Weddings and Similar Gatherings

Each year the monument receives a number of requests to use the mission and pueblo sites at Abo, Quarai and Gran Quivira for a variety of activities and events. It is the policy of the National Park Service (NPS) to allow these Special Park Uses provided they, "Are not in conflict with law or policy; will not result in derogation of the values and purposesfor which the park was established; do not present a threat to public safety or property; and, do not unduly interfere with normal park operations, resource protection, or visitor use." [1]

National Park Service Special Park Use guidelines (NPS-53) further state that, "it is the policy of the NPS to charge permit fees for special park uses. Permit fees should reflect the fair market value of a benefit provided the permittee. The fair market value of a SpecialParkUse is the value of the lands or facilities used and the NPS cost incurred in managing, facilitating, or supporting the use."

[2] Not all requests we receive are for appropriate uses of park managed resources and, since they are privileges and not rights, some are denied. Others, though perhaps appropriate, by virtue of their size and scope would create a significant impact on the quality of a visitor's experience and safety, or result in a derogation of the values and purposesfor which the monument was established.

Often the unique ambience of the missions proves to be the principal reason for selecting the monument as a venue for these functions. Of and by itself, however, this is not a reason that meets the criteria of what constitutes an appropriate park use as defined below.

However, there are other activities and events, for example weddings and other religious and cultural ceremonies traditionally held within a church, which generally are appropriate, provided they do not have adverse impacts on park resources. Such ceremonies are clearly associated with mission churches and grounds, even if the ceremonies are performed by non-Catholics.

Such compatible, non-commercial use (which does not involve the buying and selling of goods or services or the charge of an admission fee for access) of the three mission/pueblo sites and related resources may be permitted through obtaining a Special Use Permit from the Special Use Permit Coordinator.

If the requested Special Park Use is not prohibited by NPS guidelines, and is an authorized privilege rather than a right, the park will analyze the request by asking the following three questions:

Is the use in conflict with any applicable laws and/or policy? Each Special Use Permit request will be thoroughly reviewed to insure all legal and compliance issues are addressed. Consideration will also be given to sensitive cultural and natural resources at each of the mission sites. Some of the areas within the units are culturally sensitive, and/or sites of Native American burials and below grade prehistoric structures. While specific locations for these sensitive resources cannot be revealed, there are some areas within the units where no planned activities may occur.

Is the use appropriate, will a derogation of the values and purposes for which the park was established occur? A derogation of values and purposes goes beyond merely the physical resources to include a visitor's experience in the park. An appropriate park use is defined in NPS-53 as, "An activity that is consistent with the purpose and values for which the park was established." Additionally, "there must be a meaningful association between the park and the event, and the event contributes to the visitor understanding of the significance of the park."

3. Will the use present a threat to public safety or property, have a potential to cause illness, personal injury, or property damage or unduly interfere with normal park operations, resource protection, or visitor use/experience? Protection of resources including both natural and cultural features is secondary to safety but of equal importance in determining the appropriateness of a special use permit being granted.


Any individual, group, society or organization may apply for a Special Use Permit. Caterers and other commercial businesses may not apply on behalf of individuals, groups, societies or organizations. The applicant for the permit must assume full responsibility and liability for the Special Park Use.


Requests for Special Park Use permits must be made in writing, using the Form 10-930, (updated 02/02/2017) to the park's Superintendent no more then six (6) months in advance and at least 14 days prior to the date of the planned event. There is a $100.00 non-refundable administrative fee for processing your application for a Special Park Use permit. Your application will not be processed until payment is received. Be sure to include your Tax I.D. No. or Social Security No. with your application since we cannot process or issue a permit without one. All questions should be answered as accurately and completely as possible. To help the park determine the appropriateness of the planned activities and help to estimate NPS cost incurred in managing, facilitating, or supporting the use. Potential applicants should check with the park on availability of dates prior to submitting the application and non-refundable fee. Submission of the application form and fee payment DOES NOT imply permission for any Special Park Use or event.

Although a specific date may be "open", there are times when staff may not be adequate or available to manage a Special Park Use permit, other park functions are being planned, or the date may be a Federal Holiday in which case generally a permit will not be issued.

Special Park Use guidelines (NPS-53) Prohibit the sale in the
park of T-shirts and other clothing whether or not it contains a message. Further, the sale of all other merchandise, including but not limited to arts and crafts, and all other items as noted above are prohibited. This will also include the charging of entrance and/or parking fees for use of National Park Service administered property. Solicitation of donation is prohibited on any NPS administered sites in compliance with NPS Director's Order #21[3].

Following receipt of an application for a Special Park Use permit, an evaluation will be made of the requested activity. Denials will be communicated in writing.

If the requested activity is approved, a Special Park Use permit, outlining terms and conditions governing the special use, NPS cost information, bond and insurance requirements (if any), and payment instructions will be sent to the applicant.

Please note that an on-site meeting with park staff prior to any set-up activities is a permit requisite. Failure to meet on-site with park staff and/or to submit required Insurance, Deposit and Bond requirements, Public Health Inspections/Certificates, or Safety/Code Inspections (if required) could result in an immediate revocation of a Special Park Use Permit.


Vehicular access at all sites will, in most cases, not be allowed on the grounds or in the missions or pueblos. Nothing, including signs, plaques, or banners may be affixed to any wall, window, door, tree, or any other structure within the mission sites. All signs must be free standing or attached to permittee's property. Nothing may be driven into the ground, including stakes, posts and temporary signs. If tents will be used, freestanding anchors must be utilized (55-gallon drums of water). After the event the disposal of water use to anchor tents will be at the direction of park staff.

Stage and/or Sound Systems

No stages are permitted which are visible over the Mission or Convento walls. Stage should be of a size and weight as not to require the use of heavy machinery (i.e. forklifts, cranes, etc.) for set-up.

Parking and Traffic Management

For events that exceed the available number of parking spaces, the park will work with the permittee to make available some open fields for parking. It will be the responsibility of the permittee to then provide the park with a traffic and parking management plan as well as the necessary number of personnel to control the traffic and parking operations. Additionally, if the event is held after sunset, it is the permittee's responsibility to provide a lighting plan which identifies necessary safety lighting in the parking fields, along walkways, and other areas that the park designates.

Restroom Facilities, Trash and Electricity

The park has a limited budget and ability to provide basic services/utilities; therefore it will be the responsibility of the permittee to arrange for the removal of all trash generated by their event. Where the park cannot provide adequate restroom facilities, the permittee will be obligated to provide portable restroom facilities as the park requires. In instances where electrical power requirements exceed the park's utility service, the permittee will be responsible for providing their own power source and to clear those arrangements through the park's Facility Manager

Publicity & Press Releases

All advertising, press releases, press kits or other forms of media advertising for the event must be reviewed by the Superintendent Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument; prior to release.

Grounds Maintenance

Ground maintenance or mowing activities outside the park's normal mowing cycle will be charged to the permittee. Should pest control be necessary the park's Facility Manager will coordinate the process. The permittee will be responsible for all associated costs of pest control for the activity.

Safety Inspection

At the discretion of the park's Safety Advisor and upon completion of set-up, the event area will be subject to a Safety Inspection. If your event includes the sale of food items to the public the permittee will be responsible for arranging for Public Health Inspections[4] of all food service stands/operations. Any failure to correct hazardous conditions pointed out by the Safety Advisor or provide necessary certificates may be grounds to suspend activities or for revocation of the Special Park Use permit.

If your planned event calls for the use of animals or livestock this must be included in your permit request. The park will make the final decision on the number and types of animals permitted and the number of wranglers and/or veterinarians required to control the animals to ensure safety of all visitors, participants, staff and animals. When not working, animals must be restricted or confined and under supervision at all times. American Humane Association guidelines for use and supervision of animals will be followed by the permittee. The permittee will also be responsible for the removal of all animal waste from the park site through out the event and at its conclusion


The following fees may apply in addition to the non-refundable $100 permit-processing fee listed above.


Park staff is required to monitor all event activities including setup and takedown of such things as equipment, tents, temporary food booths, dance floors, stages, etc. There is an hourly charge for each staff person monitoring these setup and takedown activities as well as the monitoring of the actual event. The hourly rate will be $50.00 during normal business hours and $75.00 for hours outside normal hours of operation. The park will provide an estimated charge for these monitoring costs to the permittee prior to issuance of any permit.

If security is required and outside the park's ability to provide, additional security personnel may be required at the Superintendent's discretion. Should this occur, the permittee would need to make arrangements with New Mexico-Certified Peace Officers.


If utilities (water, electricity, and sewage) are to be used, fees will be assessed. The park will provide an estimated charge for these fees to the permittee prior to issuance of any permit.

Administrative Costs

In addition to the non-refundable permit-processing fee, all other administrative costs associated with a special use permit will be charged to the permittee. This is a one-time cost that reflects the actual costs associated with the administrative process. These charges consist of time spent on telephone conversations, attendance at meetings, travel time, clerical support and other miscellaneous charges associated with the permit[5].

Performance Bond Deposits and Insurance Requirements

Performance Bonds or Deposits are the permittee's guarantee of compliance with permit conditions and reimbursement to the park for damage to the resources and/or facilities as a result of the permittee's activities. Deposits in an amount adequate to cover the estimated cost of restoration, repair, rehabilitation and cleanup of the area may be required. In lieu of a surety bond, a permittee may elect to deposit United States Treasury Bonds or Notes, a certified or cashier's check, bank draft, money order or cash equal to the amount of the required bond. A personal check is not acceptable in lieu of a bond.[6] A performance bond in the amount of the total estimated costs is required. This performance bond must be received at the park before the Special Use Permit can be issued. A final accounting will be completed as soon as possible after the conclusion of all event activities. The park sets the bond and has the right to waive bonds for low-risk activities such as weddings.

Liability insurance protects the government from negligent actions by permittees. The park sets the insurance amount based on local conditions and has the right to waive insurance for low-risk activities such as a commemorative ceremony. If alcoholic beverages are to be served during the course of an event, additional insurance in the form of Liquor Liability or Host Liability will be required. Liability insurance should be issued in the name of the group, not the applicant. The United States should be listed as Additional-Insured on the face of the policy.

Special Use Permit Request Form
(Updated 02/02/2017)

For additional information please contact:

Special Use Permit Coordinator

SalinasPuebloMissionsNational Monument

P.O. Box 517

Mountainair, NM, 87036

Phone (505) 847-2585

Fax (505) 847-2441

[1] NPS-53 "SpecialPark Use Guidelines"

[2] NPS-53 "Special Park Use Guideline" Chapter 3 page 1

[3]Directors Orders#21-Donations and Fundraising; § 4.5 In-Park Donations; § 4.9 Funds Accountability

[4] Director's Order#83 Public Health - §C.-Food Service Sanitation - paragraph C.3 Temporary Food Service Operations

[5]NPS 53 "SpecialPark Use Guidelines" Chapter. 6 sec. III A; 2 Administrative Costs page 9

[6]NPS 53 "Special Park Use Guidelines" Chapter 6, Section V, page 9

Last updated: February 2, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
PO Box 517

Mountainair, NM 87036-0517


(505) 847-2585

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