Special Use Permits

Visitors sitting at picnic tables outside of a cabin
A special use permit is required for activities and gatherings that are outside of normal park operations


Prince William Forest Park is a wonderful location for group gatherings, races, and photography and filming. However, some events may require resources outside of the park's normal operating procedures or are otherwise prohibited as part of regular visitation and recreation. In some cases, a Special Use Permit may be required for some activities to take place within the park. On this page you can find information about activities that require a permit and how to apply for a permit.

Please note that park entrance fees and camping fees are seperate from permit application fees and costs.

Activities That Require a Permit

The following are popular activities that require a permit. This is not a complete list. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about an event or activity that you wish to host at Prince William Forest Park.

  • Weddings and parties
  • Picnic gatherings that may involve alcohol, catering, and outside vendors
  • Organized and/or sponsored races, marathons, walkathons, etc.
  • Large gatherings and meetings
  • Distribution of printed material
  • First Amendment demonstrations
  • Memorializations
  • News media that is not considered breaking news
  • Military ceremonies
  • Band and choir performances
  • Scientific research (see Curatorial Requirements for Research Permits)
  • Commercial filming and some still photography (see information below)

Filming & Still Photography Permits

Are filmers required to pay fees or get a permit to film in parks?

Entrance fees are required to enter the park. Under federal law, all commercial filming that occurs within a unit of the National Park System requires a permit. Commercial filming includes 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, and documentaries. Commercial filming may include the advertisement of a product or service, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props. More information can be found here.

When is a permit needed for still photography?

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

Additional cost recovery fees may be associated with a Still Photography Special Use Permit if the activity requires additional park resources.


How To Obtain a Permit

Individuals or groups that wish to obtain a Special Use Permit or would like additional information, please contact the park's Permits Officer, Chief Ranger Brendan Bonner, at e-mail us or (703) 221-5845.

Email the park's permit officer for an application and then submit that application via mail or email.

Applications can be mailed to the following address:

Prince William Forest Park
Attn: Special Use Permits
18100 Park Headquarters Road
Triangle, VA 22172

Individuals interested in applying for a Special Use Permit are encouraged to learn about park regulations by consulting Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1 through 5 and the Superintendent's Compendium.

How much does a permit cost?

The application fee for a Special Use Permit is $120. Additional fees may be applied depending on the nature of the permit and any costs of recovery that may result from the permitted activity.

Last updated: December 3, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

18100 Park Headquarters Road
Triangle, VA 22172



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