Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and public parks have a long history of being a venue for the expression of First Amendment rights. To that end, people may exercise these rights in the Cleveland Metroparks. However, the Cleveland Metroparks still retains its responsibility to protect park resources, other patrons, and prevent conflict among park visitors.
How Can I Exercise my First Amendement Rights in Cleveland Metroparks?
You may exercise your rights in Cleveland Metroparks Reservations with no permit
when none of the following exists
**If Any of the Above Conditions Exist, A Permit Must be Obtained**
- You are engaging in an activity that is intended to involve, is reasonably likely to involve, or actually involves fifty (50) or more people as participants and/or spectators at any one time.
- You are engaging in an activity that excludes any member of the public from the activity or from any area of any park including but not limited to the exclusive use of a shelter, facility or center.
- You are circulating or distributing leaflets, handbills, notices, pamphlets, books, documents or papers of any kind in any indoor facility, zoo, or other special facility.
- You are engaging in an activity which requires Park District services additional to those already provided to the public as a matter of course in the park, including but not limited to increased police protection.
- You are selling or offering for sale any goods or services.
- Other than news transmission, you are conducting an exhibit, music or dramatic performance, fair, circus, concert, play, radio or television broadcast.
- You are exhibiting or displaying a motion picture, television program, light or laser light display, or similar event.
- You are using, displaying, firing, discharging, or setting off any rocket, cracker, torpedo, or other fireworks, or any substance of any explosive or pyrotechnic nature within the Park District.
- You are detecting metal through surface-mining activities (use of metal detectors).
- You are engaging in off-trail research and/or research collection activities.
- You are placing any temporary or permanent structure, including but not limited to any stage, fence, building, tent, canopy, tower, scaffold, or other structure in the Park District unless otherwise designated by the Chief Executive Officer.
- You are accessing or disrupting Park District property or property owned or leased by a third party that is otherwise properly situated on Park District property.
How Do I Apply for a Permit if One is Needed?
Depending on your planned activity, you may apply for a permit either orally or in writing.
- Oral applications can be made by calling the Sales Manager in the Park District Marketing Department 20 days prior to the event/activity.
- For written applications, you must submit a permit application to the Sales Manager in the Park District Marketing Department 45 days prior to the event/activity.
For more details on the rules governing the form of your application please click here
Do I Always Need a Permit to Exercise my First Amendment Rights?
No. The most common example is if a group consists of 49 persons or less, no permit is needed to engage in First Amendment activity on either (1) open land where the public is allowed or (2) in non-reservable picnic shelters.
Please Note: First Amendment activity may not take place in any area classified “Not Designated for Public Use.” For First Amendment acitivities at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, activities can only occur when the zoo is open to the public.
For a comprehensive description of all other permit rules, policies, and procedures, please refer to Chapter 747 of the Cleveland Metroparks Code of Ordinances