Capitol Reef National Park, located in south-central Utah, contains over 240,000 acres of spectacular desert scenery, geologic landscapes and unique wildlife. More than 700,000 visitors annually pass through Capitol Reef. The park is open all year with most visitation occurring between March and November.
Please read the Commercial Filming and Photography Guidelines.
It is the policy of Capitol Reef National Park to allow filming when and where possible. Capitol Reef National Park encourages filming when it is for the specific use of the park or when it assists the park or the National Park Service with fulfilling its mission. National Park Service (NPS) policy requires that primary consideration be given to safety, potential resource damage and to anticipated disruption of normal visitor use when reviewing a request for a filming permit.
To assure protection of the Park's cultural, historic, and natural resources, all commercial photography requests involving the use of lands within Capitol Reef National Park must be approved through a permitting process initiated through the Park Superintendent or his/her designated representative. At Capitol Reef, the Chief Ranger is the designated coordinator for the Commercial Filming Program.
Tools for management and enforcement of the permitting system can be found in Director's Order (DO) 53, National Park Service Management Policies and Title 36, Part 5.5 and Title 43, Part 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
The following guidelines are established by the Superintendent of Capitol Reef National Park as they relate to commercial filming activities within the Park. The Park Superintendent has the authority and responsibility to manage, permit and /or deny filming projects consistent with the following principles:
- Natural, cultural, wilderness, and recreational resources will be protected.
- The activity will not unduly conflict with the public's normal use and enjoyment of the park.
- Visitors using cameras and/or recording devices for their own personal use are generally exempt from film permit requirements.
- A commercial photographer who is not using a prop, model or set, is staying within normal visitation areas and hours, and is not significantly interfering with normal park visitation, is generally exempt from film permit requirements.
- Coverage of breaking news never requires a permit, but is subject to the imposition of restrictions and conditions necessary to protect park resources and public health and safety, and to prevent impairment or derogation of park values.
- The NPS will not censor the content of any project, nor require finished film products for review, or documentation purposes. However, the superintendent may review a story board or other material offered by the applicant to aid in the permit decision process.
- Commercial photographers, and their crew, who obtain a filming permit from the NPS are recognized as not being in the park for recreational purposes for the duration and purposes of that permit, and, as such, are specifically exempted from paying entrance fees under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of H.R. 4818.
- The park superintendent shall determine when a permit for filming or photography will be required and what costs and other fees, if any, must be recovered. During certain times (e.g., periods of peak visitation or high fire danger) the superintendent may deny any or all requests for special use activities, including filming. If filming activities are inherent in an event or activity for which a Special Use Permit has been or will be issued, conditions and permission for filming may be included in that Special Use Permit rather than writing a separate filming permit.
- A permit is required if the filming, videotaping, sound recording or still photography involves the use of a model (or any on-camera talent), set, or prop, or when the filming, videotaping, sound recording, or still photography could result in damage to park resources or significant disruption of normal visitor use.
- Filming permits are generally required for any filming intended for public viewing or commercial advertising.
- Filming permits are required if production vehicles or transports (portable control rooms, portable video editing rooms, trailers, trucks, vans, cars, satellite trucks, etc.) are to be used.
- Filming permits are required if broadcast equipment (either live or playback telecasts), videotape, or film equipment, including cameras, booms, dollies, satellites, antennas, multiple microphone systems, lighting equipment, generators, cables, monitors, sound equipment, film editing equipment, etc., are to be used.
- Filming permits are required if construction crews, electricians, engineers, carpenters, contractors, laborers, tents, trailers, housing, change rooms, animals, trainers or handlers are to be used.
- Filming permits are generally required for documentaries, game shows, television shopping networks, religious shows, public television programs, motion pictures, soap operas, made-for-television movies, talk shows, news broadcasts*, docudramas, fund-raising travelogues, soft news, commercials, infomercials and children's shows. They are also required for industry-specific footage for cassette or video tape productions to be used for training, sales, entertainment, how-to demonstrations, health and/or hygiene practices, educational promotions, advertisements, sports, etc.
- *Filming involving on-going news events and sound technicians working with news photographers are exempt from the permit requirement; however, they are not exempt from other regulations in CFR 36, Chapter I, or other relevant federal, state, county, municipal or local laws or ordinances. Documentaries filmed specifically for sale to a news station or educational channels are considered commercial ventures and, as such, require filming permits.
- News media photographers should contact the Chief of Interpretation, (Public Affairs Officer) especially when projects will involve multiple vehicles and large numbers of staff which exhibit impact potential. News media shooting human interest stories, staged events, or other activities not involved in the bona fide gathering or covering of news events will be required to obtain a permit prior to such filming.
- Permits issued for commercial photography (advertising) specifically prohibit implied or stated endorsement by the National Park Service (NPS). Identifiable NPS equipment, uniforms, buildings or insignia may not be portrayed in commercial advertising in any way that would imply such NPS endorsement of the product.
II. Filming Activities
All filming activities for which permits have been issued will be conducted in strict compliance with Federal, state, county and local laws, ordinances or regulations applicable to the area of operation covered under the agreement. Filming will not be allowed in those areas closed to the general public. All vehicles used by the film company will be subject to applicable rules and regulations and other limitations.
III. Resource Damage
Filming activities which exhibit the potential for resource damage will be denied. Driving vehicles off established roadways, cutting trees or otherwise damaging vegetation, destroying or altering resources will not be allowed. Temporary, non-destructive activities, such as placing a prop, tent, vehicle, actor, etc., may be allowed if the resource can be left undamaged after filming is complete. These requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
IV. Plants and Wildlife
Plants or parts thereof, brought in for use in filming activity will be inspected for diseases and/or insects by appropriate federal or state inspectors and certificates of inspection presented prior to Permit issuance.
The harassment of wildlife is prohibited. Filming of wildlife is permitted if there is no disturbance/manipulation of resident or free-roaming animals.
The use of domestic animals by film crews may be permitted, (on a case-by-case basis) if humane treatment is accorded the animal at all times and Park regulations related to domestic animal use are strictly observed. All Federal and/or state inspections required must be satisfactorily completed and certificates presented to the Chief Ranger prior to permit issuance. Domestic animals used in filming are not permitted to feed or graze on plant life, and all feed brought into the Park must be certified weed free and contained so as to disallow its deposition in the Park. All excrement will be collected and removed from the Park daily.
Wildlife captured elsewhere may not be used in any in-Park filming, whether trained or not. Domesticated wild animals are included in this restriction.
V. Disruption of Visitor Activities
National Park Service policy states that filming activity must not unduly disrupt normal visitor use of the Park. Requests from film- makers for temporary, brief closures of visitor use areas will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but will generally be denied during peak visitor use periods.
VI. Use of Aircraft
The use of aircraft for commercial filming activities in Capitol Reef National Park is allowed under strict guidelines. The use of fixed wing aircraft over Capitol Reef National Park for commercial filming or scouting purposes is permitted only if the minimum altitude of 2000 feet (609.6 m) above ground level is maintained. The use of helicopters is prohibited.
VII. Requests For Permits
Requests may be made in person at Capitol Reef National Park Headquarters or by telephone or letter. Once the proposed filming request has been processed and approved and the permit is prepared, an authorized representative of the film company must provide bond (if applicable), permit, and monitoring fees and sign a copy of the permit and agreement. Final terms of agreement and special instructions will be presented in a Terms and Conditions for Filming document and discussed in a mandatory pre-filming conference. An original copy of the completed permit must be on-site at all times during filming activities and must be presented, upon request, to any authorized park personnel.
Permit request by letter should be addressed to:
Capitol Reef National Park
HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, Utah 84775
Telephone requests should be directed to:
Capitol Reef National Park
VIII. Filming Application
An Application for Photography/Filming Permit must be completed and returned to the Chief Ranger, along with the applicable non-refundable administrative permit processing fee of $100.00, before a filming permit will be considered. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the National Park Service. Information returned must be specific, especially that information dealing with site locations and actual anticipated filming activities. Insufficiently prepared questionnaires can result in a protracted, more expensive permitting process and may result in denial of the application.
IX. Permit Evaluation
Filming permits will only be issued after a thorough evaluation of the Application for Photography/Filming Permit by the Chief Ranger. All locations must be approved prior to filming, and, depending on the complexity of the proposed project, one or more on-site visits to proposed locations may be necessary. Copies of story boards and/or scripts may also be required prior to permit approval. A minimum of fifteen working days will normally be required for administrative review of the proposed filming activity, although larger or smaller projects may require more or less time. Read more information regarding permit conditions.