Special Use Permits

Planning an Event?
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's Division of Parks and Recreation manages several properties that may be suitable for public and private events. If you are interested in reserving space at a state park, beach, campground or nature preserve for a special event, you may need to request a Special Use Permit. 
All events must adhere to current executive orders, regulations and state guidance relating to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Step One: Contact the Park Manager 
Please contact the Park Manager at the location you are hoping to reserve. The Park Manager will be able to clarify whether you need a Special Use Permit for your event and whether this type of event is suitable for the location.
You can go to the the RI State Parks website for a complete listing of parks, beaches, campgrounds and other properties under RI Parks management. The contact information for Regional Park Managers is listed on each location's page.
Step Two: Create your Personal Profile
To complete your special use permit application online, you'll first need to tell us who you are and create a username and password for your account.  Go here to create your personal profile (called a "Community Profile") with login and password. Every time you use this website, log on using your username and password. You'll be able to use this account to track your reservations and make payments.
Step Three: Submit a Special Use Permit Application 
  • Login using your username and password.
  • From any page, scroll to the top of the website, click on the "Facilities" tab in the blue ribbon, and select All Event Requests.
  • Click on the green RESERVE button. This brings you to a calendar. Find the date associated with your request, and click the green RESERVE button on that date. (Note that applications must be for events that are at least 30 days in advance. If your event is on multiple days, select the first day, and provide details in the special use application.)
  • Enter a brief description of use (e.g., 5K Run) and the approximate number of people expected.
  • Click the down arrow next to "One Day Reservation - 7 am - 6 pm," click the green + button, and click the blue ADD TO CART button.
  • You will not need to pay any upfront fees.
  • Click the blue GO TO CHECKOUT button on the bottom right.
  • Check the blue I ACCEPT WAIVER button.
  • Click the blue COMPLETE FORM button. This takes you to the Special Use Application. Complete the form, sign and submit.
  • After we have reviewed your form, Parks Headquarters will be in touch to let you know if we can approve it and any expenses that may be associated with your event.
Step Four: Certificate of Insurance
Most Special Event Permits require a certificate of general liability insurance. The amount of insurance required is based on the type of activity you are planning to host. After we have reviewed your application, we will provide details on the level of insurance required and instructions on where to email the certificate. We must receive your certificate of insurance two weeks prior to your event, so please plan ahead.
You will need a Special Use Permit if you are planning to host:
  • Art displays or exhibits
  • Athletic events, competitions, races or regattas
  • Clean ups (shoreline or other property type)
  • Company picnics for more than 50 people
  • Conferences or training events
  • Daycare or summer camp visits
  • Drone use (approval is restricted to commercial use - no private use permitted)
  • Exercises classes (commercial)
  • Festivals
  • Film, video or photography shoots (small scale, large scale, non-commercial and student-based)
  • Fireworks displays
  • Fundraising events (Walkathons, races, small festivals, family fun days, etc.)
  • Equestrian competitions, shows or gatherings
  • Motorcycle charity runs or stopovers
  • Outreach or education displays or tents
  • Press conferences
  • Private parties for more than 50 people (not contained to a specific site rental such as a pavilion or field)
  • Radio station broadcasts
  • Religious ceremonies
  • School field days, picnics or field trips 
  • Scientific research or surveys
  • Volunteer maintenance projects (scouts, schools, groups or organizations) 

Some Special Use/Large Group events may require a license approved by the Rhode Island State Properties Committee (RISPC). This process can take up to 90 days, so please plan accordingly. See for more information.

You will need a License Agreement if your event involves:

  • Commercial Use: If a person, group or organization is making or attempting to make a profit or offers for sale any service or product or charges a fee on DEM property. 
  • Alcohol: Any event or activity that proposes the consumption, possession, distribution, selling or drinking of alcoholic beverages. 
  • High Risk: Events such as fireworks/pyrotechnics; concerts/festivals with staging, special equipment, or carnival rides; large scale races, regattas, or competitions; any use that requires construction of structures and/or equipment to move or install any feature.
  • High Impact:  The event or activity that exceeds normal use of the facility and/or interrupts the normal public use of the park due to scope or size of the event; large number of attendees; large-scale promotion (media and social); events of regional, national or global scale.


Email our Special Events Team or call 401-667-6205.