The vast, unspoiled panorama of Everglades National Park and the pristine marine environment of Dry Tortugas National Park (with historic Fort Jefferson) offer photographers and filmmakers unique opportunities for capturing the natural world on film. However, the Congressional acts establishing these parks places a two-fold responsibility upon the National Park Service to protect the natural and cultural resources and to provide for the visitors' enjoyment of them. Commercial Filming and Photography All commercial filming requires a permit. 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. It does not include coverage of breaking news (news gathering) or visitor filming for private use. Private individuals engaged in still photography for their own personal use and enjoyment generally do not need a film permit. Commercial still photography may be exempt, unless it involves product or service advertisement; the use of models, sets or props, or when there is a potential for resource damage or disruption of visitor activities, or when the activity requests access to an area not normally open to the general public.
There are restraints on commercial filming operations to ensure the resources are protected and visitors are not unduly affected. (Public Law 106-206 outlines commercial filming permit requirements as well as location fee and cost recovery criteria). News Gathering News gathering activities may require a permit if the activities are of such size and scope that a permit would help manage the activity to minimize possible damage to park resources and visitor use conflicts or to authorize entrance into a closed area. Even when the above circumstances are present, permits will be required only if there is sufficient time to issue the permit without impeding the crew’s ability to gather the news. If there is not sufficient time to issue a permit, visitor and resource protection will be managed verbally in the field. There are no cost recovery charges or location fees for permits issued for news gathering activities. Application If you'd like to apply for a permit or have any questions, please contact the Special Park Uses Coordinator at (305) 242-7042 or email e-mail us.
Digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project.
Still photography using models, sets or props
Sound recording projects that require more than handheld equipment, more than one person or NPS oversight.
Use of large or unusual equipment, even for non-commercial purposes if activities warrant NPS oversight
Permits are generally not required when:
Visitors are engaged in filming/photography intended for their personal use and enjoyment.
The filming of breaking news (an event that cannot be covered at any other time or location) by news crews.