Special Use Permits
A Special Use Permit (SUP) is required for activities on park land, Coldwater Spring and nine river islands, that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large, and that require written authorization and some degree of management control in order to protect park resources and the public interest.
Examples include (but are not limited to) special events, organized runs, large gatherings, demonstrations, commercial photography, weddings, ceremonies, scattering of ashes, First Amendment activities, and rights-of-way/easements.
Special Use Permits are granted for a specific period of time and location. Certain fees, bonding and insurance requirements may apply.
How to Apply
Permit applications may be submitted through mail, telephone, e-mail, or in person at park headquarters. A completed application and the non-refundable application fee of $65 are required before an application can be processed. We suggest contacting us prior to applying.
The National Park Service WILL NOT issue a permit if the proposed activity:
The authority for the National Park Service to recover and retain costs associated with managing special park uses is found at 16 U.S.C. 3a and 31 U.S.C. 9701. Charges established for a special park use under this authority are intended to recover costs associated with managing that activity and not to generate revenue beyond actual costs incurred. If any additional costs are incurred, the permittee will be billed at the conclusion of the permit.
It is the policy of the National Park Service to encourage production to the fullest extent possible consistent with the protection of park resources and ensuring the enjoyment of those resources by the visiting public. A Commercial Photography permit is required. There is an $100 non-refundable application fee, possible performance bond (depending on the extent of the activity), location fees based on the size of the production, and reimbursement of all park costs in monitoring and administering the permit during production.
In addition to Cost Recovery, commercial photography are subject to a mandatory location fee. This fee is universal throughout the entire National Park Service.
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 are unconstitutional. The National Park Service is currently determining how this decision will be implemented.
Following the recent court decision, the National Park Service will not be implementing or enforcing the commercial filming portions of 43 CFR Part 5 until further notice, including accepting applications, issuing permits, enforcing the terms and conditions of permits, issuing citations related to permits, or collecting cost recovery and location fees for commercial filming activities.
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?
Currently, the National Park Service is not issuing commercial filming permits, but is in the process of evaluating how best to regulate filming activities that affect visitors and park resources. 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, and other staff associated with commercial 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.
Are filmers still required to pay fees to film in parks?
As of January 22, 2021, the National Park Service is no longer collecting application or location fees, or cost recovery for filming.
Last updated: February 5, 2021