Filming and Photography
“The service…shall promote and regulate the use of…national parks…[its] purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” (16 U.S.C. 1)
It is the policy of the National Park Service (NPS) to allow filming and photography when and where possible, while adhering to this mandate. Therefore, when reviewing filming applications, the primary concerns of the NPS are potential impacts to park resources and disruption of visitor use.
Death Valley National Park is recognized worldwide as an area set aside and administered with preservation at the core. In order to preserve and protect resources and to assure the enjoyment of those resources by the public, the following guidelines are established by the superintendent of Death Valley National Park as they relate to filming and photographic activities within the park boundaries.
Generally, permits are not required for:
A request for a filming or photography permit may be denied if:
Filming/photography Permits are issued for photography, filming, and associated sound recording to ensure protection of resources, to prevent significant disruption of normal visitor uses, or when they involve props, models, professional crews and casts or set dressings. Permits are required for access to areas normally closed to the visiting public. Conditions for filming in Death Valley National Park are available here.
It is highly recommended that any potential permittee schedule a pre-shoot scouting trip to the park. Scouting assistance may be requested of the Special Park Uses Coordinator, subject to availability, however, additional charges may apply to scouting assistance (see Costs listed below). Photographs of some previously permitted locations are available here. Potential permittee's should be aware that over 95% of Death Valley National Park is a federally designated Wilderness, which is even more restrictive than National Park designation. For example, there is NO commercial filming within designated Wilderness areas--generally 200 feet from the centerline of a paved road and 50 feet from the centerline of an unpaved road. All filming must occur within the non-wilderness corridor.
All filming locations must be identified at least two weeks before arrival since locations are listed specifically on the permit and are subject to availability. The completed permit will detail all of the activities, equipment, props and locations to be authorized. Any items not specified in the permit will not be allowed. Filming may not begin within the park until all conditions of the permit have been agreed to by the permittee and approved by the superintendent.
To apply for a permit
All costs of evaluating the request will be billed to the applicant, whether a permit is issued or not. In compliance with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, the applicant must submit their social security number or Federal tax ID number when filling out the application for permit. Applications will not be processed if submitted incomplete or are received without payment.
Monitoring - Filming activities authorized by permit may require continuous, on-site supervision by the NPS to assure full compliance with all conditions of the permit. Monitoring will be charged at the billing rate of each individual monitor per hour per monitor with a minimum of two hours per monitor, per day. The level and type of monitoring supervision will be determined by the scope and complexity of the filming activity.
1 - 10 people $150/day
Commercial Still Photography
Did You Know?
The salt pan on the floor of Death Valley covers more than 200 square miles. It is 40 miles long and more than 5 miles wide.