Regulations and Policies

The following are Regulations and Policies for use of Memphis parks and parkways. Please click on the topic below to read more information.

Article IV. Park and Parkway Regulations

Park Services Policies

Article IV. Park and Parkway Regulations

Sec. 23-66. Applications of article.

The provisions of this article shall apply in the use of parks and parkways belonging to the city whether inside or outside the corporate limits.
(Code 1967, § 25-37)

Sec. 23-67. Injuring or picking flowers, plants, etc.

It shall be unlawful for any person to cut, break or in any way injure or deface any tree, plant or grass or pick any flowers, leaves or nuts, wild or cultivated, in any park.
(Code 1967, § 25-38)

Sec. 23-68. Sales and exhibitions.

It shall be unlawful for any person to expose any article for sale or exhibition in the park or parkway unless previously licensed so to do by the park commission.
(Code 1967, § 25-40)

Sec. 23-69. Making fires.

It shall be unlawful for any person to make a fire within any of the parks, parkways, squares or places without special permission from the park commission.
(Code 1967, § 25-41)

Sec. 23-70. Billposting; erecting stands or platforms; meetings; etc.

It shall be unlawful for any person to post any bill, placard, notice or other paper upon any structure, erect any structure, stand or platform, or hold any religious or other meetings, or make any oration, or harangue or conduct any ceremony in any park or parkway without previous permission therefor from the park commission.
(Code 1967, § 25-42)

Sec. 23-71. Permit required for poles and wires.

It shall be unlawful for any person to erect or have erected any telephone, telegraph, electric or other poles and wires in any of the parks or parkways in the city, except with a written permit from the park commission, given at a regular meeting, which permit shall only be given to continue during the will and pleasure of the park commission or its successors.
(Code 1967, § 25-43)
Cross reference - Taxes and licenses generally, Ch. 36.

Sec. 23-72. Indecency or breaches of the peace.

It shall be unlawful for any person to use threatening, abusive or insulting language, or commit any obscene or indecent act thereon, or any act tending to a breach of the public peace in any park or parkway.
(Code 1967, § 25-44)

Sec. 23-73. Animals at large prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to allow to go at large any horse or other animal within any park or parkway, except that dogs may be allowed therein when led by a chain or proper leash not exceeding six (6) feet in length.
(Code 1967, § 25-45)
Cross reference - Animals and fowl, Ch. 5.

Sec. 23-74. Bathing, fishing, interfering with birds, etc., prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to bathe or fish in any of the waters or fountains, or cast any substance therein, or disturb or interfere in any way with the fish, birds or animals within any public park, parkway, square or place, except that the park commission may authorize fishing in one or more of the lakes under its jurisdiction and adopt rules and regulations in respect thereto, and post appropriate signs to give the public notice thereof.
(Ord. No. 2565, § 1, 3-1-77; Code 1967, § 25-46)
Cross reference - Animals and fowl, Ch. 5.

Sec. 23-75. Throwing missiles, begging, gaming, etc., prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to throw stones or other missiles, or beg or publicly solicit subscriptions or contributions, or tell fortunes, or play games of chance or climb upon any wall, fence, shelter, seat, statue or other erection in any park or parkway.
(Code 1967, § 25-47)
Cross references - Gambling generally, § 20-108; public solicitations, Ch. 30.

Sec. 23-76. Established entrances to be used; remaining in parks after midnight.

It shall be unlawful for any person to enter or leave any park except at an established entranceway, or remain therein between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. except as, on special occasions, specifically authorized by the park commission.
(Ord. No. 1824, § 1, 8-21-73; Code 1967, § 25-48)

Sec. 23-77. Traffic regulations generally.

The provisions of chapter 21 of this Code regulating traffic in the use of streets shall apply to the use of all drives in parks and parkways controlled by the city, whether within or without the corporate limits; provided, that if any provisions of this article are inconsistent with the provisions of chapter 21, the provisions of this article shall prevail and apply in parks and parkways.
(Code 1967, § 25-49)
Cross reference - Specific traffic regulations relative to driving in parks, § 21-102.

Sec. 23-78. Parking or stopping of vehicles in certain places prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate, stop or park any vehicle in the public parks and golf courses of the city except on the roadways therein and on other areas designated by the park commission for public use provided such prohibition does not apply to golf carts and vehicles authorized by the park commission.
(Ord. No. 463, § 1, 4-29-69; Code 1967, § 25-50)
Cross reference - Stopping, standing and parking of vehicles generally, § 21-135.

Sec. 23-79. Standing vehicles for hire.

It shall be unlawful for any person to stand any vehicle for hire in any park or parkway without a permit to do so, and then only at such place as shall be indicated and allowed by the park commission.
(Code 1967, § 25-51).

Sec. 23-80. Use of drives, bridle paths, etc., generally.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to use the drives and bridle paths in public parks and parkways except as provided in section 21-102 of this Code.

 

(b) Animals to be used on either drives or bridle paths in public parks shall be well-broken, and constantly held in such control that they may be easily and quickly turned or stopped. They shall not be allowed to move at a rate of speed on the drives or bridle paths of more than eight (8) miles an hour, and when it shall be deemed necessary to safety, good order, or the general convenience that the speed of an animal or vehicle should be checked, or that it should be stopped, or its course altered, and the officer on duty shall so direct, by gesture or otherwise, such direction shall be obeyed.
(Code 1967, § 25-52)

Sec. 23-81. Position of horses ridden on roads.

All horsemen going at a walk or slow trot must keep near the curbstone or gutter on the right-hand side of the road while riding in parks or parkways. Those going more rapidly must keep nearer the middle of the road.
(Code 1967, § 25-53)

Sec. 23-82. General regulations relative to cyclists.

Cyclists must not coast in the parks, nor on the parkways or bicycle paths, and must keep their feet on the pedals and their hands on the handlebars and must not mount nor dismount, except on the extreme right of the roads or bicycle paths.
(Code 1967, § 25-54)

Sec. 23-83. Riding more than two abreast.

It shall be unlawful for persons riding horses or bicycles, or operating motorcycles, motor scooters or motor bikes, to ride more than two (2) abreast within any park or parkway in the city.
(Code 1967, § 25-55)

Sec. 23-84. Instruction in operating automobiles, and other vehicles and trick riding prohibited.

Instruction in operating automobiles, bicycles, tricycles, motorcycles, velocipedes or other such vehicles or propulsion, and all trick or fancy riding on same, is prohibited in the parks and parkways at all times.
(Code 1967, § 25-56)

Sec. 23-85. Drinking or sale of beverages with alcoholic content within public park areas and boundaries.

It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to sell, consume or possess any beverage with alcoholic content in any of the public parks or properties under the jurisdiction of the park commission, except in such enclosed buildings and other structures and/or areas as are specifically designated and authorized by the park commission; provided that the city council may by resolution exempt only persons participating in certain organized civic or charitable activities form the foregoing provisions.
(Ord. No. 2641, § 1, 9-27-77; Ord. No. 2715, § 1, 5-9-78; Ord. No. 3068, § 1, 10-21-80; Code 1967, § 25-58)
Cross reference - Alcoholic beverages generally, Ch. 4.

Sec. 17-20. Prohibited areas for engaging in business.

In the interest and protection of the general public, to protect highly congested streets, highways, and rights-of-way to preserve law and order, it shall be unlawful for any itinerant vendor/peddler to buy, sell, or offer to sell any goods, wares, or merchandise, or to solicit patronage for any person, business, or service by word of mouth, or gesture, or by distributing handbills or other printed matter, or by use of electrical, mechanical, or sound making devices to entice or persuade anyone to buy, sell, or accept goods, wares, or merchandise within 200 feet of the following locations:

  • (2) Mid-South Fairgrounds, except for those activities regulated and under the control of the Memphis Park Commission and the activities/events managed by the Mid-South Coliseum.
  • (3) Places of Historical or Public Attraction, including the Pink Palace, Overton Park Zoo, Mud Island Entertainment Complex, etc.

Religious Events on Park Property, December 1993

  • (a) Religious activity is permitted on park property anytime said park is open to the public, normally from dawn to midnight.
  • (b) Such activity cannot impose on the rights/freedoms of others. For example, a prayer service in and of itself is permissible if not being "forced" on others in the park who are not participating. If, however, one is being preached to against their wishes, it seems the first party is stepping over the line of "reasonable manner" and the Commission then has the right to restrict the religious activity in question.
  • (c) Use of park property for religious services on a random basis alone would not require the permission of the Commission. In the event a group wanted to reserve a specific park for their own private use, the Commission would impose a fee just as it would for any other group "renting" a park.

Addition to Alcohol Policy, April 29, 1992

  • (a) Special purpose park use (Festival/Special Events) will continue to be handled on a contractual basis with approval by the Park Commission Board;
  • (adopted January 8, 1981)
  • (b) All golf clubhouses, patios, and practice greens will continue to remain permanently exempted;
  • (adopted January 8, 1981)
  • (c) The Marina at McKellar Lake will remain permanently exempted;
  • (d) That authority be delegated to the Executive Director to exempt on an event-by-event basis the following buildings and areas:
    1. Memphis Museum System facilities;
    2. Memphis Botanic Garden;
    3. Memphis Zoo;
    4. Fairgrounds area and buildings;
    5. Audubon Park Pavilion.

Use of Model Airplanes on Park Lands, June 21, 1989

The Park Commission Board unanimously adopted a policy which prohibits the use of these motor powered aircraft on park property.

Model Power Boats on Park Lakes, May 19, 1993

The Park Commission Board voted unanimously to prohibit the use of model power boats, whether for racing purposes or casual recreational purposes, on any lake contained within the Park Commission's jurisdiction. The Board also approved the posting of signs declaring the aforementioned policy.

Park Lake Use Additions

  • (a) November 21, 1984 The board unanimously approved a policy addition to Sec. 23-74 of City Code. The new addition states that persons under the age of 16 or over the age of 65 be permitted to fish on designated lakes:
    1. Ray Deaton Lake, Audubon park
    2. McKellar Lake
    3. South Lake, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park
  • (b) December 14, 1989 In addition to City Code Sec. 23-74 (Park Lake use), which restricts the use of the parks' lakes to those under 16 or over 65, the Board adopted a policy to allow patients of the Memphis Mental Health Institute to fish in Ray Deaton Lake in Audubon Park and that a Certificate of Insurance indemnifying the Park Commission be provided.
    Cross reference - Fire prevention and protection, Ch. 14.

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