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Natural Areas

Special Use Permits

A Special Use Permit is required for a variety of activities that would normally violate a natural area, county or state regulation, including groups of 15 or more people. Special Use Permits are required for any educational use for groups of 15 or more. The Natural Areas Department may permit activities that allow for a safe and enjoyable experience while minimizing impacts to natural resources and visitors. There is no charge for Special Use Permits.

Apply for a Special Use Permit

Commercial Use Permits

A Commercial Use Permit is required for commercial use activities on City of Fort Collins Natural Areas or facilities for which fees or donations are charged to a third party by an entity other than the City, or for the purpose of marketing or promoting a commercial entity. There is an administrative fee of $50 in addition to relevant user fee charges.

Apply for a Commercial Permit

Research Permits

Research permits are for groups or individuals seeking to do long-term or short-term research in City of Fort Collins natural areas to obtain data or research information. Those leading instructional courses or workshops that include a research component should apply for a Special Use Permit. Applications for Research permits are accepted twice per year with the Spring cycle opening in January, and for the fall cycle opening in August/September. Please watch this webpage for the next open cycle announcement. There is no charge for Research Permits.

Apply for a Research Permit

Research Permit Update: February 16, 2022#

Thank you for your on-going interest in research at City of Fort Collins Natural Areas. We are happy to announce that we are now accepting research permit requests for the Spring 2022 cycle. 

The online application can be found at:

Below are important dates for the 2022 Fall period:

Applications are due: September 2, 2022, end of business day

Applicants will be notified by September 12, 2022

**Note that incomplete applications will be denied**

Permit Application Tips

  • Please be complete, fill in every applicable box.
  • Please pay close attention to the required documents which can include a research summary, maps indicating access points and research area, vehicles, persons included in the permit, dates and times of research and timeframe for when data would be available.
  • Please note that if you have held a past research permit and have not submitted your results and/or report your application will be denied.
  • Applicants who were previously assigned a research vest that was not returned are not eligible to apply.

We look forward to your application and thank you for contributing to the knowledge and understanding of our natural areas.  If you have any questions or concerns about the review process, please feel free to contact Michelle Vattano at or (970) 416-2815.