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 Regional Park Manager at the location you are hoping to reserve. The Regional 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. (Instructions for completing a Special Use Permit application are below.)
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: Submit a Special Use Permit Application 
Go to the Facilities tab and click on All Reservation Requests. Click on the date you want to request. Select full day or half day, and proceed to checkout. You will not need to pay any upfront fees. At checkout, you will be asked to complete the Special Use Form. 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 Three: 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.