Special Use Permits

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The National Park Service may require a special use permit for certain activities to occur in Yellowstone. These include organized gatherings like weddings or church services, public assemblies and demonstrations, special events, filming and some commercial activities like commercial travel or still photography. A special park use is defined as a short-term activity that takes place in a park area, and that:

  1. provides a benefit to an individual, group or organization rather than the public at large;
  2. requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the National Park Service (NPS) in order to protect park resources and the public interest;
  3. is not prohibited by law or regulation;
  4. is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the NPS; and is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease.

Please note that while a special park use may meet the above criteria, not all activities are approved based on park specific resources, visitation and potential impact.

What Activities May Need a Permit

The following list includes but is not limited to what activities may need a permit; please contact us to inquire if your requested activity will require a Special Use Permit.

  • Filming: As of January 22, 2021 low-impact filming does not require a permit.
    • Low-impact filming is defined as:
      • Outdoor filming activities in areas open to the public (outside of thermal areas or in areas managed as wilderness).
      • Crew size of five people or less.
      • Using handheld cameras and tripods only.
    • Permits are required for non-low impact filming and may include (for questions contact the permitting office):
      • Filming in thermal areas or in areas managed as wilderness (generally greater than ½ mile from the road).
      • Filming inside buildings.
      • Crew size exceeding 5 people.
      • Filming with equipment that exceeds a handheld camera and tripod.
      • Special requests such as overnight or underwater filming.
      • Interviews or filming with employees.
    • 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 park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.
  • Still Photography: Including sets, props, products, models or large equipment) or sound recording. All compensated photographers hired to photograph weddings or other ceremonies/events, or portraits (weddings, family, senior, pets, engagement, etc.) in the park are required to obtain a Commercial Use Authorization.
  • Wedding or Other Ceremonies: Wedding photographers may need a Commercial Use Authorization.
  • First Amendment: Church services or demonstrations (non-fee) available on a first come-first service basis.
  • Special Events
  • Ash Scattering
  • Park Suppliers, Commercial Travel and Hazardous Material Permits
 
A videographer looks through his viewfinder of the video camera to frame a scene.

Film, Photography, and Sound Recording

A permit is required for commercial filming, photography, and audio recording.

The grey stone chapel at Mammoth Hot Springs surrounded by green grass.

Weddings and Other Ceremonies

Weddings and other ceremonies may be permitted in certain areas of Yellowstone depending on location, group size, and time of day or year.

Sign stating that people in the area and expressing their own opinions.

First Amendment (FA)

Church services or demonstrations require a special use permit (non-fee).

Black and white photograph of low-lying clouds and distant mountain peaks.

Ash Scattering

Review these regulations if you would like to scatter the remains of your loved one within the park.

A wrecker hauls a broken down vehicle along a park road.

Suppliers, Travel, & Hazardous Materials

Certain transportation into Yellowstone National Park requires an additional permit different from that of a recreating visitor.

 

How to Apply and Fees

A non-refundable application fee is required for your activity to be considered. Applications with payment form (if applicable) must be submitted at least 2-4 weeks in advance depending on the time of year. Complex uses or activities may need additional time, however, most applications will not be accepted more than one year before your event. Please review the following applications and determine which version suits your request. If you are unsure of which application to use, contact the permitting office.

 

Contact Us

Open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (MT)
Closed federal holidays
Office: (307) 344-2722
Fax: (307) 344-2112
email

Last updated: March 11, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

Contact Us