MDC offers new online application for Special Use Permits

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) offers more than 1,000 conservation and natural areas around the state for people to get outdoors and discover nature through a variety of activities such as hiking, biking, birding and wildlife watching, horseback riding, photography and videography, hunting, fishing, and more.

Some activities on MDC areas require a Special Use Permit and MDC has made it easier to get one through its new online application at

A Special Use Permit is required for certain activities on conservation areas, including:

  • Groups of more than 10 people camping, horseback riding, bicycling, and using shooting ranges;
  • Furbearer trapping;
  • ADA vehicle use for people with mobility disabilities to use motorized vehicles where public vehicles are not allowed on conservation areas;
  • Athletic competitions of human strength or skill such as races and other competitive events;
  • Geocache and letterbox placement;
  • Photography and videography only if it involves access during closed hours or to portions of areas closed to public use, use of drone, use of a prop, set, or equipment larger than a single person can carry, or the total daily number of people participating with a photographer or videographer for the primary purpose of photography and videography is more than 10;
  • Drone use;
  • Commercial uses;
  • Ceremonies such as weddings, baptisms, ceremonies of life, etc.; and
  • Other group or special activities at the discretion of the area manager.

Once the no-cost online permit application is completed through the simple, user-friendly webpage, it will be sent to the appropriate MDC staff for the listed conservation area. With MDC’s new Special Use Permit application process, both staff and permit applicants will have complete permit information through a digital permit file to keep, print or have on mobile devices. It also allows the applicant to follow-up on the approval process.

Applications for Special Use Permit should be submitted at least 30 days prior to the event or activity. Applications submitted later will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed to be processed by the requested date. Not all requests for Special Use Permits will be granted. Permits may be denied to avoid user conflicts, resource damages, safety concerns, or other reasonable justification at MDC’s discretion.

Learn more about MDC Places to Go at and Things to Do at