Superintendent’s Compendium

Digital signature of Alexa Viets June 11, 2024
Superintendent digital signature June 11, 2024

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Petersburg National Battlefield

1539 Hickory Hill Road
Petersburg, VA 23803
804-732-3571 phone
804-732-3615 fax

Superintendent’s Compendium
Of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority.


1. Superintendent’s Compendium Described

The Superintendent’s Compendium is the summary of park specific rules implemented under 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR). It serves as public notice, identifies areas closed for public use, provides a list of activities requiring either a special use permit or reservation, and elaborates on public use and resource protection regulations pertaining specifically to the administration of the park. The Superintendent’s Compendium does not repeat regulations found in 36 CFR and other United States Code and CFR Titles, which are enforced without further elaboration at the park level.

The regulations contained in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, are the basic mechanism used by the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the park and to protect visitors and property within the park. Parts 1 through 6 are general regulations applicable to all areas of the National Park system, and Part 7 contains special regulations specific to individual parks. Each of these Parts has many sections and subsections articulating specific provisions. Within some of these Part 1-7 sections and subsections, the Superintendent is granted discretionary authority to develop local rules to be responsive to the needs of a specific park resource or activity, park plan, program, and/or special needs of the general public.

As an example, 36 CFR 1.5(a) Closures and Public Use Limits provides the Superintendent certain discretion in allowing or disallowing certain activities. The authority granted by the Section, however, requires the Superintendent to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act (6 USC Section 551), which requires public notice on actions with major impact on visitor use patterns, park resources or those that are highly controversial in nature.

Another example is 36 CFR 1.6 Permits, which allows the Superintendent to require a permit for certain uses and activities in the park. This Section, however, requires that a list of activities needing a permit (and a fee schedule for the various types of permits) be maintained by the park.

A final example is 36 CFR 2.1(c) (1) Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archeological Resources, which provides the Superintendent the authority to designate certain fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells which may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption. This activity can occur, however, only if a written determination shows that the allowed activity does not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

This Compendium should be used in conjunction with Title 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, to more fully understand the regulations governing the use and enjoyment of all the areas of the national Park System.

A copy of Title 36, CFR, can be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office at:
Superintendent of Documents P.O. Box 371954 Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954
The CFR is also available on the Internet at:

2. Laws and Policies Allowing the Superintendent to Develop This Compendium

The National Park Service (NPS) is granted broad statutory authority under Title 54 United States Code (U.S.C.) §100101(a) (formerly 16 U.S.C. 1a-1, “Organic Act”) to “….regulate the use of the National Park System by means and measures that conform to the fundamental purpose of the System units, which purpose is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in the System units and to provide for the enjoyment of the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” In addition, Title 54 U.S.C. §100751(a) allows the NPS, through the Secretary of the Interior, to “prescribe such regulations as the Secretary considers necessary or proper for the use and management of System units.”

In 1970, Congress amended the NPS Organic Act to clarify its intentions as to the overall mission of the NPS. Through the General Authorities Act of 1970, Congress brought all areas administered by the NPS into one National Park System and directed the NPS to manage all areas under its administration consistent with the Organic Act of 1916.

In 1978, Congress amended the General Authorities Act of 1970 and reasserted System-wide the high standard of protection defined in the original Organic Act by stating “Congress further reaffirms, declares, and directs that the promotion and regulation of the various areas of the National Park System, as defined by Section 1 of this Title, shall be consistent with and founded in the purpose established by Section 1 of this Title, to the common benefit of all people of the United States.”

In addition to the above statutory authority, the Superintendent is guided by established NPS policy as found in the NPS Management Policies (2006). The Superintendent is also guided by more specific policies promulgated by the Director, National Park Service, in the form of Director’s Orders. As stated in the Management Policies, the primary responsibility of the NPS is to protect and preserve our national natural and cultural resources while providing for the enjoyment of these resources by visitor and other users, as long as use does not impair specific park resources or overall visitor experience. The appropriateness of any particular visitor use or recreational experience is resource-based and will vary from park to park; therefore, a use or activity that is appropriate in one park area may not be appropriate in another. The Superintendent is directed to analyze overall park use and determine if any particular use is appropriate. Where conflict arises between use and resource protection, where the Superintendent has a reasonable basis to believe a resource is or would become impaired, than that Superintendent is obliged to place limitations on public use.

3. Consistency of This Compendium with Applicable Federal Law and Requirements

The Superintendent’s Compendium is not considered a significant rule requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. In addition, this Compendium will not have a significant economic effect on a number of small entities nor impose a significant cost on any local, state or tribal government or private organization, and therefore does not fall under the requirements of either the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

The actions and requirements described in this Compendium are found to be categorically excluded from further compliance with the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in Department of the Interior (DOI) Guidelines 516 DM 6 and as such, an Environmental Assessment will not be prepared.

4. Development of the Requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium

As outlined above, the NPS has broad authority and responsibility to determine what types of uses and activities are appropriate in any particular National Park System area. The requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium are developed through an analysis and determination process. The decision criteria used during this process are:

  • Is there use or activity consistent with the NPS Organic Act and NPS policy?
  • Is the use or activity consistent and compatible with the park’s enabling legislation, management objectives, and corresponding management plans?
  • Will the use or activity damage the park’s protected natural and cultural resources and other protected values?
  • Will the use or activity disturb or be in conflict with wildlife, vegetation, and environmental protection actions and values?
  • Will the use or activity conflict with or be incompatible with traditional park uses and activities?
  • Will the use or activity compromise employee or public safety?

5. Applicability of the Compendium

The rules contained in this Compendium apply to all persons entering, using, visiting or otherwise present on Federally owned lands, including submerged lands, and waters administered by the NPS within the legislative boundaries of the park. This includes all waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including all navigable waters.

6. Enforcement of Compendium Requirements

NPS Law Enforcement Park Rangers enforce the requirements of the United State Code, 36 CFR, and this Superintendent’s Compendium.

7. Penalties for Not Adhering to the Compendium Requirements

A person who violates any provision of the regulations found in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, or provisions of this Compendium, is subject to a fine as provided by law (18 U.S.C. 3571) up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months (18 Page 4 of 15 U.S.C. 3559), or both, and shall be adjudged to pay all court costs associated with any court proceedings. You may receive a list of fines associated with any particular provision by contacting the Chief Ranger at the park address found below.

8. Comments on the Compendium

The Compendium is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The park welcomes comments about its program and activities at any time.

Written comments on the Compendium may be submitted to:

Superintendent, Petersburg National Battlefield
1539 Hickory Hill Road
Petersburg, VA 23803

9. Effective Date of the Superintendent Compendium

The Superintendent’s Compendium is effective on the approval date listed on the first page of this document and remains in effect until revised for a period up to one year.

10. Additional Information

Some of the terms used in this Compendium may have specific meaning defined in 36 CFR 1.4 Definitions.

11. Availability

Copies of the Compendium are available at 1539 Hickory Hill Road, Petersburg VA 23803. It may also be found at


B. Superintendents Compendium

In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (“36 CFR”), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 54 U.S.C. §100751, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of Petersburg National Battlefield. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.
Written determinations, which explain the reasoning behind the Superintendent’s use of discretionary authority, as required by Section 1.5(c), appear in this document identified by italicized print.

1. 36 CFR §1.5 – Visiting hours, public use limits, closures, and area designation for specific use or activities

(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:

Visiting Hours:

  • Battlefield grounds and tour road will be open daily from sunrise to sunset for pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian activities.
  • The Eastern Front Visitor Center will be open to the public daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • Grant’s Headquarters at City Point will be open Friday through Monday from 10:00am to 4:00pm beginning June 7th, 2024. The facility may be closed for 30 minutes between the hours of 12:00pm and 1:00pm to allow employees to take a lunch break.
  • The grounds at the City Point unit of the park are open from sunrise to sunset year-round.
  • Five Forks Contact Station will be open Friday through Monday from 10:00am to 4:00pm beginning June 7th, 2024. The facility may be closed for 30 minutes between the hours of 12:00pm and 1:00pm to allow employees to take a lunch break.
  • The trails, trailheads and driving tour parking areas at the Five Forks Battlefield unit are open from sunrise to sunset year-round.
  • Park Headquarters is open weekdays by appointment only from 9:00am to 4:30pm.
  • All park buildings and Siege Road will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, December 25th, and on January 1st.
  • Siege Road and the parking lots along Siege Road are open from:
    • 9:00am to Sunset or 8:00pm (whichever is earlier) from March 10th, 2024, to November 3rd, 2024.
    • 9:00am to 5:00pm November 4th, 2024, to March 9th, 2025.
  • Parking lots at Grant’s Headquarters at City Point and Five Forks Contact Station will be open during the hours that the buildings in those locations are open.
  • Poplar Grove National Cemetery will be closed from dusk to dawn daily, throughout the year.

Justification: After hours use, nighttime activity and overnight parking create a number of impacts that would be inconsistent with the protection of park resources. The Superintendent has determined there is no valid use of these units during the hours of sunset to sunrise..

Public Use Limits:

  • Paved interpretive sidewalks are open to walking and wheelchair traffic only.

Justification: These sidewalks are for historical interpretation of historic landscapes and other uses of these trails conflicts with the purpose of the walkways.

  • Yellow blazed trails are open to pedestrian, bicycle, equestrian use. Red blaze trails and the left lane of the one-way tour road are open to pedestrian and bicycle use.

Justification: These trails have been set aside for pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian users to provide for use of the park without conflicting with historical interpretation users to the park.

  • All marked trails are open to wheelchair use however; some sections are unsuited due to terrain.

Justification: Established for compliance with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

  • All unpaved trails are closed to motor vehicles except for administrative use by government vehicles.

Justification: Unpaved trails are not designed for motor vehicle traffic and equestrian use of the trails presents conflict with motor vehicle use.


  • All units of Petersburg National Battlefield are closed to recreational and sporting activities, including but not limited to the following: baseball, football, soccer, racing, skating (including roller-skating and in-line skating), skateboarding, motorized scooters, neighborhood electric vehicles, golf carts, ball playing, kite flying, model airplane and helicopter flying, model rocket launching, throwing objects through the air (frisbee, balls, etc.) and sunbathing. Prohibited activities do not include: walking, hiking, strolling, jogging, running, bicycling, xc-skiing, snow shoeing, or horseback riding. Specific prohibitions on certain activities may be addressed in other regulations.

Justification: Those recreational uses not permitted, conflict with the legislated purpose of the park, detract from the historic scene, and contribute to the destruction of historic fabric of the park. The entire park is considered a historic area and is of primary importance in preserving its historic significance.

  • Geocaching and Letter Boxing are prohibited throughout the park. Virtual Caching is authorized. Also see 36 CFR 2.22.

Justification: The entire park consists of historical battleground and therefore contains historically significant resources. Methods of concealing items such as digging, burying, covering and otherwise concealing items are sometimes used with geo-caching, and are inappropriate within the park.

  • Para-normal investigations and related activities are prohibited.

Justification: Para-normal investigation is an activity is inconsistent with the intent of the park.

  • Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Petersburg National Battlefield is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.

Definition: The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links.) This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g. model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

Justification: Until the NPS can determine whether specific uses of unmanned aircraft are appropriate and will not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources and values, Petersburg National Battlefield is closed to the use of these devices. The use of unmanned aircraft within the boundaries of the Battlefield has the potential to harm visitors, disturb wildlife, impact viewsheds, cause excessive noise, and interfere with other visitors' enjoyment of the area.

  • Between December 15th to July 15th there will be a temporary closure of trails in the area of Fort Stedman and Colquitt’s Salient to protect breeding and nesting bald eagles. See map at the bottom of this page for the approximate location of the area closure. Visit for additional details updated annually.

Justification: Disturbing bald eagles to a degree where it will cause or is likely to cause injury, decrease productivity, or nest abandonment is prohibited. Also see Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA, Eagle Act) (16 U.S.C. 668-668c; 50 CFR Part 22)"

(a)(2) Designate areas for a specific use or activity or impose conditions or restrictions on a use or activity.

CCTV Policy Statement

In accordance with National Park Service Law Enforcement Reference Manual 9 (RM-9), notice is hereby given that Petersburg National Battlefield uses Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) security camera monitoring.

The park’s use of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) for law enforcement and security purposes will only be to visually monitor public park areas and public activities where no constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy exists. Such CCTV use – which will have adequate privacy and First Amendment safeguards – will be to help ensure public safety and security; facilitate the detection, investigation, prevention, and deterrence of terrorist attack and crime; help ensure the safety of citizens and officers; help assist in the proper allocation and deployment of law enforcement and public safety resources; and help facilitate the protection of the innocent and the apprehension and prosecution of criminals. (RM-9, 26.1).

This policy does not restrict the official use of CCTV in government administrative areas, including administrative buildings, jail holding facilities (RM-9, 26.3.7), revenue collection sites, etc., where the government may record/monitor its facilities. For example, the government may perform unrestricted video/audio recording at revenue collection points (entrance stations, visitor center counters, etc.). This policy does not restrict the use of an Audio/Visual Recording Device (AVRD) in patrol vehicles or officer-worn recording devices used by commissioned rangers. (RM-9, 26.1).

Operation of CCTV cameras, maintenance of recorded images and use of recorded images will be in accordance with NPS and Department policy and applicable laws and regulations. (RM-9, 26.1-26.4) No person will be targeted or monitored merely because of race, religion, gender, sex, disability, national origin, or political affiliation or views. (RM-9, 26.4.2)

Nothing in this policy statement is intended to create any rights, privileges, or benefits not otherwise recognized by law.


2. 36 CFR §1.6 – Activities that require a permit

(f) The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the superintendent is required

§1.5(d) The following activities related to Public Use Limits:

  • After hour visits and/or activities at the battlefield.

  • Vehicle traffic on Siege Road after closure.

  • Hiking or walking off trail.

§2.5(a) Specimen collection (Legal taking of plant, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals)

§2.10(a) The following camping activities:

  • Camping in association with a special event or public gathering for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51 or is part of or in conjunction with a park sponsored event or administrative function. Camping is otherwise prohibited within Petersburg National Battlefield.

§2.12 Audio Disturbances:

  • (a)(2) Operating a chain saw in developed areas.

  • (a)(3) Operation of any type of portable motor or engine, or device powered by a portable motor or engine in non-developed areas.

  • (a)(4) Operation of a public address system in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51.

§2.17 Aircraft & Air Delivery:

  • (a)(3) Delivery or retrieval of a person or object by parachute, helicopter or other airborne means.

  • (c)(1) Removal of a downed aircraft.

§2.37 Soliciting or demanding gifts, money goods or services (Pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit issued under §2.50, §2.51 or §2.52)

§2.38 Explosives:

  • Use, possess, store, transport explosives, blasting agents.

  • Use or possess fireworks.

§2.50(a) Conduct a sports event, pageant, regatta, public spectator attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and similar events.

§2.51(a) Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades and other public expressions of views involving more than 25 people.

§2.52(c) Sale or distribution of printer matter that is not solely commercial advertising.

§2.62 Memorialization:

  • (a) Erection of monuments (Requires approval from Regional Director)

  • (b) Scattering ashes from human cremation

§5.1 Advertisements - (Display, posting or distribution.)

§5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business (Requires a permit, contract or other written agreement with the United States, or must be pursuant to special regulations).

§5.5 Commercial Photography/Filming:
The following types of filming activities may occur in areas open to the public without a permit and without advance notice to the NPS:

  • Outdoor filming activities [outside of areas managed as wilderness] involving five persons or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras.

The organizer of any other type of filming activity must provide written notice to the Superintendent at least 30 days prior to the start of the proposed activity. Based upon the information provided, the Superintendent may require the organizer to apply for and obtain a permit if necessary to:

  • maintain public health and safety;

  • protect environmental or scenic values;

  • protect natural or cultural resources;

  • allow for equitable allocation and use of facilities; or

  • avoid conflict among visitor use activities.

If the Superintendent determines that the terms and conditions of a permit could not mitigate the concerns identified above in an acceptable manner, the Superintendent may deny a filming request without issuing a permit. The Superintendent will provide the basis for denial in writing upon request.

All commercial filming requires a permit. Commercial filming is defined as the following:
Commercial filming means 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 may include the advertisement of a product or service, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props.

The NPS will consider requests and process permit applications in a timely manner. Processing times will vary depending on the complexity of the proposed activity. If the organizer provides the required 30-day advance notice to the NPS and has not received a written response from the NPS that a permit is required prior to the first day of production, the proposed filming activities may occur without a permit.

The following are prohibited:

  • (1) Engaging in a filming activity without providing advance notice to the Superintendent when required.

  • (2) Engaging in a filming activity without a permit if, the activity takes place in areas managed as wilderness, if the filming activity is a commercial filming activity, or if the Superintendent has notified the organizer in writing that a permit is required.

  • (3) Violating a term and condition of a permit issued under this action.

Violating a term or condition of a permit issued under to this action may also result in the suspension and revocation of the permit by the Superintendent.

(b) Still photography of vehicles, or other articles of commerce or models, sets or props for the purpose of commercial advertising without a permit.

A permit may also be required for still photography in the following circumstances:

  • If it takes place in a location that is closed to the public, either as a result of the time it is being accessed or the area that is being accessed to perform the still photography.

  • If the agency would incur costs for providing on-site management and oversight to protect agency resources or minimize visitor use conflicts.

§5.6(c) Use of commercial vehicles on park area roads.

3. 36 CFR §12 National Cemeteries

  • 12.4 Special Events and Demonstrations

    • Conducting a special event or demonstration, whether spontaneous or organized, is prohibited except for official commemorative events conducted for Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other dates designated by the superintendent as having special historic and commemorative significance. These may include:

      • Armed Forces Day (Third Saturday in May)

      • Flag Day, June 14th

      • Independence Day, July 4th

      • National Cemetery Dedication Day, November 19th

      • Wreaths Across America

  • 12.5(b) Burial in the National Cemetery

    • Poplar Grove National Cemetery is closed to burials.

  • 12.6(b) Disinterment and exhumations of remains from the National Cemetery

    • Disinterment or Exhumation may only be done under the terms of a permit issued by the Superintendent.
  • 12.10 Floral and Commemorative Tributes

    • The placing of wreaths and floral items, except for fresh cut flowers free of any non-natural wrapping or packaging material, are not permitted except for official commemorative events or in conjunction with Wreaths Across America annual activities in December. Fresh cut flowers, as described above, may be placed on graves at any time during the year.
    • Small American flags are permitted only during the weekend prior to and on Memorial Day. A permit is required for any other type of flag.
    • Permanent or temporary in ground floral containers may not be used.
    • Attaching decorations or other objects to headstones or monuments is prohibited.
    • Park staff and/or volunteers will remove floral items when they become unsightly. All other permitted items will be removed at the discretion of park staff. All other objects and decorations are prohibited and will be removed

Justification: National cemeteries are established as national shrines in tribute to the gallant dead who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States. Such areas are protected, managed and administered as suitable and dignified burial grounds and as significant cultural resources. As such, the authorization of activities that take place in national cemeteries is limited to those that are consistent with applicable legislation and that are compatible with maintaining the solemn commemorative and historic character of these areas.


3. General Regulations

36 CFR §2.1 – Preservation of natural, cultural, and archeological resources

  • (b) All pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian traffic in the park must remain on designated trails or roads. The Superintendent may issue a special use permit to authorized groups allowing them to travel off of designated trails and road. Pedestrians are permitted to be off trail and pavement in mowed lawn areas only

Justification: Requiring all pedestrian traffic to remain on designated trails will protect the natural resources from their impacts, protect archeological resources, and protect visitors from environmental dangers such as copperhead snakes, poison ivy, and other hazards which are common in the park.

  • (c)(1), (c)(2) The following fruits, nuts, berries may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions:
    • The gathering, in small quantities (one gallon per day, per person) of fruits, nuts, berries, and mushrooms is permitted.

Justification: This restriction is in place to assure that all fruiting bodies produced by biological organisms are not collected for human consumption adversely impacting the reproductive potential of the species and protection of the cultural resources of the park.

36 CFR § 2.2 – Wildlife Protection

  • (a) The viewing of wildlife with an artificial light is prohibited on Federal lands within the boundaries of Petersburg National Battlefield

Justification: The battlefield is closed for public use at dark and the use of a spotlight, automotive headlight, or other artificial light to spot, observe, locate, or take any animal on the battlefield is prohibited. Any of the prohibited acts may also cause a safety hazard due to traffic flow in and around the battlefield.

36 CFR §2.10 – Camping and food storage

  • There are no designated camping sites or areas within the boundaries of Petersburg National Battlefield. A permit system has been established for certain camping activities, and conditions for camping and camping activities are authorized only under a Special Use Permit.

Justification: The battlefield is closed for public use at sunset (unless under a special use permit), there are no designated camping sites or areas within the boundaries of the battlefield, there are adequate opportunities provided for camping outside of the park boundary, and this activity conflicts with the purpose for which the park was established.

36 CFR §2.11 – Picnicking

The park is closed to picnicking except in areas designated for that purpose. Designated picnic areas can be found in the following locations:

  • Picnic tables at Tour Stop 3 in the Eastern Front District

  • Picnic Shelter west of Contact Station at Five Forks Battlefield

  • James and Appomattox River shorelines at Grant’s Headquarters at the City Point Unit and the paved parking lot and grass area south of the lot, south of Appomattox Manor. The manor grounds north of the parking lot may not be used for picnicking.

The use of portable gas grills is allowed in the picnic areas designated above. Charcoal/wood grills are prohibited.

Justification: Ample opportunities exist outside of the park for this activity. The areas listed above provide reasonable accommodation for those touring the park without interrupting their route. Outside of these approved areas, it would be inconsistent with the preservation and protection of resource values and hallowed battleground sites.

36 CFR §2.13 – Fires
(a)(1) – Fires are prohibited except in conjunction with an organized and approved activity, living history presentation, or an approved service group completing a park related project.

Justification: Uncontained fires present a safety hazard. Accommodations and facilities for activities such as fires or camping do not exist in the park.

36 CFR §2.14 – Sanitation and refuse

  • (a)(7) Bait cutting is prohibited on any dock, boardwalk or physical structure within the park.

36 CFR §2.15 – Pets

With the exceptions noted below, pets are allowed within the park, including on park trails, as long as they are physically restrained by a leash of 6 feet in length or less.

  • (a)(1) The following structures and/or areas are closed to the possession of pets except for service animals
    • All park buildings
    • Poplar Grove National Cemetery (inside the brick wall surrounding the cemetery)
  • (a)(5) Pet excrement must be removed from all areas of the battlefield by the pet owner/handler and placed in an outdoor trash receptacle.

36 CFR §2.16 – Horses and pack animals

  • (b) The use of horses or pack animals is allowed on the following trails, routes or areas.

    • Horseback riding is permitted and restricted to unpaved trails marked with yellow blaze.

  • (g) Other conditions concerning the use of horses or pack animals:

    • Horses are not permitted within or upon any historic feature (earthwork), structure or interpretive demonstration area.

    • Horses are prohibited north of the Highway 36 overpass and west of the Norfolk/Southern Railroad Bridge.

    • Horse trailers will be loaded and unloaded from the parking area behind the Park Administrative Offices at 1539 Hickory Hill Road.

    • Cleaning manure and other organic materials out of horse trailers and other equipment is prohibited. Horse manure deposited in or near parking areas must be collected by the owner/rider and removed from the park.

    • Horses are not to be ridden above a trot or canter on the park trails due to the unacceptable risk to other recreation trail users and the riders themselves.

    • Riding horses in park water ways, streams, creeks, etc. is prohibited. If all four hooves of the horse are in the water that constitutes riding of the horse in the water.

    • State laws governing testing of horses for equine infectious anemia (Coggins Testing) apply to the park. Equestrian users are to have copies of the test results proving annual testing of their animal when riding in the park.

36 CFR §2.19 – Winter Activities

  • Skiing, sledding, inner tubing, tobogganing and similar winter activities are prohibited on roads, parking areas, paved trails, within fortifications and on any historic feature (earthworks).

  • Cross country skiing and snow shoeing will only be allowed on the park’s recreation trail system when the park is open to visitation.

36 CFR §2.21 – Smoking

  • (a) The following portions of the park, or all or portions of buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking as noted:

    • Smoking (including the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) is prohibited in all government buildings, and during interpretive demonstrations, which utilize black powder (musket and artillery drills).

Justification: Prohibition of smoking and the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems in government buildings is done for public health and safety and complies with U. S. Department of the Interior smoking regulations. Prohibition of smoking during interpretive demonstrations which use black powder is for public and employee safety purposes.

36 CFR §2.35 – Alcoholic beverages and controlled substances

  • (a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:

    • Possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all areas of the park. This prohibition is authorized under 36 CFR sec. 7.64 (a).

36 CFR §2.51 – Demonstrations

  • (b) Demonstrations of more than 25 people are allowed within park areas designated as available under paragraph (c)(2) when the superintendent has issued a permit for the activity.

  • (c)(2) The following locations are designated as available for demonstrations:

    • Eastern Front Unit – The area, approximately 100 feet square, adjacent to the northerly sidewalk entrance to the Eastern Front Visitor’s Center around the intersection next to the Stephen T. Mather monument.

    • Poplar Grove National Cemetery – an area approximately 100 feet square, adjacent to the public parking at the cemetery entrance.

    • City Point Unit – an area approximately 100 feet square in front of the east porch of the Epps House.

Area delineations are necessarily approximate and may be adjusted to number of participants

36 CFR §2.52 – Sale or distribution of printed matter and message-bearing items

  • (b) The sale or distribution of printed matter by more than 25 persons is allowed within park areas designated as available under §2.51(c)(2) (see above) when the superintendent has issued a permit. The free distribution of message-bearing items is restricted to the same areas.

36 CFR §2.62 – Memorialization

  • The scattering of ashes from human cremation is prohibited without a Special Use Permit.

36 CFR §3.16 – Swimming and bathing

  • Swimming, bathing, wading or permitting same is prohibited in any watershed, pond, creek and river under administrative control of Petersburg National Battlefield.

36 CFR §4.10 – Travel on park roads and routes

  • Park roads, closed for travel by motor vehicle are those indicated below, and/or as indicated in the following publication or document (attached hereto):

    • The Service Road between the park boundary on South Whitehill Drive and Siege Road is closed to the public.

    • The roadway that leads to and goes around the Operations building off of Siege Road.

    • The Use of Segway Brand© personal transporters at Petersburg National Battlefield are permitted in the park as long as they travel the same roadways as licensed motor vehicles and are operated in the same fashion and in accordance with the Commonwealth of Virginia traffic codes. The only exception to this policy will be when Segways are operated as part of the authorized Segway Tour program. This means that Segways, unlike all other non-authorized motorized vehicles will be permitted to travel in the multi-purpose lane on the park tour road in the opposite direction of all other vehicular travel, when directed to do so under the authority of approved Segway Tour program.

36 CFR §4.21 – Speed limits

  • (b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:

    • The speed limit for the Park Tour Road in the Eastern Front as well as portions of Flank Road within the park boundary is 25 MPH.

    • The speed limit for all other areas of the battlefield, including the Grant’s Headquarters at City Point and Poplar Grove National Cemetery is 15 MPH.

    • The speed limit on unpaved trails is 15 mph for vehicles and bicycles.

36 CFR §4.30 – Bicycles

  • Park roads and parking areas that are closed to bicycle use are listed in section 1.5 of this document.

  • The following additional routes, in developed areas or special use zones, have been designated for bicycle use:

    • Tour Road - Bicycles may travel both ways on the one-way tour road, in the multi-purpose lane only, at a speed of no more than 15 MPH.

    • Trails - Bicycles are limited to established unpaved trails marked with a yellow or red blaze at a speed of no more than 15 MPH.

Electric Bicycles

The term “e-bike” means a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.).

E-bikes are allowed in Petersburg National Battlefield where traditional bicycles are allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.

A person operating an e-bike is subject to 36 CFR 4.30(i).

Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within Petersburg National Battlefield is governed by State law, which is adopted and made part of this Compendium. Any violation of State law adopted by this paragraph is prohibited.



Gray rectangle around orange line forming a hiking trail loop.
Fort Stedman Trail with a loop around Colquitt's Salient

Map of cemetery, yellow (Special Use) area next to a building and blue (1st Amendment Area) in center of  parking lot
Special Use Areas Poplar Grove National Cemetary


Map of City Point with 5 polygons with dots - parking lot and south of it; North of plantation house; between plantation house and Grants cabin; lawn south of cabin; and far right near the river. Small blue polygon east side of plantation house.
City Point Special Use Ares


Map of area around visitor center with a blue and white rectangle along sidewalk between visitor center and parking lot.
Eastern Front Visitor Center First Amendment area map


Last updated: June 26, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Petersburg National Battlefield Administration Office
1539 Hickory Hill Road

Petersburg, VA 23803


804 732-3531 x200
If you cannot reach us by phone - please e-mail questions to the address listed.

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