Special Use Permits

paperwork that is required for applying for a permit


Providing opportunities for appropriate public enjoyment is an important part of the National Park Service mission. Approval of any special uses of the park-unrelated to public enjoyment-may be allowed if not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation. However, the National Park Service can only allow uses that are (1) appropriate to the purpose for which the park was established, and (2) can be sustained without causing unacceptable impacts.

Permitting Conditions

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 site on which it is held. Most events will require a certificate of insurance to ensure liability coverage for operations, personal injury, property damage and loss, and other necessary categories. For events with potential participant impact, permittees must 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 because the permittee fails to comply with permit conditions. A tax ID or Social Security number is required from each person or organization doing business with the federal government.

Special Event Trails

During special use events there are certain trails and areas that may be utilized if they are designated for the recreational activity. 


Commercial Film and Still Photography Permits

A commercial film permit is required for any individual, business, or organization (including nonprofit groups and educational institutions) filming for a market audience or receiving compensation associated with footage or recordings made in the park. A photography permit is required for photography involving models, sets, or props. Find more detailed information on our commercial film and still photography permits page.


First Amendment

Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Find out more information about whether a permit is needed by visiting the First Amendment page.


Application Deadlines


If no more than 25 persons will be at the event—2 weeks prior to the event.
If more than 25 persons will be at the event—8 weeks prior to the event.

Events that will take place on existing approved trails—8 weeks prior to the event

All other requests should be processed within 14 days if the application is complete and without alteration. Requests involving multiple locations, complex logistics, or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum of 30-45 days to process.

Application Package

The application package must include the following:

Other items to include in the package if applicable are:

  • maps, routes, or site diagrams depicting location of event, staging areas, construction areas, and ingress and egress routes;
  • a list of all personnel, equipment and materials;
  • a list of all vendors providing service for the event;
  • a proposed time frame for activities; and
  • contractor contact information.

Additional administrative, location and/or cost recovery fees may also be charged.

Incomplete applications may be returned to the applicant without action. The Park will attempt to reach the applicant to resolve minor issues but may return the application without action if unable to reach the applicant over three business days. Applicants are encouraged to provide reliable daytime telephone contact information.

Once a special use permit is officially signed by the Park Superintendent, modifications or changes MUST be submitted through another application along with the fee in order to be considered.


Last updated: December 29, 2023

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P.O. Box 429
Wartburg, TN 37887


423 346-6294

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