Nonprofit Groups Leading Wilderness Trips

Glacier Travel on Hoh
Glacier travel across the Hoh Glacier on the Olympus massif.

Wilderness Information Center photo

Special Use Permits are REQUIRED for all nonprofit organizations planning to lead trips in Olympic National Park wilderness.

A copy of the general Non-Profit Special Use Permit (SUP) application can be found under the heading "Commercial Use Authorizations and Non-Profit Special Use Permits" on this web page:

Special Use Permits are obtained by schools and other nonprofit organizations such as those involved in wilderness education and therapy. Schools may be eligible for waivers of entrance fees with an Educational Fee Waiver, but this entrance fee waiver does not waive SUP or Wilderness Camping Permit fees.

Leave No Trace ethics offer further information on the analysis and decision-making involved in complying with these rules, especially when running trips in fragile areas such as alpine meadows and high-traffic areas such as the Coast.

Superintendent's Compendium presents other rules for operating in the Park. Most groups run their trips according to the rules by educating their educators in the park rules and monitoring their compliance while in the park.

Email or call the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) for more information about wilderness practices such as vegetation protection, human waste disposal, group size, and bear canisters (required of all organized groups).


Educating students and clients in Leave No Trace ethics and practices is critical for preserving Olympic's wilderness character now and for future generations. Please have your participants watch the Leave No Trace video prior to their trip. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics at also has a variety of educational materials available. Ask the WIC for a DVD of the video.

Click here for a free online Leave No Trace Awareness Course.

Instructor-led courses are also available. offers a variety of teaching resources as well.

Important information about reservations & quota areas:
  • Camping is permitted only in designated sites within quota areas (red camps on map). Groups with 7-12 persons must reserve group sites in all quota areas. See the reservations page for more information.
  • Campsites at larger camp areas are not individually assigned but are available to permit holders on a first come, first served basis.
  • In quota areas, deviation from your permit itinerary is not allowed, except in cases of emergency.
  • In other areas (brown campsites on Trip Planner Map), permits are not limited. CUAs are still required to make these permits through the Port Angeles WIC with the Wilderness Camping Permit Request form.
  • Bear canisters are the only method of food storage for CUAs\SUPs. Bear cans are not reservable. Although these are loaned at some ranger stations, most of these will not have sufficient bear canisters for large groups.
  • Please re-read your CUA/SUP before making your itinerary.
  • Your CUA/SUP must be completed and signed by the park superintendent before Wilderness Camping permit reservations can be made.
  • You must send copies of CPR and First Aid cards to the Concessions Office and at least 30 days prior to the start of each trip. Food Handler's Permits are also required for staff who cook for clients/students. You must also bring those medical certifications with you on your trip. A permit will not be issued to groups with staff without physical proof of their valid certifications.
  • Each group must include at least one staff member for each eight clients/students (1:8) and a minimum of 2 staff for 8-10 clients/students, with a maximum group size of 12 persons.

Reservation Requests:

Wilderness permit reservations can be made up to 6 months to the day in advance on a rolling basis, reservations will become avalable on the website at 10:00 AM EST/7:00 AM PST. While many camp areas are reservable year round, reservations for high elevation areas are limited to a shorter summer season (typically mid July until mid October), these camp areas may be available on a walkup basis outside of that season. Reservations are accepted online at or in person at a park Wilderness Information Center during business hours.

Once you have reserved your permit, you will receive a confirmation from which you can bring in to pick up your permit at one of the Wilderness Information Centers.

Camping fees are $8 per person per night plus a flat $6 permit fee. For example, the fee for 2 adults camping for 4 nights will be $70 ($64 camping fee +$6 permit fee). Those 15 years old and younger are free but are still counted in the group size.

Please note that Bear Canisters are required to be used parkwide by CUA/SUP groups. They are available for loan at no charge from the Wilderness Information Centers, please be aware that supplies are limited and we can run out on busy summer days.

Wilderness use fees help support visitor management projects like trail maintenanct, pit toilets, revegetation projects, and Wilderness Information Centers.

Last updated: November 12, 2023

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Port Angeles, WA 98362


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