The National Park Service (NPS) is mandated to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” (16 U.S.C. 1) For this purpose the Department of the Interior developed RM-53, which governs filming, photography and sound recordings in National Parks. Under these guidelines NPS units have the authority and responsibility to manage, permit and/or deny filming, photography and sound recordings in ways consistent with park management and mission.
It is the policy of the NPS to allow commercial photography, still photography, filming and sound recordings to the fullest extent possible while providing for the protection of park resources and ensuring the enjoyment of those resources by park visitors. Before any permit will be granted, consideration will be given to potential park resource impacts, as well as impacts to visitor use, access to park sites, or park administration. There are cost recovery fees associated with the administration and management of special use permits for costs incurred by the park.
Permits are required for any project that generates an electronic media, film, still photography or video production for television, the motion picture industry, public interest or private multi-media which consists of production crews and vehicles, broadcast equipment, props/sets, talent/actors, construction, trailers, housing, animals, or aircraft. Projects may involve feature films, documentaries, game shows, soaps operas, shopping networks, religious telecasts, talk shows, docu-dramas, travelogues, commercials, infomercials, public TV presentations, or DVD’s, CDs, CDRoms or videos for training, sales, education, promotions, entertainment, etc.
- Commercial still photography usually requires a permit. Please call for more information.
- Private individuals engaged in photography for their own personal use and enjoyment generally do not need a film permit.
Allow for a minimum of 14 days to process any film/photography permit application.
How to Apply for a commercial filming/photography permit
- It is highly recommended that you contact Big Bend National Park filming permit coordinator (432-477-1107) to discuss your project before you begin the application process.
- Complete an Application for Special Use Permit (below), and include the $150 application fee (check payable to National Park Service).
- Your application will be carefully reviewed by park management, and if approved, a permit with specific conditions will be issued for signature.
- Location Fees may apply depending upon the size and length of the filming/photography project
For More Information
All Applicants Please Read:
Big Bend National Park General Filming and Photography Guidelines [Word File]
Application for Special Use Permit - Commercial Filming Still Photography Short Form [Word File]
For complex and/or large proposals:
Application for Special Use Permit - Commercial Filming Still Photography Long Form [Word File]