How groups use 'First Amendment' permits for protests at National Parks

A right wing group has been granted legal permission through the National Parks Service to protest at Crissy Field in San Francisco.

The group, Patriot Prayer, obtained a "First Amendment" permit to be at the site Saturday, Aug. 26 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., according to KGO.

So what is a "First Amendment" permit?

Under federal law policy, the National Park Service (NPS) recognizes freedom of speech, press, religion, and public assembly, according to their website.

However, the agency also has an interest in protecting park resources and the public's use of parks, and is given the right to regulate events held on national parks. The NPS requires a permit establishing a date, time, location, number of participants and other details related to a First Amendment event.

The content of First Amendment activities doesn't need to reflect the NPS mission or views to be reviewed for a permit.

Each national park has its own set of details and rules for a permit but in general, a group of more than 25 people are required to apply for a permit to hold a First Amendment event.

Crissy Field is a park unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A First Amendment permit is required for use of the area if a group will have more than 25 people, is utilizing special equipment such as generators and tents, if the organizers would like priority use of the area and if the group is requesting an area not otherwise open to the public, according to the NPS.

While a First Amendment permit is free to apply for at Golden Gate Park, large groups require a Special Events permit application fee of $45 and a certificate of liability insurance for $1,000,000.

Permit costs are separate from application costs and can range from free to $40,000, according to the NPS.

Ten business days is the minimum amount of time required to review most permit applications but larger events may take more time.

Some sensitive areas could be restricted and at least one park ranger needs to be present during an event as well as when loading and unloading.

For more details about First Amendment permits at national parks go to www.nps.gov.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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