Group Tour Reservations
Reservations are required for private, non-commercial groups of ten or more individuals only. For groups of less than 10, reservations are not required to take house tours. Maximum group size for reservations is 18 persons. Please call (212) 260-1616 and speak with a ranger to confirm a group tour reservation. A two-week advance notice is necessary. Voice mail messages cannot be used for confirmation. Please NOTE: Commercial tour groups fall under the "Special Use Permit" section below.
School Group Reservations
We encourage teachers to bring their students to visit the site! Group size, including chaperones cannot exceed 36 individuals. For more information, please click here. For additional teacher resources, please explore the education page.
Special Use Permits
A Special Use Permit is required for any activity that provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the park or the public at large. Many of the events that require permits also require some degree of oversight from National Park Service staff. Examples of groups who would fall under the special use permit include, but are not limited to: authors who want to host a book signing, commercial tour groups and groups that charge memberships. Such groups need to apply for Special Use Permit.
Changes to Commercial Filming Permits on Park Land
On January 22, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Price v. Barr determining the permit and fee requirements applying to commercial filming under 54 USC 100905, 43 CFR Part 5, and 36 CFR Part 5.5 are unconstitutional. In response to the decision, the National Park Service issued interim guidance on February 22, 2021, to manage filming activities. Under the interim guidance, filming activities may require a permit if they would impact park resources or the visitor experience. The National Park Service intends to update regulations addressing filming activities that are consistent with the outcome of Price v. Barr. Once effective, those regulations will replace and supersede the interim guidance.
Those interested in commercial filming activities on land managed by the National Park Service are encouraged to contact the park directly for more information about filming in the park and to discuss how to minimize potential impacts to visitors and sensitive park resources.
Do I need a permit to film?
Under the interim guidance, the National Park Service is not distinguishing between types of filming, such as commercial, non-commercial, or news gathering. Low-impact filming activities will not require a special use permit, but non-low-impact filming activities may require a permit to address their potential impacts on park resources and visitor activities.
“Low-impact filming’ is defined as outdoor filming activities in areas open to the public, except areas managed as wilderness, involving five people or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras. Those participating in low-impact filming activities do not need a permit and are not required to contact the park in advance. If low-impact filmers have questions about areas where they want to film, they should contact the park directly.
Videographers, filmers, producers, directors, news and other staff associated with filming are reminded that rules and regulations that apply to all park visitors, including park hours and closed areas, still apply to filming activities even if a permit is not required. Check with the park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.
Filming activities that do not meet the description of low-impact filming require at least ten days advance notice to the National Park Service by contacting the park directly in writing. The park’s superintendent will determine whether the filming activities will require a special use permit for filming. Based on the information provided, a permit may be required to:
Examples of requests that may require a permit include, but are not limited to: entering a sensitive resource area, filming in areas that require tickets to enter, or filming in visitor centers, campgrounds, or other visitor areas. The decision to require a permit rests with the park superintendent based on potential impacts to park resources or the visitor experience.
Contact the park directly if unsure whether or not a filming activity is considered low-impact or may require a permit.
Are filmers still required to pay fees to film in parks?
Under the interim guidance issued on January 22, 2021, the National Park Service is not collecting application or location fees, or cost recovery for filming activities.
View the non low-impact filming permit application.
View and print the safety plan that must be submitted with your application if there are 50+ participants.
When is a permit needed?
Still photographers require a permit only when:
What fees will I have to pay?
The National Park Service will collect a cost recovery charge and a location fee for still photography permits. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in processing your request and monitoring your permit. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of your permit. The application fee must be submitted with your application.
In addition, the National Park Service has been directed by Congress to collect a fee to provide a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands. The National Park Service uses the following still photography fee schedule:
How do I apply for a permit?
You should submit a completed application along with the application fee to the park where you want to film or photograph as far in advance of your planned date as possible. In addition, you should request a meeting with park staff if your proposed activity is unusual or complex. Early consultation with park staff will help them process the submitted application in a timely manner.
View and print the safety plan that must be submitted with your application if your group will have more than 50 participants.
Are there other permit requirements?
You may be required to obtain liability insurance naming the United States as additionally insured in an amount commensurate with the risk posed to park resources by your proposed activity. You may also be asked to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.
What about photography workshops?
If you are planning a photography workshop, you may need a commercial use authorization. See the commercial use authorization page for more information.
First Amendment Activities
We encourage citizens to exercise rights guaranteed by the Constitution. However, the courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect the public and park resources. Therefore, such First Amendment activities involving over 25 participants require Special Use Permits, and National Park Service staff may regulate the time, place, and manner in which they are conducted. Some examples are:
Last updated: February 20, 2022