Fort Vancouver's beautiful meadows, vistas, waterfront, stockade, and buildings are nationally recognizable and frequently featured in commercial film projects, including still photography.
Whether it is the McLoughlin House Unit in Oregon City, Oregon, or the fort site in Vancouver, Washington, the park offers many unique settings for film and photography.
The following information, in question-and-answer format, outlines the background and process for obtaining a permit to film within the park boundaries.
Does filming require a permit at Fort Vancouver NHS? What exactly does the term commercial filming include?
All commercial filming requires a permit. Commercial filming is defined as digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project. It does not include news coverage or visitor use.
I'm interested in commercial still photography. When does this require a permit?
Still photography activities require a permit only when:
What about news coverage? Do we need a permit if we are interested in covering a news story?
News coverage does not require a permit, for either filming or still photography, but is subject to time, place, and manner restrictions, if warranted, to maintain order and ensure the safety of the public and the media, and protect natural and cultural resources.
Are there any onsite resource concerns that may affect my application?
Congress in P.L. 106-206 expressed the importance of resource protection and provided that the permit request should be denied if:
Is it possible to film inside the reconstructed fort?
Yes, it is possible to film within the fort. Depending on the size and the scope of the project, it usually is necessary to schedule this filming either before or after the hours that the site is open to the public, so that the visitor experience is not adversely affected by the filming.
Are there any special conditions for filming within the reconstructed buildings at Fort Vancouver? How about for the historic buildings at the park's McLoughlin House Unit in Oregon City, Oregon?
For filming inside the reconstructed buildings within the reconstructed stockade, or inside the historic buildings at the McLoughlin House Unit, there are several special concerns that a prospective film project needs to consider. As many of the furnishings in these buildings are historic and often very fragile and sensitive to light and changes in temperature, proposals for filming are reviewed by the Park Curator on a case by case basis. In some instances, a proposal may require a significant amount of the Curator's time moving objects, and these costs will be included in the permit costs.
How does someone obtain a Special Use Permit for a film or photography project?
A Special Use Permit (SUP) will be issued only after the park determines that the proposed project will not impair National Park Service values and resources. Listed below are a few things you will need to know about planning a film project in the park.
Scheduling: The Chief Ranger's Office maintains a calendar of film/photography projects which are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. The National Park Service does not issue permits for areas with high public visitation or on weekends and holidays.
Please note that all commercial filming permits and still photography permits are subject to cost recovery and a location fee. No waivers are allowed.
National Park Service Location Fee Schedule
Certificate of Insurance: The National Park Service requires a Certificate of Insurance, listing the United States as "additionally insured" for the date(s) of the event or activity. This liability coverage includes operations, personal injury, product liability, property damage and loss, and other necessary categories to be listed in the permit (range: $1,000,000 to $5,000,000).
For more information, please contact the Chief Ranger's Office at 360-816-6230 or via e-mail by clicking here.
I like Fort Vancouver NHS but I have other filming needs. Whom do we contact for permission to film in other, non-NPS areas of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve, such as Officers Row, the Howard House, West Barracks? What about other locations in the City of Vancouver or Clark County?
The contact for filming on non-NPS managed lands, including Officers Row, West Barracks, and other locations in the City of Vancouver and Clark County is the local Convention & Visitors Bureau. They can be reached at 360.750.1553 or via e-mail by clicking here.
Did You Know?
Did you know that Fort Vancouver National Historic Site hosts an annual Public History Field School, where graduate-level history students can gain practical field experience in historical interpretation? More...