Commercial Filming & Still Photography Program

The National Park Service (NPS) policies allow filming and photography when it is consistent with the protection and public enjoyment of park resources, and when the activities assist in the NPS fulfilling its mission. Commercial filming and still photography activities may not harm natural, cultural, wilderness, or recreational resources and cannot conflict with the public's normal use and enjoyment of the park.

Who Needs a Permit?

  • By law (43 CFR Part 5), all commercial filming requires a permit and the payment of a location fee when applicable. Commercial filming is defined as digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement or similar project.
  • A permit is required if the sound recording or still photography (commercial or non-commercial) involves the use of a model (or any on-camera talent), set, or prop, or when the sound recording or still photography could result in damage to park resources or significant disruption of normal visitor use.
  • A permit is also required if the photographer wants to go into areas not open to the public or before or after normal visitation hours.
  • A still 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.
  • Press news gathering never requires a permit, but is subject to restrictions and conditions necessary to protect park resources, public health and safety and to prevent impairment or derogation of park resources, values or purposes.

How do I apply for a permit and when?

Please allow up to four weeks in advance of your activity for the application, review, and permit process. If you want to film in wilderness, six weeks of time may be necessary depending on the complexity and location of the activity.

  1. Application for Photography/Filming Permit:
  2. A non-refundable application and administrative fee of $200. After an initial review of your application, the park coordinator will provide information on how to make a payment using pay.gov or in the form of a cashier’s check or money order payable to “National Park Service”.
  3. Proof of general commercial liability insurance is required in order to protect the U.S. Government from claims or litigation connected with injury or damage resulting from the actions of the permittee or his/her agents or employees. The policy must be issued by a United States company. The “United States of America, Denali National Park and Preserve, PO Box 9, Denali Park AK 99755” should be listed as an “additional insured”. The minimum required insurance amount for commercial liability for most video or film production companies is $500,000. For larger productions or more than three people, it is minimum $1,000,000 per occurrence.
  4. If your project includes filming in wilderness (close to 6 million acres of Denali is designated or eligible wilderness), note that the Wilderness Act prohibits commercial enterprise including commercial filming in wilderness, but makes an allowance for certain commercial services. Generally, the NPS will not issue permits for activities to be conducted in wilderness if those activities are inconsistent with wilderness resources and character or if they do not require a wilderness setting. If you intend to conduct filming activity in wilderness (including locations such as glacier landings, mountaineering routes, and away from developed areas along the park road, or outside of the 150 foot buffer on either side of the park road), you will need to provide additional information for the park to evaluate your application and you may be required to cover the costs of the additional review time necessary for filming in a wilderness location.

What are other potential costs for the permit?

  1. Monitoring Fee
    Filming activities authorized by permit may be supervised by an NPS employee to assure full compliance with all terms of the permit. In operations involving few people and minimal equipment or, taking place where there is little possibility of damage or violation of other permit requirements or, inconvenience to the visitor, filming activities will be spot monitored to assure compliance. The level and type of supervision will be based on the extent and complexity of filming activities. A minimum $150 fee is charged for this monitoring (one employee for up to three hours or less). The monitoring fee will not exceed $400 per day (a day consists of a maximum of eight hours). Daily use in excess of eight hours will be charged at $75 per each additional hour of use.
  2. Location Fee
    Effective May 15, 2006, the Department of the Interior requires the collection of location fees for all commercial filming and still photography permits. The location fee is in addition to cost recovery charges that are already being collected.

    The current location fee schedule:
    1. Motion Pictures/Video
      1. 1 to 2 people, camera and tripod only: $0/day
      2. 1 to 10 people: $150/day
      3. 11 to 30 people: $250/day
      4. 31 to 49 people: $500/day
      5. Over 50 people: $750/day
    2. Still Photography
      1. 1 to 10 people: $50/day
      2. 11 to 30 people: $150/day
      3. Over 30 people: $250/day
  3. Performance Bond
    Certain activities may trigger the need for the permitee to post a refundable damage bond. The amount of the bond will be equivalent to the estimated cost to the NPS for cleanup, 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 the costs of cleanup, repair, or rehabilitation are deducted.

What is the process after I submit my application?

Once you return the application for filming, your application will be reviewed initially and a determination made whether to proceed or whether additional information is necessary. At that point, the coordinator will provide an application number to pay $200 application fee to proceed with the review and permitting process. The permitting process allows discussion of the proposed project, provides an opportunity to understand policies and presents avenues for discovery of possible alternatives. It also serves to establish an administrative record of filming activities.

Commercial film permits will typically be issued after a pre-permit conference briefing by the Film Permit Coordinator or her/his representative and in no case before the application and application fee have been properly submitted. 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. Smaller, less involved projects may allow a pre-permit conference via telephone.

Where can I obtain more information?

Email the commercial filming coordinator, or contact the park at (907) 683-9532 and ask to speak the coordinator.

Thank you for your interest in filming in Denali National Park and Preserve. We look forward to working with you.

Last updated: September 19, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755

Phone:

(907) 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am—4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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