Commercial Filming and Photography

The National Park Service allows commercial filming and photography when it is consistent with the protection and public enjoyment of park resources, and it avoids conflict with the public's normal use and enjoyment of the park. Aesthetic values such as scenic vistas, natural quiet, and dark night skies are resources that we value. We are also sensitive to the environments around our park sites. There are restrictions associated with party size, the use of commercial vehicles, generators, artificial lighting, commercial film equipment, props, sets, and audio devices. Commercial vehicles must be in compliance with all federal and state laws and local ordinances. Inclement weather imposes road restrictions and limited access.

Please Note - Commercial Photo Workshops and Tours Require a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) (not a Special Use Permit)


The National Park Service cannot accommodate a project if:

  • damage to natural, cultural, wilderness, and recreational resources which cannot be mitigated is expected;

  • other activities are already planned or expected to occur at the same time and place, and filming or photography would be incompatible;

  • the activity involves access to areas normally closed for reasons of resource protection or safety;

  • the level of activity within the park is already so high that staff would be unavailable to work with the film crew;

  • the project includes a portrayal of activities that are not permitted within a national park;

  • the production company is unwilling or unable to obtain necessary insurance;or

  • the production company is unwilling or unable to reimburse the National Park Service for costs or comply with National Park Service bond requirements.

Permit Requirement

A permit is required when the filming, videotaping, sound recording, or still photography involve the use of talent, professional crews, set dressings, or props;when they involve product or service advertisement;or when the activity could result in damage to park resources or disruption of visitor use. If you are uncertain whether your project requires a permit or not, contact the park for additional information.

Most still photography will not require a permit. Still photography activities require a permit only if:

  • The still photography activity uses models, sets or props

  • The still photography activity takes place in an area where or when members of the public are not allowed

  • The agency would incur costs for providing on-site management and oversight to protect agency resources and minimize visitor use conflicts.

For the purposes of NPS guidance a portrait subject is not considered a model. Examples of portrait subjects include, but are not limited to, wedding parties, high school/college, and graduates. But photography involving portrait subjects may require a permit if it also includes the use of props or sets, or is conducted in an area closed to the public, or needs to be managed by NPS personnel.


Completed applications must be returned to the park with payment. There is a $50 non-refundable application review fee. We cannot accept credit cards at this time. Money orders, cash, or checks payable to the National Park Service are accepted.
Your request will be evaluated on the basis of the information in your application. If substantial staff resources are expended in the evaluation of the request, the applicant will be billed for the additional costs. Therefore you are encouraged to attach maps, diagrams, script pages, storyboards, vehicle and equipment lists, crew lists, call sheet, itineraries, shot lists, etc., with your application to assist park staff in evaluating your request. In compliance with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, applicants must submit their social security number or Federal Tax ID number when filling out the application for permit. Park managers will not sign location releases supplied by applicants.

Application Processing

Most requests should be processed within 14 days if the application is complete and without alteration, with the exception of:

  • Requests involving multiple locations, complex logistics, or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum of 21 days to process.
  • Projects that require environmental or cultural resource evaluation must be submitted no less than 30 days before the start of proposed activities and may require additional time dependent upon project complexity.

Mail To:

Acadia National Park
ATTN: Special Use Permit Coordinator
P.O. Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Or Overnight Mail To:

Acadia National Park
ATTN: Special Use Permit Coordinator
20 McFarland Hill Dr
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Documents can be faxed to 207-288-8792 but permits will not be processed until payment has been received.

Last updated: October 19, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609


(207) 288-3338

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