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Para integrantes de la comunidad:

Natural Areas

 Contact Information

Dept Director
  •   8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (M-F, except for holidays)

Permit FAQs

How do I know if I need a permit?
  • Groups of 15 or more persons
  • Research projects
  • Commercial Use
  • Organized school activities for groups of 15 or more not organized through our Education and Outreach Program
  • Organized group athletic training exercises (15 or more persons)
  • Off-trail use in on-trail only properties
  • After hours use
  • Removing, collecting, or depositing  anything from/in a natural area
What type of permits are available?
  • Special Use
  • Research
  • Commercial

For all Natural Areas permit information, please go to

Why does NAD require special use permits?

A special use permit is required for a variety of activities that would normally violate a natural areas, county or state regulation.  The Natural Areas Department tracks activities in our properties and provides opportunities that allow for a safe and enjoyable experience while minimizing impacts to resources and visitors. 

How and where do I apply for a Special Use Permit?

Fill out the online form at

Is there a cost for a Special Use permit?

No. All Special Use permits are free. However, there is a fee for a Commercial Use permit.  There is a $50.00 deposit for research permits.

What type of permit do I need to perform research?

Research permits are issued under Special Use Permits and require more extensive information than a basic Special Use Permit.  If you need a research permit you will be asked more detailed questions about your activity.  You will also be required to wear a “research” vest during your research.  There will be a deposit fee of $50.00 required for issued vests. You may be required to use a hand tag for your vehicle in special circumstances.  

What are some permit stipulations with a Research Permit?
  • Permittee must wear Natural Areas Department permit vest at all time when on site. Permittee must provide deposit of $50.00 that will be returned when research vest is returned in good condition.
  • Permittee must provide map, research proposal and other documentation in application process.
  • Permittee may be required to produce credentials and insurance (if appropriate). 
  • In some instances research data collected must be shared w/ NAD
What if my activity is one where people are charged to attend or participate?

You will need to apply for a Commercial Use permit. These permits require a fee.  For more information, visit:

How do I know if I need a Special Use permit or a Commercial Use permit?

If there is any cost or fees for the participants associated with your event/activity, you most likely will need a Commercial Use permit.  For questions please call (970) 416-2815.

Am I required to carry insurance?

You are not required to carry insurance unless you have a Commercial Use permit.

How long will it take to receive my permit and how will I receive the permit?

The standards review period for Special Use, Research and Commercial Use permits is fifteen (15) business days.  If your permit is approved or denied you will receive an email confirmation.  

What do I need to do when I receive my permit?

Print your permit and carry it with you on the day of your permitted activity. If you have a research permit requiring a vest, you will be required to check out a vest and provide a deposit at the Natural Areas Department Administrative Office.  

How long is a Special Use Permit valid?

Special Use Permits are only valid for 12 months.  Most permits issued expire the day after your requested activity. Permits may be evaluated for renewal by contacting (970) 416-2815.

Do I need a Special Use permit to reserve a shelter at Gateway Natural Area or Primrose Studio?

No.  Your Gateway Shelter application will provide the information we need to know for your activity.  Similarly, the Primrose Studio has a rental lease application process that is separate from the Special Use permit process. 

See also: Gateway Shelter | Primrose Studio

What activities are not allowed in Natural Areas, even with a Special Use permit?
  • No concerts or amplified events
  • No organized competitive sporting events
  • No motorized vehicular access or use
  • No alcohol or smoking allowed in natural areas
What are some reasons my permit could be denied?

If you have been issued a citation or summons for violation of a Natural Areas Department rules or regulation in the past you might be denied a permit.  If your activity is not conducive to our mission or vision your permit could be denied.  Should your permit be denied please feel free to call our office to inquire (970) 416-2815

Do I need a special permit to film in a natural area?

Depending on the specifics of the filming, you may need a Special Use permit or Commercial Use permit. 

Can I drive a vehicle onto the natural area as part of my permitted activity?

Very rarely is this allowed and typically requires management approval. 

Where can I park with a Special Use Permit?

You will be required to park in an established parking area unless there are specific notations in your permit allows a variation. Permits do not guarantee parking availability.

Does my permit grant me exclusive access for my event?

No. Your permit allows you certain activities not otherwise allowed.  Natural areas will always be open to the public.