Set in the rugged beauty of Tonto Basin, Tonto National Monument preserves cliff dwellings and other prehistoric archeological sites amid a rich and diverse Sonoran Desert environment. Most special events and activities held within Tonto National Monument require a Special Use Permit. These permits are issued and approved only after National Park Service staff determines that the activity will not cause degradation of the park's valuable resources, visitor experience, or the purpose for which the park was established.
A Special Use Permit is required for activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization, rather than the public at large. These activities require some degree of management from the National Park Service if there is the potential for interference with visitor use, congestion of a highly visited area, or possible impact on park resources. Special event examples include: holiday services, filming/photographing, organized group events, scientific research, weddings, etc.
First Amendment Activities
Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are constitutional rights. However, the courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect park resources. The necessity of a permit to conduct First Amendment activities is determined by the group size.
A permit is required for any small group that:
Some examples of special events that fall under First Amendment Rules:
There are no permit fees associated with First Amendment permits.
Application for Special Use Permit - Long Form
Commercial Filming and Still Photography
When is a permit needed?
All commercial filming activities taking place within Tonto National Monument require a permit. Commercial filming includes capturing a moving image on film and video as well as sound recordings.
How do I apply for a permit?
Permit applications are available through each park's administrative office or website. Contact information for parks can be found on their websites; visit Find a Park to locate the park where you would like to photograph. 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.
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:
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.
Application for Still Photography - Short Form
Last updated: April 27, 2023