Filming and Photography Permits

Filming

Changes to Commercial Filming Permits on Park Land

On January 22, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Price v. Barr determining the permit and fee requirements applying to commercial filming under 54 USC 100905, 43 CFR Part 5, and 36 CFR Part 5.5 are unconstitutional. The National Park Service has issued interim guidance as of February 22, 2021, to manage filming activities. Under the interim guidance, filming activities may require a permit if they pose a threat to park resources or the visitor experience. The National Park Service intends to update regulations addressing filming activities that are consistent with the outcome of Price v. Barr. Once effective, those regulations will replace and supersede the interim guidance.

As regulations regarding commercial filming permits are being reassessed, those interested in commercial filming activities in Crater Lake National Park are encouraged to contact us directly and to discuss how to minimize potential impacts to visitors and sensitive park resources.

Do I need a permit to film?

Under the interim guidance, the National Park Service is not distinguishing between types of filming, such as commercial, non-commercial, or news gathering. Low-impact filming activities will not require a special use permit, but non-low-impact filming may require a permit to consider its potential impacts on park resources and visitor activities.

Low-Impact Filming

“Low-impact filming" is defined as outdoor filming activities in areas open to the public, except areas managed as wilderness, involving five people or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras. Those participating in low-impact filming activities do not need a permit and are not required to contact the park in advance.

All applicable laws and regulations governing activities and public use in parks still apply, including park hours and areas open and closed to the public. Videographers, filmers, producers, directors, news and other staff associated with filming are reminded that rules and regulations that apply to all park visitors still apply to filming activities even if no permit is needed for their activity. Check with the park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.

Non-Low-Impact Filming

Filming activities that do not meet the description of low-impact filming require at least ten days' advance notice to Crater Lake National Park directly in writing. The parks' superintendent will determine whether the filming activity will require a special use permit for filming. Based on the information provided, a permit may be required to:

  • maintain public health and safety;

  • protect environmental or scenic values;

  • protect natural or cultural resources;

  • allow for equitable allocation or use of facilities; or

  • avoid conflict among visitor use activities.

Examples of requests that may require a permit include, but are not limited to: entering a sensitive resource area, filming in areas that require tickets to enter, filming in areas that require tickets to enter, or filming in visitor centers, campgrounds, or other visitor areas. The decision to require a permit rests with the park superintendent based on potential impacts to park resources or the visitor experience.

Contact the park directly if unsure whether or not a filming activity is considered low-impact or will require a permit.

Filming in Wilderness Areas

Crater Lake National Park manages and protects over 120-thousand acres of proposed Wilderness in the spirit and intent of the Wilderness Act. Filming activities in wilderness areas must follow all applicable laws and regulations that govern wilderness areas in the park, including prohibitions on structures, installations, motor vehicles, mechanical transport, motorized equipment, motorboats, or landing aircrafts.

Special use permits for filming are required for all filming activities in wilderness areas, except casual filming by visitors, no matter the group size or equipment used.

Are filmers still required to pay fees to film in parks?

As of January 22, 2021, and under the interim guidance the National Park Service is not collecting application or location fees, or cost recovery for filming activities.

Still Photography

When is a permit needed?

Price v. Barr had no impact on how the National Park Service regulates still photography, so there are no changes in how the National Park Service regulates that activity. Still photographers require a permit only when:

  1. the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
  2. the activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location's natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or
  3. a park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.

What fees will I have to pay?

The National Park Service will collect a cost recovery charge and a location fee for still photography permits. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in processing your request and monitoring your permit. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of your permit. The application fee must be submitted with your application.

In addition, the National Park Service has been directed by Congress to collect a fee to provide a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands. The National Park Service uses the following still photography fee schedule:

  • 1–10 people - $50/day
  • 11–30 people - $150/day
  • Over 30 people - $250/day

Insurance and Bonding

General liability insurance must be carried by the permittee showing the U.S. Government, National Park Service, Crater Lake National Park address as additionally insured. Short term policies must show coverage on "occurrence" basis. The minimum amount of commercial liability insurance is one million dollars. Additional amounts may be required for high-risk activities. Certain activities may trigger the need for the permittee to post a refundable damage bond. The amount of the bond will be equivalent to the estimated cost to NPS for clean up, repair or rehabilitation of resources or facilities that could potentially be impacted by the permit activities. At the conclusion of the permit, the bond will be returned to the permittee after costs of clean up, repair or rehabilitation are deducted.

What about photography workshops?

If you are planning a photography workshop, you may need a commercial use authorization. See the commercial use authorization page for more information.

 

Application Process

Film/Photography permits are issued for photography, filming, and associated sound recording to ensure protection of resources, to prevent significant disruption of normal visitor uses, or when they involve props, merchandise, models, professional crews, and casts or set dressings. Permits are required for access to areas normally closed to the visiting public.

Complete the Application for Photography/Filming Permit (Short or Long Form) and submit it to Crater Lake National Park Permit Office allowing sufficient time for evaluation by the park staff before the start date for your activity in the park. Use the "short form" for still photography and smaller video/film projects. Use the "long form" for more complicated video/film projects where more information is required to evaluate the application.

Please remember to enclose a check or money order for $50.00 to cover non-refundable application costs. Your request will be evaluated on the basis of the information in your application. Therefore you are encouraged to attach maps, diagrams, script pages or storyboards to assist the park staff in evaluating your request. (Since NPS cannot censor content, submission of script and storyboards is voluntary.)
Most requests can be processed within four (4) weeks. Requests which involve multiple locations, complex logistics or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum often (10) weeks process. Projects which require environmental or cultural resource evaluation must be submitted not less than ten (10) weeks before the start of proposed activities.

All costs of evaluating the request will be billed to the applicant, whether a permit is issued or not. In compliance with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, the applicant must submit their social security number or federal tax ID number when filling out the application for permit.

Conference/Site Scouting

These will be scheduled with the park's permit coordinator and the potential permittee after the application has been received and reviewed. A visit to all potential filming sites in the park will usually be made at this time. By the end of the meeting, the permit coordinator should have enough information to prepare the permit once the project has been approved.(Each park will determine whether scouting every site is realistic, and will determine if the pre-permit conference can be conducted via telephone or must be on site.) The completed permit will detail the activities and locations to be authorized. Any activities not specified in the permit will not be allowed. No activities on NPS property may begin until the permit has been approved by the park and agreed to by the permittee.


Sharing the Park

A filming or photography permit does not allow the permittee to restrict park 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. Film/photography permit activities may not occur simultaneously with other permitted activities or unduly conflict with scheduled public activities. Visitors will be allowed to watch filming. For more complex permit operations, or for activities which require coordination with other visitor use, and for those which are perceived to have the potential to impact park resources without proper supervision and care, at least one employee of the Park Service will be assigned to the film/photography crew. The permittee will be responsible for reimbursing the park for NPS monitoring. These costs will be included in the estimate of site use charges. Any additional costs will be recovered at the conclusion of the permit.

Restrictions and Conditions
Restrictions and conditions will be enumerated in the permit. The following activities are restricted and must be approved on a case by case basis:

  • use of children or animals
  • discharge of blank ammunition and all black powder weapons
  • mechanical or pyrotechnic special effects
  • stunts
  • amplified music or sound
  • placing of large set dressings
  • filming/photography inside interiors of government administrative work areas
  • film equipment or activities on roadways
  • access to closed areas or access to areas during non-visitor use hours.

The permit will specify the number of people and the exact types of equipment allowed. Activities not specified in the permit will not be allowed by the NPS monitor on duty. Please note that the permit does not include authority to film or photograph individuals. Model releases are the responsibility of the permittee. Permit activities may be restricted based on weather or seasonal conditions (fire danger, standing water after rain, nesting season, etc.). Additional closures, use limits and/or restricted activities are listed in the Superintendent's Compendium.

Prohibited Activities and Termination

Activities having the potential to damage or significantly impact or alter park resources are prohibited. The following are also prohibited:
  • altering, damaging or removing vegetation
  • vehicle use off established roads and parking areas
  • use of insecticides, herbicides and pesticides
  • loud noises (60 decibels or higher) between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • smoking in buildings, on boardwalks or in vegetated areas
  • use of fragile vegetation areas, except on trails or already disturbed areas (as determined by NPS)
  • flying aircraft below FAA recommended minimum altitude (usually 2,000 feet) or launching or landing of aircraft except at designated landing sites
  • writing on or discoloring, destroying or changing any natural feature or structure
  • harassment of wildlife is prohibited by law. Filming of wildlife is permitted as long as there is NO disturbance, feeding, teasing, or manipulation of resident or free-roaming animals.
  • Wildlife captured elsewhere may NOT be used in any in-park filming, whether trained or not.

All filming or photography permits issued by the National Park Service are "revocable" on 24 hours notice or WITHOUT NOTICE if the terms of the permit are violated. Deliberate infractions of the terms of the filming permit or the deliberate making of false or misleading statements concerning intended actions in order to obtain a permit are causes for immediate termination of the permit and cause for possible prosecution. Permits will be revoked if damage to resources or facilities is threatened, of if there is a clear danger to public health or safety.

Last updated: June 24, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake, OR 97604

Phone:

(541) 594-3000

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