Filming and Photography

GENERAL INFORMATION

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. Aesthetic values such as scenic vistas, natural quiet and dark night skies, are resources that we value. The National Park Service is also sensitive to the environments around our park sites. There are restrictions associated with group size, the use of commercial vehicles, generators, artificial lighting, commercial film equipment, props, sets and audio devices. Commercial vehicles must be in compliance with all federal and state laws and local ordinances. inclement weather imposes road restrictions and limited access, in addition to tire chain controls in specific park areas.

Applications MUST be submitted NO LESS THAN 30 days prior to the requested filming activity date. Applications received later than that will not be approved. Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics, visitor activities, or special projects may require additional time to process.

Restrictions

The National Park Service cannot accommodate a project if:

1. Damage to natural, cultural, wilderness, and recreational resources is expected, which cannot be mitigated.
2. Other activities are already planned or expected to occur at the same time and place, and filming or photography would be incompatible.
3. The activity involves access to areas normally closed for reasons of resource protection or safety.
4. The level of activity within the park is already so high that staff would be unavailable to work with film crew.
5. The project includes a portrayal of activities that are not permitted within a national park.
6. The production company is unwilling or unable to obtain necessary insurance, or is unwilling or unable to reimburse the National Park Service for costs or comply with the National Park Service bond requirements.

Film Permit Requirements

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 in areas not open to the public, or before or after normal visitation hours. If you are uncertain whether your project requires a permit or not, contact the park for additional information.

Media - Breaking News

Breaking news is an event that cannot be covered at any other time or at any other location. Filming of breaking news does not involve advertising, sets, props, or models. Coverage of breaking news does not require a permit, but film crews may not disrupt park visitors, damage park resources, or compromise public health and safety regulations.

Other Media

There may be 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.

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

Activities having the potential to significantly impact, alter, or damage park resources are prohibited and include:
1. Altering, damaging, or removing vegetation for filming projects.
2. Vehicle use off established roads and parking areas.
3. Use of insecticides--herbicides and pesticides
4. Loud noises (60 decibels or higher) between 10 pm and 6 am.
5. Anything involving public nudity.
6. Night filming with artificial lighting
7. Smoking in buildings, on boardwalks, or in vegetated areas.
8. Harassment of wildlife or introduction of wildlife captured elsewhere.
9. Pyrotechnics
10. Commercial filming in wilderness areas
11. Use of equipment that inhibits public views of popular scenic vistas.
12. Digging, scraping, chiseling, or defacing natural features for filming purposes.

 

Permit Application Procedures

Email to request application or request it in person or by phone at 360-854-7213. Completed applications must be returned to the park with payment for the required non-refundable permit cost. Payment 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.

Congress has authorized the National Park Service to charge location fees for the use of park lands and facilities for filming purposes. Costs/Fees are as follows:

TABLE A: Filming Permit Location Fee Schedule

COMMERCIAL FILMING/VIDEOs

STILL PHOTOGRAPHY

1-2 people (camera and tripod only)

$0

3-10 people

$150 / day

3-10 people

$ 50 /day

11-30 people

$250 / day

11-30 people

$150 / day

31-49 people

$500 / day

Over 30 people

$250 / day

Over 50 people

$750 / day

NOTE: In addition to the Location Fees noted above, further Administration and Monitor fee may also apply.

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 attache 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.

 

OTHER REQUIREMENTS AND CONSIDERATIONS:

1. Applications MUST be submitted NO LESS THAN 30 days prior to the requested filming activity date. Applications received later than that will not be approved. Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics, visitor activities, or special projects may require additional time to process.
2. 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 applicant for permit.
3. A pre-filming meeting may be required prior to project initiation. This meeting allows the NPS and production company to discuss and establish reasonable conditions to protect the interests of North Cascades National Park Service Complex. This meeting would occur after the approval of the application and before the activity is to begin.
4. INSURANCE: Proof of insurance is required and documentation must carry a commercial liability (minimum of $1 million) issued by a US 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 of America will be named "additional insured" on the insurance certificate. The address should also include, National Park Service, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro Wooley, WA, 98284
a. 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.
b. 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.
5. CANCELLATIONS: Cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance of the event. If the cancellation is weather related we will attempt to make accommodations. Administrative costs are mandatory and non-refundable.
6. MONITORING: 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.

Additional Conditions may be described and enforced on the Filming Permit document, based on the individual scope and complexity of each filming project.

Last updated: January 18, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

Phone:

(360) 854-7200

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