Professional Photography or Filming Permit Details
"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 Petrified Forest National Park to allow filming and photography when and where possible, while adhering to this mandate. Therefore primary consideration will be given to potential resource damage and to anticipated disruption of normal public use.
The following guidelines are established by the superintendent of Petrified Forest National Park as they relate to filming and photographic activities within the park. 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.
To apply for a permit, complete the appropriate form (NPS Form 10-931) Application for Small Group - less than 10 people on crew or NPS Form 10-932 Application for Large Group - 10 or more people on crew) and submit it to the Superintendent of Petrified Forest National Park allowing sufficient time for evaluation by the park staff before the start date for your activity in the park. Please remember to enclose your check or money order for $100 to cover non-refundable application costs. Your request will be evaluated on the basis of the information in your application. Therefore you are encouraged to attach maps, diagrams, script pages or storyboards to assist the park staff in evaluating your request. (Since NPS cannot censor content, submission of script and story-boards is voluntary.)
Most requests can be processed within 10 working days. Requests which involve multiple locations, complex logistics or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum of 30 working days to process. Projects which require environmental or cultural resource evaluation must be submitted not less than 90 days before the start of proposed activities.
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.
Conference/Site Scouting will be scheduled with the park's permit coordinator and the potential permittee after the application has been received and reviewed. A visit to all potential filming sites in the park will usually be made at this time. By the end of the meeting, the permit coordinator should have enough information to prepare the permit once the project has been approved. The completed permit will detail the activities and locations to be autho¬rized. Any activities not specified in the permit will not be allowed. No activities on NPS property may begin until the permit has been approved by the park and agreed to by the permittee.
Costs and Fees incurred by NPS in conjunction with accommodating the permitted activity will be reimbursed by the permittee. Administrative costs and estimated costs for activities on site will be calculated and must be paid when the permit is approved. If any additional costs are incurred, the permittee will be billed at the conclusion of the permit.
Location fees will be assessed per 24 hour continuous period of filming or photography, with rates varying depending on the size of the production, per the fee chart on the next page. These fees are in addition to any fees required to cover expected overtime and other administrative costs.
Location Fee Schedule
The applicant or permittee is required to notify the NPS of any delays or schedule changes at least 36 hours in advance, or as agreed to by the superintendent. Should the applicant or permittee fail to provide such advance notification, the applicant or permittee is responsible for paying all costs incurred by the NPS anytime during the application, permitting, or operational process, including those due to cancellation, moving, or rescheduling of the project. Such payment will include but not be limited to a non-refundable charge for each staff person scheduled for the affected activity. Such charge will, at a minimum, be the equivalent of two hours overtime for each employee assigned. These costs may be recovered through the posting of a bond at the time of application, or through a bill for collection presented at any point after initial contact.
Any fees applicable will be determined on a case by case basis. The permittee will be advised of any such fees prior to receiving a permit.
Insurance and Bonding. General liability insurance must be carried by the permittee showing the U.S. Government, National Park Service, Petrified Forest National Park as additionally insured. Short term policies must show coverage on "occurrence" basis. The minimum amount of commercial liability insurance is one million dollars. Additional amounts may be required for high risk activities.
Certain activities may trigger the need for the permittee to post a refundable damage bond. The amount of the bond will be equivalent to the estimated cost to NPS for clean up, repair or rehabilitation of resources or facilities that could potentially be impacted by the permit activities. At the conclusion of the permit, the bond will be returned to the permittee after costs of clean up, repair or rehabilitation are deducted.
Sharing the Park. A filming or photography permit does not allow the permittee to restrict park visitors from any location, therefore sites which attract a large number of visitors should be avoided. Normal visitor use patterns will not be interrupted for longer than five minutes, and only as specified in the approved permit. Film/photography permit activities may not occur simultaneously with other permitted activities or unduly conflict with scheduled public activities. Visitors will be allowed to watch filming.
For more complex permit operations, or for activities which require coordination with other visitor use, and for those which are perceived to have the potential to impact park resources without proper supervision and care, at least one employee of the Park Service will be assigned to the film/photography crew. The permittee will be responsible for reimbursing the park for NPS monitoring. These costs will be included in the estimate of site use charges. Any additional costs will be recovered at the conclusion of the permit.
Restrictions and Conditions will be enumerated in the permit. The following activities are restricted and must be approved on a case by case basis: 1) use of children or animals, 2) discharge of blank ammunition and all black powder weapons, 3) mechanical or pyrotechnic special effects, 4) stunts, 5) amplified music or sound, 6) placing of large set dressings, 7) filming photography inside interiors of government administrative work areas, 8) film equipment or activities on roadways, 9) access to closed areas or access to areas during non-visitor use hours. The permit will specify the number of people and the exact types of equipment allowed. Activities not specified in the permit will not be allowed by the NPS monitor on duty.
Please note that the permit does not include authority to film or photograph individuals. Model releases are the responsibility of the permittee.
Closures. Permit activities may be restricted based on weather or seasonal conditions (fire danger, standing water after rain, nesting season, etc.). Additional closures, use limits and/or restricted activities are listed in the Superintendent's Compendium.
Prohibited Activities. Activities having the potential to damage or significantly impact or alter park resources are prohibited. The following are also prohibited: 1) altering, damaging or removing vegetation, 2) vehicle use off established roads and parking areas, 3) use of insecticides, herbicides and pesticides, 4) loud noises (60 decibels or higher) between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., 5) smoking in buildings, on boardwalks or in vegetated areas, 6) use of fragile vegetation areas, except on trails or already disturbed areas (as determined by NPS), 7) Use of aircraft of any kind, 8) writing on or discoloring any natural feature or structure.
Harassment of wildlife is prohibited by law. Filming of wildlife is permitted as long as there is NO disturbance, feeding, teasing, or manipulation of resident or free-roaming animals. Wildlife captured elsewhere may NOT be used in any in-park filming, whether trained or not.
Termination of Permit. All filming or photography permits issued by the National Park Service are "revocable" on 24 hours notice, or WITHOUT NOTICE if the terms of the permit are violated. Deliberate infractions of the terms of the filming permit or the deliberate making of false or misleading statements concerning intended actions in order to obtain a permit are causes for immediate termination of the permit and cause for possible prosecution. Permits will be revoked if damage to resources or facilities is threatened, of if there is a clear danger to public health or safety.
Please return the completed application along with the $100 processing charge to the park Superintendent at the address below. You may FAX the application, but it will not be processed until the park receives the processing payment.
Petrified Forest National Park
FAX (928) 524-3567
NPS Form 10-931: Photography/Filming Special Use Permit Application - Small Group- (crew of less than 10)
Did You Know?
Petrified wood was so abundant when the ancestral Puebloan people were living in the area that they used it not only for stone tools but also as building material, such as the "brick" used in Agate House at Petrified Forest National Park.