Experiences involving parks, forests, and recreational areas in or around Portland
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
I want to host an experience at a park or on public land in or around Portland, do I need a reservation or a permit?
You may need a permit or reservation for certain types of experiences and for certain places where you are hosting.
Follow these steps to figure out whether you will need to get a permit or make a reservation for your experience:
- Step 1: Choose your location. Start by figuring out which government agency manages the park, beach or facility you have in mind for your experience. Public lands may be managed by the City of Portland, the State of Oregon, the National Forest Service, or the National Park Service, among others. Each agency will have different procedures and requirements.
- Step 2: Determine whether you need a permit to host your experience. Once you have found the perfect location, ask whether you are hosting the type of experience that requires a permit, such as an event, commercial, fitness, or noise permit for that location.
- Step 3: If you need a permit to host your experience, complete the application process. Once you have determined that you are hosting an experience in a public park, forest, or recreation area that requires a permit, you’ll need to complete the permit application process before hosting your experience.
- Step 4: Figure out if you need to reserve your location, and complete the reservation process. If you don’t need a permit, you may still need to reserve your park area or facility. Figure out whether your location requires a reservation or request and, if it does, complete the requisite reservation process.
Step 1: Choose your Location
I’ve chosen the park, forest, or recreational area where I want to host my experience. Who do I need to talk to in that park or facility?
If you plan to host your experience in a city park, any applicable permits or reservations can be made with Portland Parks & Recreation.
Oregon State Parks
If you plan to host your experience in a state park, Oregon State Parks accepts reservations for many campsites, yurts, cabins, rustic structures, vacation houses, group camps, and group day-use facilities. You can find additional information here.
If you plan to host your experience in a National Park, information about applicable permits and reservations can be found at the National Parks Service website.
If you plan to host your experience in a National Forest, information about applicable permits and reservations can be found at the U.S Forest Service website.
I do not have a specific park in mind, how do I find a location that best suits my experience?
Portland Parks & Recreation’s website includes a tool to help you identify parks by name or based on the type of activity that you want to do in the park. The tool can help identify the facilities and amenities you are looking for, including whether a park has restrooms, parking, and picnic tables.
Step 2: How can I tell if my experience in a park requires a permit?
Whether your experience requires a permit depends on the nature of your experience and where you plan to host it - check out the information below to see what whether your activity requires a permit.
I. For parks managed by Portland Parks & Recreation
If you are hosting an experience in any park managed by the Portland Parks & Recreation involving educational activities, fitness instruction, or a guided tour, you may need a commercial use authorization permit to act as a concessionaire.
II. For parks managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
If you are hosting an experience in a park managed by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, depending on the event, you may need to apply for a special use permit. According to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, some examples of events that require a permit are:
- organized group gatherings of 50 or more such as weddings, company picnics, tournaments, and contests;
- an activity that requires a structure and/or decorations such as a stage, event tents, archways, tables/chairs;
- sales of goods and services by vendors, concessionaires and other businesses;
- commercial filming;
- educational and scientific projects;
- activities that restrict public access.
III. For parks managed by the National Parks Service
In general, Experiences hosted in Oregon’s National Parks (including persons leading tours for a fee) may require a Commercial Use Authorization or permit. Application requirements for commercial use vary from park to park, and may vary for different types of uses. You should check the website for the park you are considering, and determine what permits may be needed.
IV. For lands managed by the National Forest Service
The Forest Service requires a “Special Use Permit” for organized activities where a participation fee is charged. Information on Special Use permits for Mt. Baker/ Snoqualmie National Forest is here. Information on Special Use permits for Olympic National Forest is here.
Many trailheads, picnic areas, boat launches and interpretive sites on National Forest land also require a recreation pass (a “Northwest Forest Pass,” or the equivalent). Additional information on passes for Mt. Baker/ Snoqualmie National Forest is here. Additional information for Olympic National Forest is here.
Regardless of which park, recreation area, or forest land you host your experience, we encourage you to contact the the responsible agency before hosting your experience to ensure you have all of the necessary information and permits.
Step 3: How do I get a permit?
If you are hosting a special event in one of Portland’s parks and recreational areas
If you are hosting an experience involving educational activities, fitness instruction, or a guided tour in one of Portland’s parks and recreational areas, you will need to complete a paper concessionaire application in person or send it by fax to (503) 823-2515.
Note that the Portland Parks & Recreation considers tours and fitness activities to be different than education concessions. It considers educational activities to be a series of contiguous events that make up a whole program and that their participants intend to participate in each to complete it. It considers tour and fitness concessions to be one time events where customers participate at will in the service the concessionaire provides.
Note: If you plan to use devices to amplify sound at your experience you may need a Noise Sign-off or Permit from the Portland Noise Control Office. To get a Noise Sign-off or Permit Permit, fill out this application and send it to the City at 1221 SW 4th Avenue Room 110 Portland OR 97204. See this website for more information on the Noise Variance process.
If you are planning a larger event, this article provides more information on the requirements to hold large events in Portland’s parks.
II. If you are hosting in one of Oregon’s National Parks
Special Use Permit: If you are hosting an experience that requires a special use permit, you may need to complete an application at least 10 days before your event. You will need to pay a nonrefundable application fee of at least $50, and may need to pay up to $750 (depending on the number of guests and type of activity of your event). For more information on the application and how to file it, check out this link.
An important note: To get a special use permit, you will need to have general liability insurance coverage of at least $1M per occurrence that lists the United States of America as an additional insured. See here for more information.
III. If you are hosting in one of Oregon’s National Forests
In order to obtain a Special Use Permit, you must first contact a Forest Service office and request an application. Prior to submitting your application, you are required to arrange a pre-application meeting at the local Forest Service office where the use is being requested. A USFS member will discuss you application and other considerations for your request. Most commercial uses require additional information with the application. The USFS may also request business plans, operating plans, liability insurance, licenses/registrations, or other documents in addition to your application form.
Note that the USFS may request that you obtain general liability insurance coverage of at least $1M per occurrence that lists the United States of America as an additional insured. This insurance, if required, would supplement Airbnb’s Experience Protection Insurance (EPI) program, which provides liability insurance coverage for most experience hosts for up to $1,000,000.
EPI provides primary liability coverage for hosts that are providing experiences. In the event that one of your guests is injured or has their property damages during an experience, this program protects you against covered liability claims up to $1,000,000 (or local equivalent) per experience.
Step 4. Do I need to reserve my location, and if so, how do I do it?
If your experience requires that you host in a certain location, you may want to apply for a permit in order to ensure that you will be able to use a specific area in a park and to be certain that no one else has been issued a permit to use that area.
Note: A permit does not guarantee exclusive use of an area within a park, it only gives the permit-holder the right to hold his or her event in a specific area and ensures that other groups are not issued a permit to use the same space.
Do I need to consider any other type of license or permit to host my experience?
Yes. Depending on the activity you will be providing or organizing, you may need to obtain additional licenses or permits specific to that activity. Contact the agency that manages the park, forest or recreational area where you are hosting your experience to confirm.
Fitness Activity or Fitness Instruction
In addition to the commercial or use permits that may be required to host your experience in a park, forest, or recreation area, there are other things to consider when providing fitness instruction to your guests.
Consider getting certified by a reputable accredited program through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. In all cases, you should ensure that you have adequate insurance to cover you in case a guest is injured or there’s any property damage. Also consider completing an adult CPR course, like the one offered by the American Red Cross, in case there’s an emergency.
Most importantly:Your guests’ health and safety should always come first. How you handle your experience and listing is up to you, but we encourage you to:
- Spell out in your listing the fitness level guests should have to participate in your experience;
- Explain what guests should expect from your fitness activity, including the duration and intensity of any cardiovascular activity and types of strength-training;
- Make sure that your guests participate in exercises that are appropriate for their level of fitness;
- Consider starting your fitness activity at a slower pace to evaluate your guest’s fitness level;
- Take appropriate precautions with equipment, facilities and environmental factors;
- If medical attention is needed, direct your guest to a hospital or reputable doctor. Do not attempt to provide physical therapy advice or attempt to make a medical diagnosis yourself unless you are qualified to do so; and
- Keep your guest’s health information confidential.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).