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Special Event Permits

Event permits are required for any event for which attendance is solicited through advertising, invitation or other solicitation and that may interfere with the general public's normal use of a state park or recreation area. Access the online system here: Special Events Permit.

State Park Special Event Permits Online System Information

The following information is in regards to the implementation of the electronic state park/recreation area special event permit application process. The new online application and authorization system is in its final stages of review. The system is scheduled to go live March 31, 2010. After this date, no paper applications will be accepted for state park/recreation area special events for 2010 and beyond.

The new system will continue to capture the same information normally found on the paper application forms. The system will require the Department to act on all applications within 30 days of submission which will improve the turnaround time for a permit. Permits will be issued electronically which will also save time and further support the Department's "green" initiatives.

There are a couple of new requirements with the online system that the bureau wants applicants to be aware of. First, applications will be accepted beginning January 1 of a given year for event dates through March 1 of the following year. Second, all applications must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the event date. If the event date is less than 30 days from the event date the applicant is attempting to submit an application for, the applicant will not be able to submit an application. This is to allow the necessary time for park staff to review and authorize an application.

Third, applicants will be required to provide additional information on the application regarding insurance. All state park/recreation area special events are required to carry liability insurance. Unless specifically stated in the application, the amount of coverage shall be determined by the applicant and the insurance company. The Department of Natural Resources must be listed as an additional insured party. Starting March 31, 2010, when an applicant submits a special events application for state park/recreation area events, the applicant will be required to list the insurance carrier name and the policy number for the insurance policy. Proof of insurance in the form of a certificate of insurance must be provided two weeks prior to the event date.

The bureau is preparing to update the administrative rules (571 Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 61) to provide some clarification regarding special events and to establish a nonrefundable administrative fee of $25 for all applications submitted. The fee will help to offset the cost of administering the online system and time spent reviewing and processing all applications. Payment of the administrative fee will be online and collected at the time the application is submitted. All interested persons will have the opportunity to provide comments either in writing or orally during the rulemaking process. A public hearing will be scheduled for a date in June. The bureau will have this information posted on our website when rulemaking is initiated. Until the rule making process is finished, there will be NO administrative fee charged. This means that when the online system goes live on March 31, there will be no charge to submit an application. It is anticipated that the fee would go into effect either in September or October of this year.

Any applicant will be required to establish a user account and log-in through the State of Iowa's Enterprise A & A. This applies for all special events that are authorized through this online system, including wildlife, fishing, forestry and law enforcement. Organizers who already have a user account can continue to use that account. An e-mail address is a requirement of the new application system. Instruction for creating a user account can be found at creating an account.

When the state park/recreation area special event applications become available online, applicants will see that there are 11 categories of state park/recreation area event applications. Applicants should select the one that best describes the event. If the applicant does not find a category that matches the event, the "state park general" application form should be used.

  • State Park Equine Events (horse shows, competitive rides, large multi-club rides)
  • State Park Fundraising Events (these events are not associated with a day-use lodge or open shelter rental unless the event activities will go beyond those the actual rental facility)
  • State Park Friends Group Events (events put on by officially recognized state park friends groups)
  • State Park Festivals/Celebrations
  • State Park Fireworks Displays
  • State Park Triathlons/Marathons
  • State Park Rendezvous/Re-enactments
  • State Park Organized Youth Group Events (scouting events, 4-H, cross country meets, etc)
  • State Park Vehicle Show/Cruise/Rally
  • State Park weddings (weddings that are not held in a day-use lodge or open shelter rental unless the event activities will take place on areas beyond the actual rental facility)
  • State Park General (if the event does not fit in any of the categories above)

The following event activities also occur in state parks/recreation areas and are actually authorized by a bureau other than state parks. Therefore, they are not in the list of event applications above that are authorized by the state parks bureau. These event applications are currently available on the special event application system.

  • Boating - handled by law enforcement - $25 fee will apply starting in July 2010
  • Fishing tournaments and clinics - handled by fisheries bureau - $25 fee applies
  • Dog trials - handle by wildlife bureau - see application regarding fee structure
  • Snowmobile - handled by law enforcement bureau - No fee established yet 

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