Serpent Mound Special Use Permit:  Procedures and Policies
(last revised and approved 9/11/2017)

 This policy may only be amended by vote and approval of the Board of Directors.

The Arc of Appalachia is a non-profit nature preserve system that manages Serpent Mound on behalf of the Ohio History Connection.


When Special Use Permits at Serpent Mound are required:

Any activity or event having one or more of the following elements requires an approved special use permit:

  • any privately organized gathering with an attendance of over 50 people
  • all private gatherings that could restrict or diminish the enjoyment of the park’s standard visitor experiences and services, such as  viewing the mounds, touring the Museum, hiking, picnicking, and participating in park-sponsored events.
  • events taking place on park grounds and facilities for which attendance is publicly advertised or promoted through the social or printed media, internet, or publications. (see restrictions on privately sponsored private events below)
  • activities requiring exclusive use of a portion of the grounds and facilities other than the rented picnic shelter for the purpose of usual visitor activities
  • activities taking place before and after usual park open hours (See note on restrictions below)
  • events which levy a participant fee collected on-site
  • events involving vendors and contractors on park grounds
  • events and organized activities that invite or permit participation of the park’s general visiting public
  • activities requiring equipment, supplies, tents, displays, installations and/or decorations (picnicking supplies excepted)
  • filming and photography intended for public showing or commercial purposes. (Such permit requests shall be submitted to the Park Manager and directed to Ohio History Connection for final review and approval.)


Restrictions on Privately-sponsored Public Events at Serpent Mound             

An event that takes place at Serpent Mound that is a) open to the general public and/or promoted to the general public via the media or other means as a park event, and/or b) invites or allows participation of the general public visiting Serpent Mound, is considered a Public Event. Generally, Public Events that are privately sponsored will not be permitted. Public events must either be solely organized and sponsored by the park, or co-sponsored with the assistance of other organizations. If a group wishes to propose co-sponsoring a public event with the park, please contact the Park Manager. Since the site’s calendar of events is usually planned 12-14 months in advance, it is recommended that groups contact the park at that time, and in no cases less than six months in advance.

Note: Any public event knowingly publicized prior to receiving a permit will result in a denial of the permit request.


Park Areas available for Special Use Permits

Listed below are the park’s public areas which may accommodate special use activities, listed in the order of most conducive to the least. As noted above, the picnic shelter may be reserved for a rental fee for the purpose of usual visitor activities such as social events, family reunions, and picnicking, without the need for a special use permit if less than 50 people are in attendance. The picnic shelter can always, of course, be rented in conjunction with an approved special use permit. 

  1. Picnic Shelter: rental fee of $50/day applies for exclusive use of the shelter for any portion of a day
  2. Side Grounds: mowed grounds north of the parking lot and restrooms
  3. Main Grounds & Trails: mowed grounds between picnic shelter and Museum, and designated hiking trails
  4. Serpent Mound: the mowed grass outside the pathway circling the mound, and the pathway itself, are available for special uses under certain circumstances.


Park Areas not available for Special Use Permits:

  1. Serpent Mound’s earthwork including its interior spaces.
  2. The park’s three burial mounds.
  3. Unmowed and forested areas of the park other than designated trails.


Program Content Guidelines for Permitted Private Events:

 There are no restrictions regarding program content for privately held, permitted events at Serpent Mound. The Arc of Appalachia is committed to supporting visitors’ freedom to interpret Serpent Mound as they wish, so long as use of the site complies with these special use permit policies and park regulations.

The following guidelines govern the approval and issuance of Special Use Permits: 

  1. The Arc of Appalachia has final approval over all special use permit applications.
  2. The proposed activity must have minimum disturbance to the park’s usual activities.
  3. Applicants must support the park’s operating procedures and management; comply with the park’s policies and regulations and all governmental laws and regulations.
  4. Activity must do no harm to the archaeological and natural features of the park.
  5. Standard Parking fees apply to all activity participants.
  6. Direct or indirect income production derived from a special use activity is not necessarily prohibited but must be revealed in the permit application.
  7. Uncontrolled decor such as balloons, bubbles, glitter, and confetti is not permitted on the site.
  8. All plans for music, dancing, and commercial vendors and contractors are subject to the Arc of Appalachia approval.
  9. Should substantial park costs such as clean-up, utilities or security be anticipated to support an activity, a deposit or usage fee may be required by the Arc of Appalachia.
  10. Proof of liability insurance, vendor information and vendor compliance with health regulations, and/or additional information may be required by the Arc of Appalachia.
  11. For approved events that are private in nature, the Arc of Appalachia may request clear physical boundaries defining the activity and appropriate signage.
  12. Overnight use of the park is not generally permitted.
  13. The Arc of Appalachia may cancel a Special Use Permit under the following conditions only: when the Applicant’s responsiveness to requests for additional information is untimely, the Applicant’s information proves to be inaccurate or incomplete, an accidental double booking, or when natural disasters occur beyond the control of the Arc of Appalachia, such as fire, storm damages, or national emergencies..

14.  In a reviewing a permit request, in addition to the guidelines stated above, as well as other factors, the Arc of Appalachia may consider the following: sufficient time for review, staff limitations, cost limitations, participant size, safety issues, impact on grounds, scheduling conflicts, and previous non-compliance on the part of the Applicant.


Approval Process for Special Use Permits.

Applicants are encouraged to apply as far in advance of the date as possible. Applications for events taking place less than 30 days from the application date will normally be declined for lack of sufficient processing time.

How to Apply for a Permit

Please fill out our permit application form with some basic information, and our park manager will contact you to work out the details.