Special Information for News and Documentary Projects
Any Commercial Filming and/or Photography that take place in Montgomery County Maryland and/or the District of Columbia must be processed through the National Capital Regional Park Programs Division. To obtain an application and additional information, contact the NCR Park Programs Division office at (202) 619-7225.
Breaking news is an event which cannot be covered at any other time or at any other location. Coverage of breaking news does not require a permit. Filming of breaking news does not involve advertising, sets, props or models. Although no permit is required, the film crew may not disrupt park visitors, damage park resources or compromise public health and safety regulations.
Frequently there are opportunities for news organizations to focus on park programs, or increase public awareness of park-specific problems. Filming related to these stories can be coordinated and planned in advance and may require a permit. Contact the Public Affairs Coordinator at (301)739-6072. A permit will be issued, but if the park benefits from the increased public awareness, the Superintendent may choose to reduce or waive costs associated with the permit.
Films or videos which are partially, directly or indirectly funded by NPS are produced through a contract with the agency. All other film or video documentary or instructional projects are filmed through the permit system.
If your project involves several NPS parks across the country, you will contact each park to arrange for your permit and schedule your activities in the park. You may find parks will differ in the amount of assistance they can provide to you, and which NPS costs you will be expected to reimburse.
There is no insurance requirement for crews following breaking news stories. Crews are expected to comply with park regulations, avoid damage to park resources, and not unduly disrupt park visitors as they follow their news.
When a permit is issued for other news or for documentary filming, the Park Superintendent can evaluate the potential need for liability insurance related to the project. If appropriate, the Superintendent can waive the insurance requirement. The goal is to adequately protect the park, its resources and visitors while assuring access to news.
Since our costs are based on the services we provide, we do not differentiate between profit and non-profit documentary projects. Our recovery of costs can sometimes be reduced if the project can be shown to have an outstanding benefit to the mission of the NPS. That decision is made by the Park Superintendent.
By law the NPS may not waive recovery of costs for projects which are produced to promote an industry, influence Congressional initiatives, or influence the outcomes of elections.