To best manage park resources the National Park Service requires most activities to obtain a permit. A Special Use Permit is required for activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization, and for activities that require the use of a designated park location for a specific purpose and length of time. The National Park Service only permits activities which are appropriate to the purpose for which the park was established, and for activities which can be sustained without causing unacceptable impacts to park resources.
Please read the information below to determine which application needs to be completed. Each park location may have different regulations. Please visit each locations webpage to determine the site specific requirements.
Type 1 - Events
Reoccurring casual sports activities, picnics, weddings, and family celebrations require Special Use Permits and are processed through the National Capital Parks-East Permits Office. These types of Special Use Permits require park officials to recover all costs associated with the permitted activity.
Type 2 – Special Events
All other events including but not limited to demonstrations, entertainment, charity events, races, tournaments, community events, educational activities and training/career events will be processed through the Regional Park Program Office. For more information and Special Use Permit Applications issued throughout the Capitol Region please visit National Capital Region Permits Office webpage.
Type 3 - Construction, Research, and Utilities
All parks are part of the community around them, and certain activities can have an impact on park resources. These activities often involve access, infrastructure, research. Permitting needs for these activities can be very specific and require close coordination between the permittee and the park. Research permits go through the National Park Service Research Permit and Reporting System. For any activities concerning access, construction, ground disturbance, or commercial vehicle use, please complete a Special Use Permit Application and contact National Capital Parks East headquarters at (202) 690-5185. For right of way permits, including those involving utilities, please contact the National Capital Region right-of-way coordinator.