Filming at North Cascades National Park
On January 22, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Price v. Barr determining the permit and fee requirements applying to commercial filming under 54 USC 100905, 43 CFR Part 5, and 36 CFR Part 5.5 are unconstitutional. In response to the decision, the National Park Service issued interim guidance on February 22, 2021, to manage filming activities. Under the interim guidance, filming activities may require a permit if they would impact park resources or the visitor experience.
"Low-impact filming" is defined as outdoor filming activities in areas open to the public, except areas managed as wilderness, involving five people or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras. Those participating in low-impact filming activities do not need a permit and are not required to contact the park in advance. If low-impact filmers have questions about areas where they want to film, they should contact the park directly.
Filming activities that do not meet the description of low-impact filming require at least ten days advance notice to the park by email or telephone at 360-854-7213. Based on the information provided, a permit may be required to:
It may take the park additional time to review and issue a permit for filming. Consider submitting your request at least 30 days in advance of the proposed activity.
Filming in Wilderness Areas
North Cascades National Park is comprised of 94% Wilderness. Wilderness Areas have additional laws and policies to preserve their wilderness character for future generations. Filming activities in wilderness areas must follow all applicable laws and regulations that govern wilderness areas in the park, including prohibitions on structures, installations, motor vehicles, mechanical transport, motorized equipment, motorboats, or landing of aircrafts.
Under the interim guidance issued on January 22, 2021, the National Park Service is not collecting application or location fees, or cost recovery for filming activities. A permit may still be required for specific activities occurring in Wilderness; however, no fees will be collected for issuance of the permit.
Price v. Barr had no impact on how the National Park Service regulates still photography, so there are no changes in how this activity is regulated.
Activities having the potential to significantly impact, alter, or damage park resources are prohibited and include:
How do I apply for a Still Photography permit?
Email to request an application. Submit a completed application with the application fee at least 30 day prior to your planned Still Photography event. Early consultation with park staff will help process the submitted application in a timely manner.
Still Photography Fees
The National Park Service will collect a cost recovery charge and a location fee for still photography permits. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in processing your request and monitoring your permit. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of your permit.
Payment of fees can be made online at pay.gov (preferred method of payment), or by check. Pay.gov has credit card, debit and other EFT payment options. Payments made by money order or checks should be made payable to "National Park Service." Fees are based on the services provided by the NPS; we do not differentiate between profit and non-profit documentary projects.
Last updated: March 1, 2021