Superintendent's Compendium

Here you will find the 2018 Superintendent’s Compendium Of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority. Approved by Jennifer S. Flynn, Superintendent of Shenandoah National Park.

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 16 United States Code, Section 3, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park . 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.

 
 

I. 36 CFR §1.5 – VISITING HOURS, PUBLIC USE LIMITS, CLOSURES, AND AREA DESIGNATIONS 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:

Closures:
  • The following campgrounds may be partially or completely closed in the winter. Specific dates are established each year and are available from the Superintendent’s Office:
    • Mathews Arm Campground, Mile 22.2
    • Big Meadows Campground, Mile 51.2
    • Lewis Mountain Campground, Mile 57.5
    • Loft Mountain Campground, Mile 79.5
    • Dundo Campground, Mile 83.7
      • Campground closures are necessary because of potential damage to water lines from freezing and periodic road closures due to ice and snow. Camping in these areas when trash collection, toilet facilities and dish-washing facilities are not available results in unreasonable impacts upon the areas.
  • The following areas are closed to all public use in accordance with the actions outlined in the Rock Outcrop Management Plan (ROMP):
    • Little Stony Man cliffs and associated outcrops. The closure has two parts: South of the east/west line situated 35 m north of the “chute” trail. The area of large boulders on the northernmost end of the Little Stonyman cliffs between the upper and lower cliffs of the AT and Passamoquoddy trails (see Appendix A)
    • Old Rag Mountain western summit crown and social trails (see Appendix A)
    • Hawksbill Mountain north and west slopes and the Salamander social trail (Appendix A)
    • Areas of new construction and/or reconstruction and repair will be closed to the public, unless the applicable contract calls for non-closure.
      • Areas of new construction and reconstruction or rehabilitation may be closed to visitors for safety reasons and to avoid unreasonable conflict with authorized work.
    • Superintendent may close any portion of the park roadways to motor vehicle use during periods of ice, snow, or any other hazardous condition. Gates with appropriate signing will be closed to deny access to the affected road area. Driving around these gates is prohibited.
      • The Superintendent must affect road closures during inclement weather or periods of other hazardous conditions in order to ensure public safety.
    • All areas associated with the firearm range, located in the headquarters area on US Highway 211 are closed to the public. This area is defined as starting at the foot bridge over Pass Run, all mowed areas and wooded areas within 1000 feet on all sides of the range.
      • NPS regulations require that law enforcement employees and others authorized to use firearms in performance of their official duties routinely practice and qualify with their approved weapons. These activities require management by firearms instructors and compliance with strict safety policies. Use for other purposes is prohibited by Servicewide policies. The area around the firearms range is closed to all use and travel to protect visitors from firearms use.
    • All gated park administrative roads and fire roads are closed to public vehicular use unless authorized by the Superintendent.
      • These roads are not built or maintained for visitor use. Limited administrative use consistent with necessary Park operations is permitted to reduce fuel use within the Park and to provide maintenance access to Park facilities. Employee use of administrative roads also reduces traffic on Skyline Drive and permits employees' egress to surrounding communities during periods of inclement weather. Some permittees and cooperators require access to remote sites in the Park to accomplish the purposes of their permit. Where authorized in the permit, such use of administrative roads is authorized. However, this use is limited to that required to accomplish the purposes of the permit, work agreement or incident response.
    • All gated park administrative roads and fire roads which are closed to public vehicular traffic are closed to bicycle use, except:
      • Rapidan Road from the Skyline Drive to the exit from the Big Meadows Utility area.
        • This decision is consistent with Service wide regulations prohibiting bicycle use in non-developed zones and wilderness areas and generally permitting bicycle use on Park roads except where unsafe.
    • Launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft from within or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of the Shenandoah National Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.

Definitions:

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 recreation or commerce.

  • There are several impacts of the use of unmanned aircraft within the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park. First, Shenandoah National Park’s front country areas mainly consist of a narrow road corridor (skyline drive) which is used primarily for motor vehicle travel. Unmanned aircraft cause distractions to drivers and can potentially strike a motor vehicle if used along the roadway or the roadway corridor. Second, unmanned aircraft disturb wildlife and negatively impact the view shed of the Parks designed landscape. Allowing this activity is contradictory to a landscape uninterrupted by modern development. The use of unmanned aircraft in and around the designated Wilderness area within the Park's administrative boundary has a negative impact on the wilderness character of the entire area. The closure of Shenandoah National Park to unmanned aircraft eliminates the potential for adverse effect. Furthermore it reduces the potential disruption of the visitor experience in Wilderness throughout the Park.
  • Shenandoah National Park does not meet any of the specific circumstances that would allow the private or commercial use of unmanned aircraft and will not issue Special Use Permits for the private or commercial use of unmanned aircraft within the boundaries of the park. Administrative use of unmanned aircraft may be approved by the Associate Director of Visitor and Resource Protection for such purpose as scientific study, search and rescue operations, fire operations, and law enforcement. Administrative use includes the use of unmanned aircraft by (i) NPS personnel as operators or crew; (ii) cooperators such as government agencies and universities that conduct unmanned aircraft operations for the NPS pursuant to a written agreement; and (iii) other entities, including commercial entities, conducting unmanned aircraft operations for the NPS, provided such entities are in compliance with all applicable FAA and Department of the Interior requirements.
Wilderness
Possessing any device for moving people or material that contains a wheel, an axle, or any mechanical means of transport is prohibited in the congressionally designated Shenandoah Wilderness. This includes, but is not limited to, cars, trucks, all-terrain vehicles (ATV), motorcycles, aircraft, snow machines, bicycles, game carts, game carriers, wheel barrows, wagons, chain saws, weed whackers, power drills, power saws, generators, and snow or leaf blowers. This does not include mechanical climbing ascenders, pulleys, ski bindings or other similar devices.
  • The Wilderness Act 1964 prohibits these uses in designated wilderness.

(a)(2) The following areas have been designated for a specific use or activity, under the conditions and/or restrictions as noted:

  • Segways
    • Segways may be used by persons with disabilities within Shenandoah National Park in public buildings, campgrounds, picnic grounds, parking areas, paved trails, walkways and sidewalks and on the following administrative roads and trails:
      • Rapidan Road from Skyline Drive to the exit of the Big Meadows Utility Area
      • Limberlost Trail
      • Rose River Fire Road from Skyline Drive to Hogcamp Branch
    • Operation is restricted to speeds of 5MPH or less, between sunrise and sunset and prohibited during periods of low visibility such as heavy fog.
      • Allowing the use of segways in the above manner has no negative impact on park resources and it provides greater accessibility for the mobility impaired.
  • The playing of horseshoes in other than NPS developed and provided horseshoe pits is prohibited.
    • Playing horseshoes significantly damages turf and creates unnecessary ground disturbance in park areas.

The following restrictions and/or conditions are in effect for the specific uses or activities noted:

  • Willfully approaching within 50 yards of bear or 25 yards of deer, or within any distance that results in their disturbance or displacement is prohibited.
    • Wild animals have behavior that is often unpredictable. Engaging in any activity which places a person in close proximity to wild animals places the person at risk for injury or death. Wildlife may interpret this human behavior as threatening or aggressive. Additionally, repeated close approach by humans (to wildlife) may lead to the habituation of the animal. This can put the animal at greater risk of being struck by a vehicle, trapped, relocated or euthanized. This restriction does not apply to inadvertent or casual encounters with wildlife in developed areas where foot traffic is normal and routine, e.g. sidewalks and established walkways, campground roads, etc. or in other areas where there is no reasonable alternative travel route.
  • The transportation or possession of firewood which is not in the original packaging and which is not labeled and certified by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as heat treated firewood is prohibited. Campers may collect dead and down wood inside the park to burn at park campsites. For the purposes of this regulation, firewood is defined as any wood cut, sold or intended for use as firewood, including chips, limbs, branches, etc. with or without bark. Kiln-dried, finished and cut lumber or lumber scraps from which bark has been cut, like that purchased from a hardware store is not considered firewood.
    • This closure is intended to prevent or slow the introduction of exotic insects or diseases into the Shenandoah National Park. The emerald ash borer (EAB) has already killed tens of millions of trees in those states that have been infested. As a result, the movement of firewood within and from infested areas is regulated by the states and the federal government. The USDA has documented that a number of other harmful species can be transported in firewood.
  • Climbing, rappelling, and any other similar activity is prohibited on any man-made structure.
    • Structures were not constructed to facilitate climbing and rappelling, and such activities may create unreasonable risk of injury to participants and others as well as cause damage to structures.
  • Leaving a designated trail or walkway to shortcut between portions of the same trail or walkway, or to shortcut to an adjacent trail or walkway is prohibited.
    • Shortcutting sections of trails damages park resources, promotes erosion, and increases trail maintenance costs.
  • Passenger Carrying Busses
    • Engines must be shut down when parked for a period of more than 5 minutes.
      • The idling of bus engines adds unnecessary exhaust fumes to the air and diminishes the enjoyment by visitors of the peace and tranquility of the park.
  • The open display and/or use of radio telemetry equipment or similar electronic tracking devices are prohibited in the park. The use of telemetry devices on dogs will be considered hunting. Telemetry used to facilitate the retrieval of hunting dogs that have entered the park after being legally released outside of the park will not being considered hunting. Direct communication with a commissioned law enforcement officer is required before entering the park to retrieve hunting dogs.
    • Radio telemetry and GPS tracking devices are the most efficient method of catching a dog that has entered the park. Radio telemetry can also be used to track wildlife or to facilitate a hunt by tracking dogs in pursuit of wildlife. This restriction is intended to address the specific use of telemetry and GPS tracking devices as a means of hunting, which is expressly prohibited within the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park.
  • Generators
    • Generators may be used in developed campgrounds between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.to 7:00 p.m.
    • From October 15 through April 14 generators hours are extended to 9:00 p.m. but only for the purpose of generating heat.
    • The use of generators in park campgrounds during times other than listed above is prohibited except when a waiver has been granted for the powering of medical equipment.
    • Generator use is prohibited at all times in campground loops/sites designated as “generator free”.
    • Generator use is prohibited in group sites.
    • The use of generators at all other locations and times is prohibited.
      • The prolonged use of generators in campgrounds is a significant disturbance to an otherwise peaceful park setting. This measure provides for a reasonable opportunity to charge batteries and perform essential functions.
      • Evening generator hours are extended in the spring and fall when it is common to experience weather extremes. The extension of generator hours is for the purpose of generating heat. It is not for the purpose of operating amenities such as televisions and cooking. A lack of discretion by campers may necessitate future restrictions.
 

II. 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:

  • §2.4(d) Carry or possess a weapon other than a firearm, a trap, or a net.
    • Permits for authorized research activity.
      • Contact Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources for permit
  • §2.5(a) Specimen collection (Take plant, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals)
    • Contact Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources for permit
  • §2.10(a) The following camping activities:
    • Backcountry camping
      • Obtained at visitor contact stations throughout the park
  • §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
      • Contact Superintendent’s Office for special use permit
  • §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
      • Contact Chief Ranger’s Office for permit
  • §2.38 Explosives:
    • (a) Use, possess, store, transport explosives, blasting agents
    • (b) Use or possess fireworks
      • Contact Superintendent’s Office for permit
  • §2.50(a) Conduct a sports event, pageant, regatta, public spectator attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and similar events
    • Contact Superintendent’s Office for special use permit
  • §2.51(a) Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades and other public expressions of views by groups of 26 or more require a permit.
    • Contact Superintendent’s Office for special use permit
  • §2.52(c) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising by groups of 26 or more requires a permit.
    • Contact Superintendent’s Office for special use permit
  • §2.61(a) Residing on federal lands
    • Contact Superintendent’s Office for special use permit
  • §2.62 Memorialization:
    • (a) Erection of monuments (Requires approval from Director)
    • (b) Scattering ashes from human cremation not in accordance with listed conditions contained in this document.
      • Contact Superintendent’s Office for special use permit
  • §4.11(a) Exceeding of established vehicle load, weight and size limits
    • Contact Superintendent’s Office for special use permit
  • §5.1 Advertisements - (Display, posting or distribution)
    • Contact Superintendent’s Office for special use permit
  • §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).
    • Contact Superintendent’s Office for permit
  • §5.5 Commercial Photography/Filming:
    • (a) Commercial filming is defined as digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business or other entity for a market audience. It does not include news coverage or visitor use. (b) Still photography that takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or that uses model(s), set(s) or prop(s) that are not par of the location’s national or cultural resources or administrative facilities.
      • Contact Superintendent’s Office for special use permit
  • §7.15(b) Powerless flight: Hang gliding, paragliding
    • Contact Superintendent’s Office for permit
 

III. General Regulations

 

36 CFR §2.1 – PRESERVATION OF NATURAL, CULTURAL AND ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

(a)(4) Dead wood on the ground may be collected for use as fuel for campfires within the park in the following areas:

  • Along Skyline Drive from Mile 21 - 27, Mile 52 - 64.5, and Mile 66.5 - 87 except on the Frazier Discovery Trail.
  • Mathews Arm Campground, Mile 22.2
  • Big Meadows Campground, Mile 51.2, except within ½ mile east of the Story of the Forest Trail in the area known as Big Meadows Swamp.
  • Lewis Mountain Campground, Mile 57.5
  • Loft Mountain Campground, Mile 79.5
  • Picnic grounds
  • Appalachian Trail Huts where fires are permitted
  • Shelters where fires are permitted
  • Potomac Appalachian Trail Club cabins
    • The collection and use of limited amounts of wood by manual means for use within the park enhances the visitor experience. As this collection occurs around developed areas, the park benefits from the removal of fuels from areas typically protected from wildfire. However, the disturbance of any natural resource must be carefully measured. The limits placed on this activity (hand collected and only for use in the park) protect the vast majority of dead and down trees as habitat.

(b) Hiking or pedestrian traffic is restricted to the trail or walkway as listed in Section 1.5 of this document.

(c)(1), (c) (2) The following fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells 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:

  • Climbing trees to gather fruits and nuts is prohibited.
  • One gallon per person, per day, of the following edible fruits, berries, and nuts may be gathered for personal use or consumption:
    • morel mushrooms (Morchella spp.)
    • blueberries (Vaccinium spp.)
    • strawberries (Fragaria virginiana)
    • blackberries/raspberries/wineberries (Rubus spp.)
    • grapes (Vitis spp.)
    • elderberries (Sambucus pubens)
    • gooseberries/currants (Ribes spp.)
    • huckleberries (Gaylussacia spp.)
    • cherries/plums (Prunus spp.)
    • serviceberries (Amelanchier laevis)
    • persimmons (Diospyros virginiana)
    • black walnuts (Juglans nigra)
    • hickory nuts (Carya spp.)
    • American hazelnut (Corylus americana)
  • One bushel per person, per day, of the following edible fruits and nuts may be gathered for personal use or consumption:
    • apples (Malus spp.)
    • pears (Pyrus spp.)
    • peaches (Amygdalus persica)
  • One quart per person per day of total combined volume of all other edible fungi may also be collected. Inedible fungi may not be collected for medicinal, artistic, or other uses. (An inedible fungus is defined as one that is not consumed in its entirety by humans. These are typically woody shelf fungi.)
    • Collecting small quantities of edible berries, nuts, and fruits specified herein causes no adverse impact on Park resources and increases the visitor experience. This activity does not adversely affect the wildlife or other resources or the reproductive potential of the species. Taking of other plants, particularly when the entire plant is collected or uprooted harms the species and is prohibited by regulations.
 

36 CFR §2.2 - WILDLIFE PROTECTION

(d) The transporting of lawfully taken wildlife through the park is permitted under the following conditions and procedures:

  • The carcass must be tagged in accordance with state law; AND
  • Game must be kept out of site as much as practicable; AND
  • Legally taken wildlife may only be transported in the following areas:
    • While utilizing Virginia Game Commission lands from the state roads via the lower Rapidan Road.
    • While utilizing the Virginia Game Commission lands via the Devil’s Ditch game trail.
    • While retrieving game legally shot outside the park which has run into the park. (Direct communication with a commissioned law enforcement ranger is required.)
      • Possession of wildlife in the park is generally in violation of service wide regulations. These limited exceptions do not affect park resources or materially interfere with enforcement efforts. This activity makes reasonable accommodation to lawful activity outside the park.

(e) The following areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light:

  • All lands of Shenandoah National Park are closed to the viewing of wildlife with an artificial light.
    • Viewing of wildlife with an artificial light disturbs normal activities of certain animals and greatly facilitates poaching.
 

36 CFR §2.3 – FISHING

(a) In consultation with appropriate agencies of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the following are prohibited:

  • Fishing without possessing a valid Virginia State fishing license. All residents 16 years of age and older are required to possess a license. All non-residents, 12 years of age and older are required to possess a license. There is not a separate park issued permit required to fish within the park.
  • Fishing in waters within the park boundary by means other than an artificial lure having one single point hook. A multiple number of single hook lures (such as dropper flies) fished in a series is permitted.
  • Fishing while in possession of organic bait which includes, but not limited to:
    • corn
    • cheese
    • dough compounds
    • worms
    • insects
    • live or dead minnows
    • amphibians
    • preserved or non-preserved fish eggs
    • chemical compounds including pheromones, liquid scents and power baits.
  • Possessing or failing to return immediately and release any fish, unless otherwise noted in this section, caught in the waters within the boundary of Shenandoah National Park except for the following waters and their tributaries where harvesting is permitted:
    • Piney River - Rappahannock
    • Thornton River, North Fork - Rappahannock
    • Thornton River, South Fork - Rappahannock
    • Hughes River - Madison
    • Brokenback Run - Madison
    • Cedar Run - Madison
    • Rose River - Madison
    • Whiteoak Canyon Run -
    • Madison
    • Jeremys Run - Page
    • Hawksbill Creek, East - Page
    • Hawksbill Creek, Little - Page
    • Naked Creek, East -Page
    • Naked Creek, West - Page
    • Pass Run - Page
    • South River - Greene
    • Ivy Creek - Greene
    • Conway River - Madison/Greene
    • Big Run - Rockingham
    • Doyles River – Albemarle
  • Possessing brook trout less than nine (9) inches in length while fishing in any water located within the park boundary.
  • Possessing brown trout less than seven (7) inches in length while fishing in the following waters within the park boundary:
    • Rose River - Madison
    • Hughes River - Madison
    • Brokenback Run - Madison
  • Releasing any captured brown trout back into any park stream is prohibited. Undersized brown trout, those less than the 7 inch minimum, must be disposed of in a manner and location as not to be visible from any stream, park road or trail.
  • Snagging fish by pulling or jerking a hook, lure, or other implement through the water.
  • Fishing with more than one line per person.
    • The Superintendent, having consulted with appropriate State agencies as required by 36 CFR, establishes fishing limitations and closures to protect fishery and other natural resources, conduct ongoing research in cooperation with State agencies, provide flexibility in managing fishery resources and provide for visitor safety and enjoyment.
    • In the park’s continuing effort to control wild, non-native brown trout populations to limit impacts on wild native brook trout populations, special brown trout specific regulations have been promulgated for the Rose River, Conway River, Rapidan River, Hughes River and Brokenback Run in Madison County.
 

36 CFR §2.10 – CAMPING and FOOD STORAGE

(a)The sites and areas listed below have been designated for camping activities as noted. A permit system has been established for certain campgrounds or camping activities, and conditions for camping and camping activities are in effect as noted:

  • Mathews Arm Campground, Mile 22.2
  • Big Meadows Campground, Mile 51.2
  • Lewis Mountain Campground, Mile 57.5
  • Loft Mountain Campground, Mile 79.5
  • Dundo Campground, Mile 83.7
  • Anyplace in a non-developed area not specifically prohibited in this section.
  • Camping in the following areas is prohibited:
    • Within ¼ mile of the Skyline Drive
    • Within ¼ mile of any campground, lodge, picnic grounds, restaurant, or other developed facility
    • Within 10 yards of a stream or other natural water source
    • Within 20 yards of a park trail or unpaved road
    • Within 50 yards of standing building ruins including stone foundations, chimneys and log walls
    • Within 50 yards of another camping party
    • Party is defined as a single permitted group. Large groups that receive more than one permit are considered separate parties.
    • Within 50 yards of a “no camping” post
    • Within 100 yards of a cabin or day use shelter
    • Within 100 yards of a hut unless in a designated campsite
    • Within ¼ mile of the park boundary
    • Within the following special closure areas
      • Limberlost: area bounded by the Skyline Drive, Whiteoak Canyon Fire Road and the Skyland – Big Meadows Horse Trail
      • Hawksbill Mountain Summit: all areas of Hawksbill Mountain above 3,200 feet elevation
      • Whiteoak Canyon: area within Whiteoak canyon on either side of the Whiteoak Canyon Trail between the Skyland – Big Meadows Horse Trail (Upper Falls) and the Cedar Run Link Trail
      • Old Rag Mountain Summit: all areas of Old Rag Mountain above 2,800 feet elevation
      • Mary’s Rock Summit: The Appalachian Trail corridor and all areas of Mary’s Rock Mountain above 3,400 feet elevation (see Appendix A)
      • North Marshall Mountain: all areas of North Marshall Mountain above 3,200 feet elevation
      • Stony Man Mountain: all areas of Stony Man Mountain, including Little Stony Man (see Appendix A)
      • Overall Run Falls: area within the Tuscarora-Overall Run Falls and Mathews Arm trail corridors and areas on the south side of the Tuscarora-Overall Run Fall trail between 1,600 and 2,300 feet elevation (see Appendix A)
      • Big Meadows: the open meadow area visible from either the Skyline Drive or the Rapidan Fire Road.
      • Rapidan Camp (formally Camp Hoover): the area within ½ mile from Rapidan Camp.
  • Camping within Shenandoah National Park developed campgrounds is limited to a total of 30 nights in a calendar year, regardless of the campground(s) occupied.
    • A maximum length of time is designed to accommodate the maximum number of visitors and limit the opportunity for individuals to reside in the park.
  • Vehicles will be parked only in the designated parking areas for the campsite. All vehicles must fit on the paved parking areas of the site.
    • Requiring vehicles to occupy specific areas prevents damage to park resources from vehicle traveling on unstable grounds.
  • No more than one motor home per site is permitted.
    • A set number minimizes impact on the resources at the site.
  • Tents must be erected only on pads, when provided. All tents must fit within the area of the campsite and not negatively impact the surrounding area or resources.
    • This provision minimizes impact to the grounds around camping sites.
  • The maximum number of persons permitted to use one family campsite in a developed campground is limited to one (1) immediate household or six (6) persons.
    • Set number minimizes impact on the resources at the site.
  • Group sizes allowed at group sites are as listed:
    • Mathews Arm site B 89: 7-25 persons
    • Mathews Arm site B 90: 7-25 persons
    • Mathews Arm site B 91: 7-25 persons
    • Big Meadows site D 163: 7-15 persons
    • Big Meadows site D167: 7-15 persons
    • Loft Mountain site A37: 7-15 persons
    • Loft Mountain site A38: 16-25 persons
    • Loft Mountain site A39: 16-25 persons
    • All Dundo sites 7-20: persond
    • Group sites are designed for group camping and the size is set to accommodate larger groups while still limiting impact to the resource.
  • Motor homes and camping trailers used in group sites must fit within the parking space provided for that site.
    • Parking is limited.
  • Camping fees must be paid within one (1) hour of occupying a site.
    • Timely reporting of which sites are occupied is necessary for campground staff to manage occupancy.
  • All campsites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis cannot be held or reserved.
    • Occupancy of campsites is managed to allow fair and reasonable access to all campers.
  • Camping in an Appalachian Trail hut within the boundary of Shenandoah National Park without having first obtained a permit is prohibited.
  • Backcountry camping is permitted, subject to conditions of a National Park Service backcountry permit and is restricted as follows:
    • Group size is limited to ten (10) people. Larger groups must divide into smaller groups and obtain separate backcountry camping permits for each group.
    • Campfires are prohibited except for in pre-constructed fireplaces at huts and shelters.
    • Camping more than 2 consecutive nights in the same location is prohibited.
    • Camping more than 14 consecutive nights in the backcountry is prohibited.
    • Camping in the backcountry is limited to a maximum of 30 nights in any calendar year.
    • Campsite management is designed as a “dispersed concentration” system to minimize impacts to resource conditions and the backcountry visitor experience. Use of “pre-existing” campsites concentrates and minimizes camping impacts in “moderate- to high-use” backcountry areas. Use of “designated” campsites concentrates and minimizes the spread of impacts in specific “high-use” areas or at sensitive resource sites with potential for significant impacts. Some areas are “closed” to backcountry camping to preserve special resource conditions and values. A maximum length of time is designed to accommodate the maximum number of visitors and limit the opportunity for individuals to reside in the park.

(d) Conditions for the storage of food are in effect, as noted, for the following areas:

  • Within all of Shenandoah National Park food, garbage, and equipment used to cook or store food must be:
    • Stored within an agency approved bear-proof container/locker
    • Kept in a vehicle or camper unit constructed of non-pliable material if agency approved bear-proof container/locker is not provided
    • Suspended in the air at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet horizontally from the post, tree or other object.
  • Requiring food and refuse storage measures are designed to limit risk associated to wildlife, specifically bear, attempting to gain access to human food. This limitation minimizes bear/human conflicts.
 

36 CFR §2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas and/or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:


Designated Areas:

  • Huts – Huts are three-sided stone or log structures with wooden sleeping platforms along or associated with the Appalachian Trail. Fires must be in the service provided outdoor fireplaces. The following is a list of huts where fires are permitted:
    • Gravel Springs – North District
    • Pass Mountain – North District
    • Rock Springs – Central District
    • Bearfence - Central District
    • Byrds Nest #3 - Central District
    • Hightop – South District
    • Pinefield – South District
    • Blackrock – South District
    • Indian Run – North PATC maintenance
    • South River – Central PATC maintenance
    • Ivy Creek – South PATC maintenance
  • Shelters – Shelters are structures that are intended for day use only. Fires are permitted only at shelters that have service provided masonry fireplaces. The following is a list of shelters where fires are permitted:
    • Old Rag Shelter – Central District – Saddle Trail
    • Byrds Nest 1 – Central District – Saddle Trail
    • Byrds Nest 4 – North District
  • Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Cabins with inside cook stoves and built in fireplaces on porches (where available).
  • Picnic grounds
  • Developed campgrounds
  • Lewis Mountain Cabin designated fire grates
  • Skyland recreation area

Receptacles Allowed:

  • Park built, pre-constructed fireplaces
  • Self-contained stoves designed for backpacking use

(b) Fires must be extinguished according to the following conditions:

  • When unattended for periods of more than 15 minutes.
  • When departing the campsite.
    • Backcountry campfires as constructed and maintained by most visitors are highly impacting to the resource. Use of campfires encourages removal of natural woody debris around the campsite which disturbs natural appearances and processes; causes heat damage to soil and vegetation, and promote damage to or removal of live and dead standing trees. Use of campfires often leads to widespread construction of stone fire rings which are unnatural in appearance, concentrates visitor use and impacts by establishing campsites at inappropriate areas, and produces charcoal build-up in high-use areas. Campfires also contribute to human-caused wildland fires.
 

36 CFR §2.14 – SANITATION and REFUSE

(c)Conditions for the disposal, containerization, or carryout of human body waste have been established as follows:

  • Rest rooms, or privies when available, must be used.
  • Defecation within 20 yards of streams or other water sources, trails or roads is prohibited.
  • Solid human waste must be buried in a hole at least three (3) inches deep.
    • Solid human waste can spread disease and must be disposed of away from water sources to minimize the potential for pollution. Burying of solid waste at least three inches in soil minimizes the potential for washing of waste material into nearby water sources and eliminates the visual impact and odor of human waste. Carrying out refuse minimizes the presence of litter to enhance the visitor backcountry experience and protects wildlife from the impacts of discarded food and potentially hazardous trash.
 

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

(a)(1) The following structures and/or areas are closed to the possession of pets:

  • Fox Hollow Trail
  • Limberlost Trail
  • Story of the Forest Trail
  • Stony Man Trail except for the portion which follows the Appalachian Trail
  • Bearfence Mountain Trail
  • Frazier Discovery Trail
  • Dark Hollow Falls Trail
  • From Post Office Junction to Old Rag Shelter
  • The Ridge Trail (Old Rag Mountain)
  • The Saddle Trail (Old Rag Mountain)
  • visitor centers
  • entrance stations
  • camp stores
  • restaurants
  • lodging rooms, except those designated as pet buildings
  • all other public buildings and government offices

(a)(2) Pets must be restrained on a physical leash that does not exceed six (6) feet at all times while within the park. Wireless, electronic, and/or similar technology "leashes" are not permitted.

(a)(3) Pets may be left unattended and tied to an object in the following areas, under the conditions noted:

  • Tethered in a campsite for periods of less than one hour
  • In a vehicle with the windows open sufficiently for adequate ventilation, but to prevent the escape of the animal. Animals may not be tied to the outside of vehicles or tethered in parking lots.
  • Pets may be tethered in developed areas, other than campsites for periods not to exceed one-half hour provided they are tied in such a manner that they cannot reach a walkway.

(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:

  • In a developed area, all excrement must be immediately collected and disposed of in refuse containers.
  • In non-developed areas, all excrement must be removed from trails, shelters, huts or other public use area.
    • Pets have the potential to interfere with the safety of visitors and the natural resource and the enjoyment of others. Reasonable rules are necessary to provide for the well being of all. Similarly, pets may be endangered by wildlife, cars, or careless tethering if not properly restrained and managed. Some trails and facilities are unsuitable for pets because of the high volume of visitor use, or sanitation concerns. Particularly in campground and lodging areas, improperly controlled pets can cause conflicts between visitors.
 

36 CFR §2.16 – HORSES and PACK ANIMALS

(a)The following animals are designated as pack animals for purposes of transporting equipment:

  • horses
  • llamas
  • mules
  • burros
  • donkeys
  • goats

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

North District
  • Appalachian Trail between Compton
  • Gap Trail and Springhouse Road
  • Beecher Ridge Trail
  • Bluff Trail
  • Browntown Trail
  • Compton Gap Trail
  • Dickey Ridge Trail(as marked)
  • Harris Hollow Trail
  • Heiskell Hollow Trail
  • Hickerson Hollow Trail
  • Hull School Trail
  • Jenkins Gap Trail
  • Jeremy’s Run (Portion)
  • Jordan River Trail
  • Keyser Run Road
  • Knob Mountain Trail
  • Lands Run Road
  • Mathews Arm Trail
  • Mt Marshall Trail
  • Neighbor Mountain Trail
  • Piney Branch Trail (Portion)
  • Rocky Branch Trail
  • Thornton River Trail (Portion)
  • Springhouse Road
  • Weddlewood Trail
Central District
  • Berry Hollow Fire Road
  • Conway River Fire Road
  • Conway River Trail
  • Dry Run Fire Road
  • Fork Mountain Fire Road
  • Fork Mountain Trail
  • Furnace Spring Trail
  • Graves Mill Trail
  • Hazel Mountain Trail
  • Hazel River Trail
  • Laurel Prong Trail (Portion)
  • Mill Prong Trail (Portion)
  • Old Rag Fire Road
  • Pine Hill Gap Trail
  • Pocosin Fire Road
  • Pocosin Horse Trail
  • Rapidan Camp Road (Portion)
  • Rapidan Fire Road
  • Red Gate Fire Road
  • Rose River Fire Road
  • Skyland Fire Road
  • Skyland/Big Meadows Horse Trail
  • Slaughter Trail
  • South River Fire Road
  • Stony Man Mountain Horse Trail
  • Stony Mountain Trail
  • Tanners Ridge Admin Road
  • Upper Dark Hollow Trail
  • Weakley Hollow Fire Road
  • White Rocks Trail
  • Whiteoak Canyon Fire Road
South District
  • Beldor Fire Road
  • Big Run Loop Trail (Portion)
  • Big Run Portal Trail (Portion)
  • Browns Gap Road
  • Gasline Road
  • Lewis Run Trail
  • Madison Run Road
  • Stull Run Fire Road
  • North Fork Moormans River Trail
  • North Fork Moormans Fire Road
  • Paine Run Trail
  • Patterson Ridge Trail
  • Simmons Gap Fire Road
  • Smith Roach Gap Fire Road
  • South Fork Moormans Fire Road
  • Turk Branch Trail
  • Turk Gap Trail

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

  • Areas other than those listed above are closed to horse use.
  • Unattended horses and pack animals must be tethered to park supplied posts, sturdy trees or rocks.
  • Hobbling horses and pack animals to permit free grazing is prohibited.
  • Horses and pack animals are only permitted to be off established horse trails for the immediate use of a valid backcountry campsite.
    • Trails are designated for horse and pack animal use by the condition of tread surface. Trail use designation avoids conflict among visitor use activities and prevents damage to trails not built to withstand horse use. Requiring horses to travel on designated trails prevents damage to vegetation off trails.
 

36 CFR §2.17 – AIRCRAFT and AIR DELIVERY

(c)(1) The removal of a downed aircraft, components, or parts thereof is subject to procedures established by the Superintendent through written authorization. The following information is required:

  • Anticipated method of removal.
  • Date of work.
  • Authorization of owner and/or insurance company.
  • Release by the Virginia State Police, National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Items to be left, reasons for leaving items.
  • Description of access points.
  • Plans for removal and mitigation of biohazards and hazardous materials.
  • Plans for financial restitution of damages to park resources and incident costs.
  • Any other information deemed necessary to protect employee, visitor or resource safety.
    • Removal of wreckage from the Park needs to be accomplished safely in a coordinated fashion with the least possible damage to Park resource.
 

36 CFR §2.19 – WINTER ACTIVITIES

(a)The following park roads and/or parking areas open to motor vehicle traffic may be used for skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, innertubing, tobogganing, and similar winter activities under the conditions noted:

  • Sections of the Skyline Drive that are closed to vehicular traffic for inclement weather are open to winter activities. These sections are subject to snow removal operations at any time and the road will not be left unplowed or closed to solely facilitate winter use.
    • Use of closed sections of the Skyline Drive for winter recreation enables the public to access areas of the park when they would otherwise be unable to in a motor vehicle. Such use does not pose a threat to park resources or impose a risk to park visitors
 

36 CFR §2.20 – SKATING, SKATEBOARDS and SIMILAR DEVICES

The use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, scooters, or similar devices are allowed only in the following areas:
  • Park Residence areas.
    • Use is permitted in residential areas in order for employees and their families to engage in roller skating, skateboarding, and similar activities. Such use does not pose a threat to park resources or impose a risk to park visitors.
 

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 and to the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) as noted:

  • All park and concessions operated buildings except:
    • Single-family Permanent Service employee residences not being used as a dormitory quarters.
  • Federal regulations prohibit smoking within federal buildings, including within 25 feet of entryways. The park concession has designated all their guest rooms and public areas as smoke-free.
 

36 CFR §2.22 – PROPERTY

(a)(2) Property may be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours in the following areas and under the following conditions:

  • Vehicles may be left in overlooks and parking areas while hiking in the backcountry with a valid backcountry permit.
    • Allowing vehicles to be left unattended by prior arrangement provides reasonable accommodation to visitors who plan extended backcountry trips.
    • The placement of geocaches, the placement of objects, within the Park is a prohibited activity based upon potential negative impacts on natural and cultural resources. The negative impacts of concern include: digging holes to bury caches, manipulating vegetation and geological formations to conceal caches, and the creation of unauthorized social trails.
 

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:

  • All park and concessions operated buildings except:
    • Employee residential areas
    • Concession operated tap rooms, restaurants, guest rooms, and other meeting areas where the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted by business agreements and concession contracts
    • Special events with the Superintendent’s approval
  • All parking areas, pullouts and overlooks between the north entrance, mile post 0 and milepost 4.
  • Lower Rapidan area, which includes
    • Rapidan River Trail
    • Along the Rapidan River from the eastern boundary of the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area to the Park boundary near Graves Mill.
    • The corridors on and within view of the Rapidan Fire Road from the eastern boundary of the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area to the park boundary near Blakey Ridge.
  • In areas closed to alcohol, the park has experienced and documented a history of serious incidents of aberrant behavior related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages of such magnitude that the diligent application of the authorities in Sections 1.5, 2.34, and 2.35, over a reasonable time period, does not alleviate the problem.
 

36 CFR §2.51 – PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES, MEETINGS

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

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

  • Dickey Ridge Visitor Center - Grassy area directly in front of the visitor center
  • Headquarters - Grassy area directly in front of the Administration Building on the east side of the parking lot
  • Byrd Visitor Center - Grassy area at the south entrance to the visitor center parking lot
  • Loft Mountain Wayside – Cement pad area directly in front of the wayside building (in front of the former gas station office)
    • Permits and directions for authorized Section 2.51 activities are available and issued by the Superintendent’s Office. The areas listed above and designated on the attached maps (Appendix B) are hereby authorized for permitted activities, provided no prior application for a permit for the same time and place has been made, that has been, or will be granted, and the activities authorized by that permit do not reasonably allow multiple occupancy of that particular area.
 

36 CFR §2.52 – DISTRIBUTION OF PRINTED MATTER

The sale distribution of printed matter is restricted to those areas designated as First Amendment Assembly Areas. The distribution of printed material, as it is defined in 36 CFR §2.52, is prohibited in other areas of the park, if it:

  1. Causes injury or damage to park resources; or
  2. Unreasonably impairs the atmosphere of the peace and tranquility maintained in wilderness, natural, historic, or commemorative zones; or
  3. Unreasonably interferes with the interpretive, visitor service, or other program activities, or with the administrative activities of the National Park Service; or
  4. Substantially impairs the operation of public use facilities or services of National Park Service concessioners or contractors; or
  5. Presents a clear and present damage to the public health and safety.
 

36 CFR §2.62 – MEMORIALIZATION

(a)A permit is required for the scattering of ashes from cremated human remains, or in the following designated areas without a permit, in accordance with the following terms and conditions:

  • The scattering of human ashes from cremation within Shenandoah National Park is allowed without a permit, under the following terms and conditions: any other circumstance requires a permit.
    • The remains to be scattered must have been cremated and pulverized.
    • The scattering of remains by persons on the ground and performed at least 100 feet from any trail, road, developed facility, or body of water
    • The scattering of remains from the air is prohibited
    • Ashes must be scattered over an area large enough so that they will not accumulate in one place
    • The use of commercial, for profit venture to distribute cremated remains in the park is prohibited.
    • No marker, urn or container of any kind may be left to commemorate the event
  • Permits are required for ceremonies or assemblies that might conflict with normal park operations or result in impact to park resources.
    • Scattering of cremated human remains is a reasonable accommodation to visitors and does not result in any negative resource impact.
 

36 CFR §4.11 – VEHICLE LOAD, WEIGHT AND SIZE LIMITS

(a)The following load, weight and size limits, which are more restrictive than State law, apply to the roads indicated under the terms and conditions, and/or under permit as noted:

  • Vehicles that exceed the loads, weight or size limits specified below are prohibited from travel on Park roads without a permit.
    • When vehicle or vehicle combination gross weight exceeds 40,000 lbs. between May 1 to November 30 (inclusive) of each year.
    • When vehicle or vehicle combination gross weight exceeds 20,000 lbs. during the time period of December 1 to April 30 (inclusive) of each year.
    • When road condition signing at the various entrances to Shenandoah National Park indicate weight restrictions which are less than the gross combined vehicle weight of vehicle being used.
    • When size and/or length of vehicle requires special permit under state regulations.
    • Travel through Mary’s Rock Tunnel by vehicles over 12 feet 8 inches in height or over 11 feet in width.
  • All such requests, other than emergency responses, should be in writing. The application should state:
    • The approved Park project which requires this type of equipment.
    • Alternatives identified.
    • Safety procedures for the protection of visitors, staff and resources
    • Liability limits and copies of a current insurance policy
  • Generally, applicants should follow the following guidelines in their planning. These guidelines are in compliance with maximum load limits suggested by the Federal Highway Administration for travel on Skyline Drive. However, weather, road, route or other conditions may require lower limits or may permit higher limits.
    • Single units Gross vehicle weight (lbs.)
      • 2 axles 40,000
      • 3 axles 48,000
      • 4 axles 52,000
    • Combination Units Gross Vehicle Combination (lbs.)
      • 3 axles 57,000
      • 4 axles 62,000
      • 5 or more axles 66,000
  • Limits are essential in order to protect the motor road and appurtenances, to protect resources, and for reasons of visitor safety.
 

36 CFR §4.21 – SPEED LIMITS

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

  • Skyline Drive: 35 miles per hour
  • All campgrounds and associated roads: 10 miles per hour
  • All picnic grounds and associated roads: 15 miles per hour
  • Big Meadows Access Roads from the Skyline Drive to the entrances to the campground and lodge facilities: 20 miles per hour
  • All administrative use roads: 20 miles per hour
  • Skyland access road: 20 miles per hour
  • On the Skyline Drive from 0.2 miles north of the Loft Mountain Wayside to 0.1 miles south of that facility: 25 miles per hour
  • On the Skyline Drive from mile 50.5, 0.2 miles north of the Byrd Visitor Center to mile 51.4, 0.2 miles south of the Rapidan access road: 25 miles per hour
  • On the Skyline Drive 0.2 miles north of the north entrance to Elkwallow Wayside to the south exit of Elkwallow Picnic Grounds: 25 miles per hour
  • Access road to the Loft Mountain Campground from the Skyline Drive: 25 miles per hour
  • On the Skyline Drive from 0.1 miles North of the Rockfish Gap Entrance Station to 0.1 miles South of that facility: 20 miles per hour
  • On Skyline Drive from mile 85.7 to mile 88.5: 25 miles per hour
    • Skyline Drive was established as a leisurely tour road. Safety factors associated with the design of the roadway and large populations of wildlife result in a speed limit being set at 35 miles per hour. All other park speed limits are in consideration of sight distance, amount of foot traffic and road conditions.
 

36 CFR §4.30 – BICYCLES

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

 

36 CFR §4.31 – HITCHHIKING

Hitchhiking is permitted in the following areas under the conditions noted:

  • Along Skyline Drive and in developed areas when associated with hiking within the park.
    • Many visitors under estimate the difficulty of park trails or encounter unexpected weather conditions leaving them unable to complete a planned hike. In this event, visitors want the option to solicit a ride back to their vehicle. Soliciting a ride for short distances has been an accepted practice for many years without any complaint or history of problems.
 

36 CFR §7.15 SPECIAL REGULATIONS

(c) Hang gliding and paragliding are authorized under terms of a special permit at the following locations:

  • Dickey Ridge, Mile 6.3
  • Hogback, Mile 20.5
  • Miller’s Head, Near Skyland Resort
  • A permit must be in the possession of individuals using park areas for the purpose of hang gliding and Paragliding. The permit is available at the Communications Center located at the Park Headquarters. Permits will only be issued to individuals who hold current H3 or P3 with cliff launch and high altitude or higher rating from the United States Hang Gliding Association. The fee and permit application must be submitted to the Park Superintendent’s office and the permit received before engaging in this activity.
    • These sites have been determined to be appropriate for this type of activity without interfering with or creating a safety hazard with other park recreational activities.

-End of Document-

 

Appendix A - Rock Outcrop Management Plan (ROMP) Public Use Restrictions Maps

 
Map of area near Hawksbill closed to off trail use.
ROMP public use restrictions near Hawksbill summit.
 
ROMP public use restrictions near Little Stony Man.
 
Map of areas closed to camping near Mary's Rock.
ROMP public use restrictions near Mary's Rock.
 
Map of closed to camping areas near Mount Marshall
ROMP public use restrictions near Mount Marshall.
 
Map of closed to camping and closed to public use areas near Old Rag Summit.
ROMP public use restrictions near Old Rag Summit.
 
Map of closed to camping areas near Overall Run Falls.
ROMP public use restrictions near Overall Run Falls.
 

Appendix B - First Amendment Assembly Area Maps

 
Map of first amendment assembly area near Byrd Visitor Center.
First amendment assembly area near Byrd Visitor Center.
 
First amendment assembly area near Dickey Ridge Visitor Center.
First amendment assembly area near Dickey Ridge Visitor Center.
 
Map of first amendment assembly area near Park Headquarters.
First amendment assembly area near Park Headquarters.
 
Mapof first amendment assembly area near Loft Mountain Wayside.
First amendment assembly area near Loft Mountain Wayside.

Last updated: January 31, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, VA 22835

Phone:

(540) 999-3500

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