In order to host an event, you will more than likely need to get formal permission from one or more land managers or land owners. The degree of difficulty in acquiring permits will depend on multiple factors. This can include, but is certainly not limited to:

  • Event/race type
  • Expected participant numbers
  • Time of year
  • Impacts on the land, resources, other land users, local community and businesses
  • History (has a similar event occurred on this property before)
  • Parking
  • Local laws or zoning of the property
  • Ownership (private, city, county, state, federal)

The number one rule is to present a thought out plan that addresses the owners’/managers’ concerns before they ask them. These include the above issues as well as a safety plan, an operation plan, and how the venue will benefit (AKA how they will get paid). Public lands are slightly different. Many park departments have a clause in their mission statements about providing recreational opportunities for the local and visiting community, so in a very real sense you are helping them fulfill their mission statement.

First things first.

You need to figure out what your needs are for the venue and then find something that comes close to fulfilling those needs. You need to figure out who manages the area, or areas, that you would like to use. Then you need to apply or ask permission to use it.

Permits can range from formal city/county council meetings to a handshake with a local land owner. In all of these situations you need to provide a clear picture of what you are planning to do on the property, how you will safely manage it, how you will clean it up, and how it will benefit the land owner or the community it is serving. Provide the answers before they are asked. Be prepared to answer several questions, given recommendations, comments, and/or concerns regarding one aspect or another of your plan. Note these. Follow up each one.

Venue will likely have hosted dozens of events. They know what works and what doesn’t for their location. Public employees may also be a concern. They may resent the extra work. Show them you have your end of things covered and that you want to work with them to reduce the stress of it all.


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