First Amendment Activities

American Flag waving in the breeze with bright sunlight behind the flag pole.
National Parks are often referred to as America’s best idea because they protect our most treasured landscapes and share the story of our collective culture.

NPS Photo

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. Therefore, some first amendment activities require special use permit. The National Park Service may regulate the time, place, and manner in which they are conducted.

First Amendment Activities

The necessity of permit to conduct first amendment activities is determined by the group size as wells as:

1. Group wants to hold a demonstration or distribute and/or sell printed matter somewhere outside a designated first amendment area
2. Group wants to use equipment (i.e. tables, banners, platforms, etc.) even if it is within a designated area.
3. Group is merely an extension of another group already availing itself of the 25-person maximum.
4. Group wants to guarantee they will have priority for the use of a location, including the designated first amendment areas.

Group Size

A large group is defined as "more than 25 people." Groups with more than 25 people are required to obtain a first amendment permit even if they are utilizing a park designated First Amendment site. Per 36 CFR 2.51(c) and 2.52(b)(1), “demonstrations and the sale or the distribution of printed matter by 25 or fewer persons may be conducted without a permit in the available areas designated…”

Some Examples of Special Events that Fall under First Amendment Activities

Distribution and/or sale of printed matter
Religious services
Public demonstrations or assemblies, etc.

Designated First Amendment Activities Areas

First amendment and public assembly activities are limited to designated fist amendment activity areas as described in the Superintendent's Compendium.


There are no permit fees associated with first amendment activities permits.

How to Exercise Your First Amendment Right

  • Download and complete the special use permit application.
  • Download and read the White Sands Special Park Uses FYI document.
  • Submit the completed special use permit application by email or mail or in person. Factor in additional time for requests processed through the mail. For email, submit the documents to and inclide "First Amendment Activity Permit" in the subject line. For mail, please send your permits to...
Special Park Uses
White Sands National Park
PO Box 1086
Holloman AFB, NM 88330
  • Once received, most applications for permits requests will be processed within ten working days.
  • After review of your application, your permit will be emailed to you or you may pick it up in person at the park. To pick up your permit in person, make an appointment by emailing and write in the subject line “appointment."

If You Have Additional Questions...

If you have questions regarding first amendement activities at the park, we encourage you to contact the Special Use Permit Coordinator at Please include "1st Amendment activities" in the subject line.

Last updated: July 9, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 1086
Holloman AFB, NM 88330


575 479-6124

Contact Us