Film, Photography, and Sound Recording Permits

When filming, photography, and sound recording activities occur in national parks, they must be consistent with the protection of park resources and avoid conflict with public use and enjoyment of the park.

2022 Changes to Commercial Filming Permits on Park Lands

Effective immediately, consistent with the direction provided in the October 28, 2022, Memorandum titled “Rescission of Interim Filming Guidance”, the Interim Guidance following the Price v Barr decision is rescinded and Section III: 36 CFR § 1.5 SC 24 and SC 25 of the compendium are no longer in effect. This decision reinstates the permit and fee requirements for commercial filming found in 54 U.S.C. § 100905, 43 C.F.R. Part 5 and 36 C.F.R. § 5.5.


Who Needs a Permit?

A special use permit is required for any individual, business, or organization (including nonprofit groups and educational institutions) filming for a market audience or receiving compensation associated with footage or recordings made in the park. Some examples include:


  • Commercial advertisements, feature films, entertainment broadcasts, documentaries, promotional or educational films (including non-profit and student projects)
  • Filming for stock footage (regardless of equipment or crew size)
  • Time-lapse photography if the final sequence will be used in a motion picture format for commercial purposes
  • Use of large or unusual equipment, even for non-commercial purposes if activities warrant oversight by park staff

Still Photography

  • Still photography using models, props, sets, lighting, or other specialized equipment
  • Use of large or unusual equipment, even for non-commercial purposes if activities warrant oversight by park staff

Still Photography Workshops

  • Commercial photography tours are not a permitted activity in Glacier National Park. Individuals or companies wishing to provide photography workshops that focus on instruction of photography skils please visit our Commercial Use Authorization webpage.

Sound Recording

  • It takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed
  • It uses equipment that requires mechanical transport
  • It uses equipment that requires an external power source other than a battery pack
  • The agency would incur additional administrative costs to provide management and oversight of the permitted activity to:
    • Avoid unacceptable impacts and impairment to resources or values
    • Minimize health or safety risks to the visiting public


The following cases do not require a commercial film permit:

  • Visitors filming or taking pictures intended for their personal use and enjoyment. Special requests or use of large or unusual equipment may require permitting even if it is for personal use. Novice filmmakers should inquire with Special Park Uses Office for more information; the National Park Service does not issue retroactive permits.
  • Credentialed news organizations documenting an event that cannot be covered at any other time or location (e.g. breaking news).


Commercial filming: digital or film recording of a visual image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project. Under P.L. 106-206, all commercial filming requires a permit and is subject to a location fee and cost recovery charges.

Model: a person or object that serves as the subject for commercial filming or still photography for the purposes of promoting sales or use of a product or service. Models include but are not limited to, individuals, animals, or inanimate objects such as vehicles, boats articles of clothing, and food and beverage products.

Sets and props: items constructed or placed on agency lands to facilitate commercial filming or still photography including, but not limited to, backdrops, generators, microphones, stages, lighting banks, camera tracks, vehicles specifically designed to accommodate camera or recording equipment, rope and pulley systems, and rigging for climbers and structures. Sets and props also include trained animals and inanimate objects, such as camping equipment, campfires, wagons, and so forth, when used to stage a specific scene. The use of a camera on a tripod, without the use of any other equipment, is not considered a prop.


Drone use is prohibited year-round.

How to Apply

Filming, photography, and sound recording permits are considered in the order they are received. All applications must be completed in detail and returned with the non-refundable application fee paid on Please review the following applications and determine which version suits your request. If you are unsure of which application to use, contact the Special Park Use office.

Application packets, which consist of the application, non-refundable application fee (if applicable), and liability insurance (if needed), must be received at the park a minimum of 20 business days before the requested permit date or your permit request may be denied. Complex uses or activities may need additional time, however, applications will not be accepted more than one year before your event.


Contact Us

Feel free to email us at glac_sup with questions.


Application Fees

The application fee includes three hours of administrative time; including phone calls, correspondence, application review, and project consultation, scheduling park staff, permit issuance, follow-up and billing. Additional administrative time will be billed for costs incurred.

Location Fees

Film Still Photography/Sound Recording
1-2 people with camera
and tripod only
$0 1-10 people $50/day
1-10 people $150/day 11-30 People $150/day
11-30 People $250/day 11-30 People $250/day
31-49 People $250/day
Over 50 People $750/day

Monitoring Fees

Glacier National Park staff will be required to monitor certain filming, photography and sound recording activities. Crews are responsible for paying daily location fees and for monitors as well as any staff costs associated with the project. This fee must be paid before the permit is issued.

Last updated: April 12, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936



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