August 31, 2015
To: All Employees
From: Director /s/ Jonathan B. Jarvis
Subject: Employee and Volunteer Participation in Commercial Filming
Our national parks continue to be popular locations for commercial filming, including feature films, documentaries, television programs, and advertisements. Often the parks themselves are simply the setting for these productions.
Occasionally, superintendents receive requests to interview National Park Service (NPS) employees or volunteers on camera as subject matter experts in a wide range of disciplines or to film employees or volunteers conducting tours, demonstrations or field work. This type of filming may advance NPS goals and individual park missions, and may help convey to the public the stories or messages we are trying to tell. The decision to permit commercial filming of these types of activities remains discretionary, subject to existing policies and regulations after consideration of the potential impact on park resources and the visitor experience. Superintendents must carefully consider requests for NPS employees and volunteers to participate in commercial filming, within the framework of NPS policies, including NPS Management Policies (2006), , : Special Park Uses, and applicable material in . Authorizing on-camera involvement by NPS employees and volunteers in commercial filming requires a very clear understanding and documentation of how our participation would advance NPS goals and individual park missions.
The strategic use of film and photography can be a powerful tool, but it also has the potential to have a considerable negative impact on our agency’s reputation and credibility if not handled well or with forethought; therefore, the NPS will NOT allow or issue permits where NPS employees and volunteers on duty are followed by commercial filming crews for extended periods of time, with the footage edited by the production company for later broadcast. Frequently, this type of filming is labeled “reality TV,” and involves documenting the daily lives of individuals rather than concentrating on the stories or mission of the NPS, the final product being packaged as entertainment.
Managers must also adhere to , dealing with the use of unmanned aircraft in the parks, including their use for commercial filming.
If you have any questions or comments about this Policy Memorandum, please contact the NPS Office of Special Park Uses at 202-513-7092.
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