applying to commercial filming under 54 USC 100905, 43 CFR Part 5, and 36 CFR Part 5.5 are unconstitutional. The National Park Service has issued interim guidance as of February 22, 2021, to manage filming activities. Under the interim guidance, filming activities may require a permit if they pose a threat to park resources or the visitor experience. The National Park Service intends to update regulations addressing filming activities that are consistent with the outcome of Price v. Barr. Once effective, those regulations will replace and supersede the interim guidance.
As regulations regarding commercial filming permits are being reassessed, those interested in commercial filming activities on land managed by the National Park Service are encouraged to contact the park directly for more information about filming in the park and to discuss how to minimize potential impacts to visitors and sensitive park resources.
Do I need a permit to film?
Under the interim guidance, the National Park Service is not distinguishing between types of filming, such as commercial, non-commercial, or news gathering. Low-impact filming activities will not require a special use permit, but non-low-impact filming may require a permit to consider its potential impacts on park resources and visitor activities.
“Low-impact filming’ is defined as outdoor filming activities in areas open to the public, except areas managed as wilderness, involving five people or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras. Those participating in low-impact filming activities do not need a permit and are not required to contact the park in advance. If low-impact filmers have questions about areas where they want to film, they should contact the park directly.
All applicable laws and regulations governing activities and public use in parks still apply, including park hours and areas open and closed to the public. Videographers, filmers, producers, directors, news and other staff associated with filming are reminded that rules and regulations that apply to all park visitors still apply to filming activities even if no permit is needed for their activity. Check with the park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.
Filming activities that do not meet the description of low-impact filming requires at least ten days advance notice to the National Park Service by contacting the park directly in writing. The park’s superintendent will determine whether the filming activity will require a special use permit for filming Based on the information provided, a permit may be required to:
Contact the park directly if unsure whether or not a filming activity is considered low-impact or will require a permit.
Are filmers still required to pay fees to film in parks?
As of January 22, 2021, and under the interim guidance the National Park Service is not collecting application or location fees, or cost recovery for filming activities.
Price v. Barr had no impact on how the National Park Service regulates still photography, so there are no changes in how the National Park Service regulates that activity. Still photographers require a permit only when:
The National Park Service will collect a cost recovery charge and a location fee for still photography permits. 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 your permit. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of your permit. The application fee must be submitted with your application.In addition, the National Park Service has been directed by Congress to collect a fee to provide a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands. The National Park Service uses the following still photography fee schedule:
You may be required 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 may also be asked to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.
What about photography workshops?
If you are planning a photography workshop, you may need a commercial use authorization. Click on the collapsible item below.
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, like those that do not involve the setup of equipment, the short form tor special park uses can be used. Otherwise please use the long form. If you have questions about permits or CUA’s, please email the Chief Ranger’s Office at e-mail us or call 978 318 7828 (this is a voicemail only line and is answered in the order received). Include as much detail as possible in all inquiries, AND when filling out your forms. This will help us process your permit quicker.
Application for Special Use Permit, short (form 10-930s)
Application for Special Use Permit (form 10-930)
Last updated: August 18, 2021