Film and Photgraphy Permits

Filming and Photography Policy

It is the policy of the National Park Service (NPS) to allow filming and photography when it is consistent with the protection and public enjoyment of park resources, and avoid conflict with the public's normal use and enjoyment of the park. There are restrictions associated with group size, generators, artificial lighting, commercial film equipment, props, sets and audio devices.

General Information Sheet (127Kb PDF)

Restrictions: The National Park Service cannot accommodate a project if:

Damage to natural, cultural, wilderness, and recreational resources is expected which cannot be mitigated.

Other activities are already planned or expected to occur at the same time and place, and filming or photography would be incompatible.

The level of activity within the park is already so high that staff would be unavailable to work with film crew.

The project includes a portrayal of activities that are not permitted within a national park.

The production company is unwilling or unable to obtain necessary insurance.

The production company is unwilling or unable to reimburse the National Park Service for costs or comply with National Park Service bond requirements.


Permit requirement

A permit is required when the filming, videotaping, sound recording or still photography involve the use of talent, professional crews, set dressings, or props; when they involve product or service advertisement; or when the activity could result in damage to park resources or disruption of visitor use. A permit is also required if the photographer wants to film before or after normal visitation hours. If you are uncertain whether your project requires a permit or not, contact the park for additional information. If you already know that your project does not require a permit, you can call the office to check the schedule and avoid conflicts with other activities. Generally, permits are not issued for filming on weekends or holidays.
Short Form (89 Kb PDF)
Long Form (115 Kb PDF)


Frequently there are opportunities for news organizations to focus on park programs, or increase public awareness of park-specific issues. Filming related to these stories must be coordinated and planned in advance. A permit will be issued if it is determined that the park would benefit from the increased public awareness. The National Park Service may assist with your research and/or offer interviews, if staff members are available. Contact park at 206 220 4240 discuss your project.

Still photography

Photography of scenery has traditionally been part of a visit to a national park. Photography does not require a permit if it involves only hand-carried equipment (tripod, interchangeable lenses or flash), and does not involve professional crews, product or service advertisement, or use of models, props or sets.

A still photography permit is required when:

Product or service advertisement is involved; Talent/models, props, crews or sets are involved; The project has the potential to disrupt other park activities or visitors. More than just hand carried equipment is utilized. Project requires access to an area normally closed or restricted to general public use. Access into an area outside of normal public use hours is required. Project carries with a potential risk to park resources. Activity raises safety concerns that can be mitigated through issuance of permit with restrictions.

Prohibited activities

Activities having the potential to significantly impact, alter, or damage park resources are prohibited. The following are also prohibited:

Loud noises (60 decibels or higher) between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.


Smoking in buildings


Use of equipment that inhibits public views of popular scenic vistas

Applicants should read the summary of filming guidelines to facilitate an understanding of the permit process. If site scouting is planned prior to application period, contact National Park Service coordinator for guidance and restriction for specific locations.


You can download the application or request it in person, by phone (206 220 4240), email, or letter. Completed applications must be returned to the park with payment. There is a non-refundable permit cost that must be submitted with your application. The cost is is as follows:(Fee Schedule (100Kb PDF)

$125 projects with minimal oversight and coordination: Commercial videographers, photographers, or cinematographers with crews of up to two people, with no talent or sound and minimal equipment,(i.e. camera and tripod), working in non-wilderness areas, that are open to the public.

$300 projects with greater oversight and coordination (more complexity): Commercial videographers, photographers, or cinematographers with crews of three or more, involving one or more of the following: sound recording, interviews, NPS staff research, props and additional equipment (i.e. monitors, lights, etc). We cannot accept credit cards at this time. Money orders, cash or checks payable to "National Park Service" are accepted.

Your request will be evaluated on the basis of the information in your application. If substantial staff resources are expended in the evaluation of the request, applicant will be billed for the additional costs. Therefore you are encouraged to attach maps, diagrams, script pages, storyboards, vehicle and equipment lists, crew lists, call sheet, itineraries, shot lists, etc. with your application to assist park staff in evaluating your request. Most requests may be processed within 14 days if the application is complete and without alteration. In compliance with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, applicants must submit their social security number or Federal Tax ID number when filling out the application for permit. Park managers will not sign location releases supplied by applicants.

Please submit applications as far in advance as possible. Mail to:

Special Park Uses/Film & Weddings, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, 319 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

Insurance Requirement

Proof of insurance is required and documentation must carry a commercial liability (minimum of $1 million) issued by a U.S. company. Insurance certificate must identify the production company by name and business address. If permittee uses a different name than listed on insurance policy, the relationship between insured company and permittee's company must be identified. The United States Government will be named "additional insured" on the insurance certificate. If further specificity is needed, the U.S. Department of Interior, Klondike Gold Rysh national Historical Park, 319 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, should be used.

Generally the minimum acceptable amount of liability insurance is $1 million each occurrence. High-risk activities or activities which may have the potential for resource impact require higher liability amounts. Smaller, low-risk projects or still photography may be eligible for a reduction to $500,000. Contact our office for details. A request for a permit may be denied if there is no proof of adequate insurance. Personal or homeowners liability is not acceptable. Certificate should be generated by the insurance company. Hand written "certificate holder" information is unacceptable. We will accept a faxed copy of the certificate until your insurance company can mail us the original.


A refundable damage bond, drawn as a separate payment, may be required for those projects that have a high potential for resource. The bond amount is determined by estimating the cost of monitoring and site restoration, should you fail to adequately care for or complete clean up of the site. This amount will be specified in the permit. The permittee is responsible for removal of equipment, props, and trash, and restoration of the site to original condition, or in a condition satisfactory to the National Park Service. If this is not done, all or part of the damage bond will be retained to offset clean-up/recovery expenses. If it is not needed, the bond is released when the on-site National Park Service representative signs off that site restoration is complete and all site use charges have been paid. If a surplus remains after the costs have been reimbursed, the surplus is returned to the permittee. If the bond does not cover all the costs, you will be billed for the difference.

Pre-Film Conference

The permitting process provides the park and the applicant an opportunity to discuss the proposed project and to establish reasonable conditions to protect National Park Service and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park interests. If the impacts of the project can be mitigated to the Superintendent's satisfaction, a project request may be approved, but only using a National Park Service.

After the approval of an application, and before the activity begins, the permittee (including, but not limited to the producer, director, location, and/or production manager), will meet with the Film Coordinator for a pre-film conference. A visit to potential filming sites in the park will usually be made at this time. The Film Coordinator will determine the need to scout each site or alternatively hold a pre-permit conference via telephone or in our field office.

The conference is intended to accomplish the following:</<P>

  • Review the final terms/conditions, scheduling, and any special instructions pertaining to the respective project
  • Complete an on-site visit, if necessary
  • Provide an original certificate of insurance, and if required, a bond
  • Pay estimated costs, if required
  • Sign and obtain a copy of the Special Use Permit
  • By the end of the meeting, the permit coordinator should have enough information to prepare the permit and request approval from Superintendent or designate.


Any activities not specified in the permit will not be allowed. No activities on National Park Service property may begin until the permit has been approved by the park and agreed to by the permittee. All permits include the requirement that the site be cleaned and restored at the end of your use. Permits will not be issued for filming on weekends and holidays. Normal visitor use patterns should not be interrupted for longer than five minutes, and only as specified in the approved permit. Visitors will be allowed to watch filming in public areas.

Audio and lighting restrictions apply to prevent disruption of visitor activities and/or disturb visitors. Large reflectors, silks, camera track, jibs, cranes, generators, large props, crowd scenes, foggers, oversized vehicles are discouraged and are authorized on a case-by-case basis, dependent on location, time of year, time of day, and other mitigating factors.

Remember to include us in your plans for tech scout of the site. That will be the time to further discuss details with those directly involved. A National Park Service representative will indicate the staging areas, scenic vistas, environmentally sensitive areas closed to filming, etc. If you need assistance with site scouting, a ranger can be made available to assist (See "site scouting").


A minimum cancellation fee of $100 per scheduled monitor will be charged to permittee if Film Coordinator is not notified within 48 hours. In addition, you are responsible for all National Park Service costs up to the time of cancellation. If the cancellation is weather related, we will attempt to make accommodations. Administrative costs are mandatory and non-refundable. You can leave a voice mail message with the Office of Special Park Uses (SPU) if you are canceling on a weekday (206 220 4240). On evenings and weekends, leave a message with SPU and the monitor assigned to your project. These costs will be estimated and half of this amount must be paid before filming begins, with the balance to be billed to the filming company. All other costs incurred by the National Park Service for management of filming activity will be recovered. If park personnel is utilized to assist in identifying filming locations, then permittee will be charged for that monitoring or scouting cost. You can leave a voice mail message with the Office of Special Park Uses if you are canceling on a weekday (206 220 4240). On evenings and weekends, leave a message with the monitor assigned to your project.

Denial of Permit

Filming permits may be denied for any of the following reasons:

  • Supervisory requirements--if supervisory requirements for the proposed filming project will place unreasonable burdens on staff capacity, irrespective of the permittee's willingness to pay supervisory costs.
  • Disruption of visitor activities--if the proposed filming would conflict with the visitors' normal use of the Park.
  • Prohibited or restricted activities--permits will not be issued which would allow film-makers to enter areas closed to the general visiting public, or which would allow activities not permitted to the visitor except for cooperative activities as an agent of the National Park Service.


    As noted in permit conditions, non-compliance with any of the permit conditions could result in revocation of the permit. In addition, the permit contains other conditions or factors relating to revocation:Weather or seasonal limitations

    • Visitation levels
    • Fire prevention requirements <>
    • Non-permitted stunts, special effects or equipment use
    • False information (making deliberately false and/or misleading statements in order to obtain a permit


      For filming activities which are perceived to interfere with visitor use or, further congest highly visited areas, or have the potential to impact park resources without proper supervision and care, at least one employee of the National Park Service will be assigned to the film crew. Degree of monitoring is based on crew size, equipment, props, scope of the project, location(s), time of day, and time of year:

      When a project involves substantial numbers of people and equipment, or if it involves a location that is environmentally sensitive or heavily visited, supervision will be on-site and continual.

      A ranger or representative may spot check during the filming to assure compliance when the operations involve only a few people or minimal amounts of equipment, or take place in areas where there is little, if any possibility of resource impact, inconvenience to visitors, or violation of permit conditions.

      The Superintendent may bring in other employees to assist in those instances when the scope of the project exceeds the park's ability to properly manage the activity. The resulting staff costs will be recovered from the permittee.

      Before initiating any location set-ups or dispersal of equipment, a National Park Service representative MUST be on site. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the revocation of the permit.


      Permit Fees and Monitoring

      The National Park Service is required to recover all costs associated with permits for filming and photography. All administrative costs involving permit application and processing are nonrefundable and will be charged to permittee. We may require that charges be paid before work can begin on National Park Service property. Any additional costs will be posted as they occur. Charges must be paid within 14 days of the invoicing.

      Permit Fees

      $125 (see "Permit Application Procedures" above)

      Hourly rate

      $50/hour for two-hour minimum

      4 to 11 hours

      $500/day (flate rate)

      11 hours +

      $500/day (flat rate) plus $50/hour for each hour exceeding first 11 hours


      $100 minimum (see below)

      Since our costs are based on the services we provide, we do not differentiate between profit and nonprofit documentary projects. By law, the National Park Service may not waive recovery of costs for projects that are produced to promote an industry, influence Congressional initiatives, or influence the outcomes of elections.

      >Site Scouting

      If park employees are requested to assist with site scouting, the fee schedule above applies. Please call in advance to schedule a meeting with a site scout if you would like assistance from our staff.

      Location Fees for Motion Pictures and Videos

      1-2 peoplewith camera/tripod only




      11-30 people


      31-49 people


      Over 50 people


      Location Fees for Still Photography

      1-10 people


      11-30 people


      Over 30 people


      Congress has authorized the National Park Service to charge location fees for the use of park lands and facilities for filming purposes. Site use charges will be estimated based on the information you provide in your application.

      Note: Since our costs are based on the services we provide, we do not differentiate between profit and nonprofit documentary projects. By law the National Park Service may not waive recovery of costs for projects that are produced to promote an industry, influence Congressional initiatives, or influence the outcomes of elections.

      Safety considerations

      The permittee is required to adhere to county and state fire safety standards, regulations, and laws. Depending on the nature of a project and the potential hazards associated with it, permittee may be required to have on-site medical, water safety and/or fire personnel

      Restricted activities 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 animal
      • Discharge of blank ammunition and all black powder weapons
      • Stunts
      • Amplified music or sound
      • Construction and/or 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
      • Generator use
      • Foggers

        Special conditions and restrictions will be noted on the permit and we will specify the number of people and the exact types of equipment allowed

        For More Information

        For further assistance or information, please contact the Office of Special Programs at 206 220 4233 or email.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

319 Second Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98104


(206) 220-4240
Between hours of 10:00 am and 4:45 pm PST the phone is answered by the Visitor Center front desk staff. All other times a message can be left for a call back.

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