Reservations are not required to enter Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, but we strongly recommend you make reservations for camping. You can pay the park entrance fee upon arrival at the visitor center (open year-round except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day), or online through

Oak Bottom camping reservations can be made by calling 1-530-359-2269.

Primitive camping at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area campsites can be made through or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Free summer ranger-led kayak and paddleboard program reservations can be made through or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Special Use Permits

What types of activities require a special park use permit?

Special Events: A special use permit is required of activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group or organization, rather than the public at large, and that require some degree of management from the National Park Service in order to protect park resources and the public interest. Some examples of special events that require permits are:

  • Sporting events
  • Public spectator attractions
  • Festivals
  • Concerts
  • Ceremonies: weddings, baptisms, memorial services, etc.
  • Private gatherings, involving 25 or more people, such as company picnics, etc.
  • Cultural programs
First Amendment Activities: Freedom of speech, the press, religion, and assembly are constitutional rights. The courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect park resources. Therefore, all first amendment activities require special use permits and the NPS may regulate the time, the place, and the manner in which they are conducted. Some examples of first amendment activities that require permits are:

Distribution and/or sale of printed matter
  • Political speeches
  • Religious services
  • Public demonstrations or assemblies
  • Collecting signatures for petitions

Filming/Photography: A special use permit may be required if filming or photography is done for commercial purposes. Filming that involves props, models, professional crews, casts, or set dressings must have a special use permit.

Who do I contact about a Special Park Use Permit?
We recommend that you communicate the Special Park Uses Coordinator, Tricia Ford, before filling out an application, to ascertain whether or not you will need a special use permit for your activity. Phone: (530) 242-3412 or email:

How do I apply for a Special Park Use Permit?

Fill out an application. Applications must be submitted a minimum of 4 weeks in advance of an event to allow time for processing. A non-refundable processing fee of $50.00 is required with each application.

Where can I get an application?
Both the visitor center and the administration office at park headquarters keep paper copies of the application form.

An electronic form is available on the park website, On the home page, find the “Reserve” icon in the lower right hand corner of the photograph of the lake. It will take you to the Permits and Reservations page. Scroll to the bottom of the page for Special Use Permits and click on Special Park Use Application to download.

What conditions will I need to meet?
Each special use permit issued is based upon general conditions that protect visitor access, safety, and park values and resources. Other permit conditions may be imposed depending upon the proposed activity and the park site on which it is held.

Most events will require a certificate of insurance to ensure liability coverage for operations, personal injury, property damage and loss, and other necessary categories. For events with potential participant impact, permittees must post a performance bond. The bond is refundable unless the deposit must be used, in whole or in part, for site cleanup, trash removal, property damage or because the permittee fails to comply with permit conditions. A tax ID or Social Security number is required from each person or organization doing business with the federal government.

How are special events scheduled?
An annual calendar is maintained of all special events held in the park. Requests for event dates are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis up to one year in advance. To avoid potential conflicts with the general public, most events of significant size should be scheduled outside our busy visitor season, Memorial Day through Labor Day. We will not issue additional permits for park sites that are already affected by a scheduled event. An event is not placed on our calendar until a completed application form, accompanied by the $50 application fee, is received and reviewed at the park.

What will my permit eventually cost?
The National Park Service is required to recover all costs involved in allowing special park uses. Permit prices may vary widely, from $65 for a small private event to $1500 for a large athletic competition.

How long will it take for my permit to be approved or denied?
The average permit takes about four weeks to process. Permits for large, high-impact events may take more time to evaluate.

Special Use Permit Application

Last updated: June 4, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 188
Whiskeytown , CA 96095


(530) 242-3400

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