Special Use Permits

A special use permit 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. The National Park Service may permit a special park use providing the activity will not cause a derogation of the park’s resources or values, visitor experiences, or the purpose for which the park was established.

Special Events: A special use permit is required of activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization, rather than the public at large. These activities require some degree of management from the National Park Service in order to protect park resources and the public interest. Some examples of special events that require permit are:
  • Festivals
  • Private gatherings, involving 25 or more people, such as company picnics, family reunions, etc.
  • Cultural Programs
  • Ceremonies
  • Concerts
  • Public spectator attractions
  • Sporting events
Aircraft and Air Delivery: Delivery of a person or object by parachute, helicopter, hot air balloon, or other airborne means requires a special use permit.

Commercial Filming

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.

Still Photography

When is a permit needed?

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:

  1. the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
  2. the activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location's natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or
  3. a park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.

First Amendment Activities: Freedom of speech, the press, religion, and assembly are constitutional rights. The courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect park resources. The necessity of a permit to conduct First Amendment activities is determined by the group size.

A small group is defined as “25 people or less.” A “small group” is not required to obtain a Special Use Permit if they are located within a park designated First Amendment area and have no more than leaflets, booklets, and/or handheld signs. A permit is required for any small group that:
  • Wants to hold a demonstration or distribute and/or sell printed matter outside a designated First Amendment area
  • Wants to use equipment (i.e. tables, banners, platforms, etc.,) even if it is within a designated area.
  • Wants to use public address system or amplification system in connection with the gathering
  • Is merely an extension of another group already availing itself of the 25-person maximum
  • Wants to guarantee they will have priority for the use of the location, including the designated First Amendment areas
A Large group is defined as “more than 25 people” and is required to obtain a Special Use Permit even if they are utilizing a park designated First Amendment area.

Some examples of First Amendment activities are:
  • Distribution and/or sale of printed matter
  • Religious services
  • Public demonstrations or assemblies
  • Collecting signatures for petitions
  • Holding vigils
The National Park Service will not impose requirements for application fees, monitoring and management fees, insurance, bonding, or any other conditions requiring financial expenditures for First Amendment activities.
A permit for First Amendment activities will be issued or denied within 10 business days of receipt of a complete application.

For the protection of Natchez National Historical Park's historic buildings and the contents within; no special use activites are permitted inside of any historic structure.

The park is closed to all visitors on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day, therefore no special use activiites are to be permitted on these days.

The park does not have the staffing levels to support more than one special use activity per day. All special use applications will be processed on a first-come basis.

Application Fee: All permit applications, except for First Amendment activities, must be accompanied by a $150.00 application fee. The park accepts checks or money orders made payable to the National Park Service. This non-refundable application fee reflects the minimum actual costs incurred by the park in processing the application and administrative costs. Complex activities or activities requiring more than basic NEPA and Section 106 compliance, may cause the park to incur more than the initial $150.00 application fee. The park will bill the applicant for any additional costs incurred in processing the application even if the application is denied. This fee does not guarantee that you will be able to have your event at Natchez National Historical Park.

Monitoring and Management Fees: The National Park Service must recover costs associated with the management of a private event. Personnel and other costs are determined by the type and scope of activity, the location, the time of day, the utilities used, and other factors. Each permit will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and the applicant will be notified of an estimate of charges prior to the event. However, the park will track all costs associated with the permit for which the permitee will be responsible for.

Still Photography: In addition to the application fee and the monitoring and management fees the park is mandated to collect location fees for commercial filming and still photography permits. Location fees are based on the number of people associated with the permit and the length of the permit. The current location fee schedule is as follows:

Still Photography
1 - 10 people $50/day
11 - 30 people $150/day
over 30 people $250/day

Are there other permit requirements? 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. See the commercial use authorization page for more information.


First Amendment Activities Exceptions: The National Park Service will not impose requirements for application fees, monitoring and management fees, insurance, bonding, or any other conditions requiring financial expenditures for First Amendment activities.

Each special use permit issued is based upon general conditions that protect visitor access, safety, and park values and resources. Other permit conditions may be imposed depending upon the proposed activity and the park area which it is held.

Insurance: Most events will require the permitee to carry commercial general liability insurance. The minimum insurance requirement is $1 million per occurrence/$1 million aggregate. The certificate of insurance shall name the United States of America as “additionally insured and the National Park Service should be listed as the certificate holder. This certificate must be received by the park at least seven days before the start of the permit.

Bonding: Events with potential participant impact will require the permitee to post a performance bond. The bond is refundable unless the deposit must be used, in whole or in part, for site cleanup, trash removal, property damage, or becuase the permitee fails to comply with permit conditions.

Requests for event dates are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis up to one year in advance. The park will not issue more than one event per day. An event is not placed on the park’s calendar until a completed application form, accompanied by the $150 application fee, is received and reviewed by the park.

Download the Special Use Permit Application

Please be sure to provide as much detail as possible. Submitting information regarding maps, dates/times, equipment, and locations will help speed up the review process.

All applications must be postmarked 30 days or greater prior to the start date of the proposed activity to be conducted in the park. The non-refundable application fee may be paid by check or money order payable to the "National Park Service." Mail the completed application with the non-refundable $150.00 application fee (application fee not required for First Amendment activities) to:

Natchez National Historical Park
Special Use Coordinator
640 South Canal Street, Suite E
Natchez, MS 39120

Natchez National Historical Park
Special Use Coordinator
640 South Canal Street, Suite E
Natchez, MS 39120

Phone: (601) 442-7047
e-mail us

Last updated: April 16, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

640 South Canal Street
Suite E

Natchez, MS 39120

Phone:

(601) 446-5790
Hours are 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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