Certain activities within all National Park Service areas require a special use permit. This enables the National Park Service to ensure safety and also monitor and regulate the use of parks while it simultaneously conserves the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife within park boundaries
You generally do NOT need a permit for your personal, noncommercial filming and photography activities within normal visitation areas and hours. However, filming outside normal visitation hours and all commercial filming requires a permit. Please see the "Definitions and Requirements" section for more information.
Note: Please submit your special use permit application at least one month before the date of your desired activity. Do NOT submit an application before calling or emailing Anne DeGraaf to discuss your desired activity. It's possible that we might not be able to honor your request, and/or your desired date/time/location is already taken.
Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs): Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105-391, authorizes (but does not require) NPS, upon request, to issue commercial use authorizations to persons (referring to individuals, corporations, and other entities) to provide commercial services to park visitors in limited circumstances. CUAs, although used to authorize commercial services to park visitors, are NOT Concession Contracts. They are intended to provide a simple means to authorize suitable commercial services to visitors in the park in the limited circumstances in the legislation. Note that it is extremely uncommon for Morristown National Historical Park to issue a CUA. Contact Anne DeGraaf with questions you have regarding CUAs.
You can contact Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 973-539-2016 x 201, Monday –Friday, 8 am to 4 pm, Eastern Time.
Costs and Process
Applications require a $75.00 non-refundable application fee. Other fees may apply as well. Information provided on applications is used to determine whether a permit will be issued. You will be notified of the disposition of the application and the steps to secure a final permit. Please allow a minimum of four weeks for processing.
DEFINITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
Special Activities, Wedding Photos, Weddings, and Other Portrait Photography
A special activity, or special park use, is a short-term activity that takes place in a park area and:
- Provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large.
- Requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the NPS in order to protect park resources and the public interest.
- Is not prohibited by law or regulation.
- Is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the National Park Service.
Please note that ALL wedding photos and weddings require a permit and can only occur at the Cross Estate Gardens area of Morristown National Historical Park. Please use the standard Special Use Permit application form 10-930 for wedding photo and wedding requests.
Other portrait photography sessions (e.g., family portraits, engagement and anniversary photos, etc.) might or might not require a permit, depending upon the activity's potential to damage the natural and cultural resources, be disruptive to other visitors, or need to be managed. If the event is determined to not need a permit, you will still be asked to agree to a list of conditions to help protect the park's resources and other visitors' experience. Please contact Anne DeGraaf to discuss your desired activity.
Commercial Filming, Still Photography, and Breaking News
Commercial filming requires a permit and is defined as 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, television broadcast, or documentary, or other similar projects. Commercial filming activities might include the advertisement of a product or service, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props.
Most still photography does not require a permit.
HOWEVER, still photography activities require a permit when:
- The still photography activity uses models, sets or props;
- The still photography activity takes place in an area where or when members of the public are not allowed;
- The agency would incur costs for providing on-site management and oversight to protect agency resources and minimize visitor use conflicts.
Breaking news is an event that cannot be covered at any other time or place. Sound technicians, and film or video news crews at breaking news events do not require a film permit. However, breaking news events are subject to restrictions and conditions necessary to protect park resources and public health and safety, and to prevent impairment or derogation of park resources and values.
First Amendment Rights
Groups of less than 25 participants may exercise their First Amendment Rights without a permit. These small groups may assemble peacefully, however, they must be in a designated First Amendment area. These areas are designated to protect the safety of the participants, as well as park visitors and park resources. For a list of these locations, please see the Superintendent's Compendium.
Groups larger than 25 participants may still exercise their rights, however a permit with conditions will be required. There are no fees or cost recovery associated with permits issued for First Amendment assemblies. Conditions are required to protect the participants as well as park visitors and park resources. In no way will conditions be imposed to restrict the rights of the permit holder. The National Park Service is content neutral in regards to any First Amendment Activity.
General National Park Service Information on Permits