Commercial Film/Photography Permit Application
Cost and Fees
The National Park Service is required by law to recover all costs for special use permits. All costs incurred by the NPS in conjunction with the permitted filming activity will be reimbursed by the permittee. A cost estimate can be calculated and provided once the Filming Coordinator has received all applicable information.
Non-refundable Application Fee: $100
Administrative Fee: $80
Hourly Management Fee: $50 per hour
1. Monitoring - All activities authorized by permit require continuous, on-site supervision by the National Park Service to assure full compliance with all conditions of the permit. A minimum of 2 hours monitoring ($100) is applied to the cost of every permit upon issuance. The scope and complexity of the activity will determine the level and type of supervision. Fees include travel time for employees involved between activity location(s) and employee duty station(s).
Location Fees: Beginning May 15, 2006, the NPS began charging location fees for filming. Public Law 106-206, codified at 16 U.S.C. 460l-6d, instructs the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to "establish a reasonable fee for commercial filming activities or similar projects on Federal Lands…" The location fee is in addition to cost recovery charges that are currently being collected.
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 or his/her representative.
General liability insurance must be carried by the permittee naming the United States Government as an additional insured. Short-term policies must show coverage on an "occurrence" basis. Required commercial general liability for video or film productions is generally one million dollars ($1,000,000), but will vary according to project scope, risk to park resources and other relevant circumstances. All insurance certificates must be issued by an insurance company operation in the United States. The Filming Coordinator must receive the original insurance certificate no later than one week before the scheduled activity.
All permitted filming activities will require the permittee to post a performance bond. The purpose of the bond is to insure that the resource is left in as good condition as it was prior to the filming, and to cover restoration costs (if needed). The amount of the bond will be determined according to the scope and potential for damage by the activity. At the conclusion of the permit, the bond will be returned to the permittee after final billing costs and costs of necessary clean up; repair or rehabilitation is deducted. The performance bond can be in the form of a money order or cashier's check.
Sharing the Park
A filming or photography permit does not give exclusive rights to the permittee or allow the permittee to restrict 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. Visitors will be able to observe filming activity.
Restrictions and Conditions
All 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,
5. amplified sound or music,
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 types of equipment allowed. The NPS monitor on duty will not allow activities not specified in the permit.
Please note that the permit does not include authority to film or photograph park visitors unless agreed to by the visitor and a signed written release is obtained by the permittee.
Permit activities may be restricted based on weather, seasonal conditions or conflicts with visitor use (fire danger, wildlife concerns, busy weekends, etc.). Additional closures use limits and/or restricted activities are listed in the superintendent's compendium.
Activities having the potential to damage or significantly impact or alter park resources are prohibited.
The following is a partial list of prohibited activities:
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 that exceed 60 decibels or have the potential to negatively impact park resources or visitors experience,
5. smoking in building or vegetated areas,
6. use of fragile vegetation areas, except on trails or already disturbed areas (as determined by the NPS),
7. flying aircraft below FAA recommended minimum altitude (usually 2,000 feet) above noise sensitive areas (National Parks),
8. commercial filming in wilderness areas,
9. writing on or discoloring any natural feature or structure.
Last updated: November 15, 2013