The paved sidewalk leading from the visitor center to the overlook at Stronghold House is open 24 hours a day, year-round. The Little Ruin Canyon / Square Tower trail beginning at the overlook, and trails in all other units of the Monument, are closed sunset to sunrise.
To do night photography off the paved sidewalk or in other units of the Monument, you must have a special-use permit.
“The service…shall promote and regulate the use of…national parks…[its] purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” (16 U.S.C. 1)
It is the policy of the National Park Service to allow filming and photography consistent with protection and public enjoyment of park resources. Therefore, the primary consideration in the evaluation of permit requests in the Southeast Utah Group is the potential for resource damage and the disruption of normal public use and values. Aesthetic values such as scenic vistas, natural quiet and dark night skies are resources that we and the public value.
The use of model aircraft (unmanned, under 55 lbs, flown for hobby or recreational purposes within the line of sight of the operator) is prohibited for the protection of the park's environmental and scenic values and for avoiding conflict among visitor use activities.
Hovenweep's trails are closed sunset to sunrise to all visitors and campers. Due to this regulation, a permit is required if night photography is desired.
The Service's policies and procedures governing filming and photography are governed by Public Law 106-206 (16 USC 460l-6d), which distinguishes filming from photography in that filming involves movement or motion of the subject, whereas photography does not (thus still photography is simply photography). Filming and photography activities—whether commercial or noncommercial—will be allowed in parks provided that the activities do not cause unacceptable impacts under sections sections 18.104.22.168 or 8.2. For the purposes of NPS policy, filming and photography encompass any technology that may be used for recording images or the sound tracks associated with them.
A permit will not be required for a visitor's personal, noncommercial filming and photography activities within normal visitation areas and hours. (Outside normal visitation areas and hours, a permit may be required.) However, all commercial filming activities will require a permit. Commercial filming means filming that involves the digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience. This includes recordings such as those used for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project.
In accordance with Public Law 106-206, still photography (whether commercial or noncommercial) will not require a permit unless
A request for a permit may be denied if:
How to Apply
To apply for a filming permit within the Southeast Utah Group, please complete Form 10-930 [835k Word document]. Call 435-719-2123 with payment information, or mail a check or money order made out to National Park Service for $100 to:
Filming Permits Coordinator
Please allow sufficient time for evaluation by the park staff before the start date of the proposed activity to be conducted in one of the Southeast Utah Group Parks.
All applications will be handled in the order they are received. Standard requests can be processed in 15 business days. Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics, and coordination with other NPS divisions or visitor activities will likely require a minimum of four weeks to process, but may take longer depending on workload. A minimum of four weeks is also required to process permits for projects that need additional environmental compliance.
For questions or additional information, please contact the filming coordinator at 435-719-2123.
In compliance with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, the applicant must submit their social security number of Federal tax ID number when filling out the application for a permit. Applications will not be processed if submitted incomplete or are received without payment.
Minimum fees: $280. Location fees and additional monitoring fees to be charged after the shoot. Call 435-719-2123 with payment information.
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).
(2) Interviews - All interviews of park personnel will be assessed at the hourly rate. This will not apply to pre-approved filming or photographing of NPS staff members performing their regularly scheduled work activities.
(3) Scouting – If a permittee requests a scouting trip with or by the Filming Permits Coordinator; staff time will be assessed at a rate of $40 per hour if on regular duty time, $50 per hour if it’s overtime.
Extended Administrative Time: $50 per hour/per employee
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. Should the applicant or permittee fail to provide such advance notification, the applicant or permittee is responsible for paying all costs incurred by the NPS any time during the application, permitting, or operational process, including those due to cancellation, moving or rescheduling of the project. Such payment will include but is not limited to a non-refundable charge for each staff person scheduled for the affected activity.
Such charge will, at a minimum, be the equivalent of two hours overtime for each employee assigned. These costs may be recovered through the posting of a bond at the time of application, or though a bill of collection presented at any point after initial contact.
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.
Sharing the Park
Restrictions and Conditions
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.
Artificial Light Sources
Termination of Permit
Last updated: July 21, 2020