Commercial Filming and Photography

Redwood National and State Park is frequently (and understandably!) sought after by filmmakers and photographers for use in a variety of commercial productions. Indeed, you've probably seen the parks featured in television programs, movies, and print publications: you may recognize a grove of old-growth coast redwoods or a stretch of scenic coastline as a backdrop for actors and models. The National Park Service (NPS) and California Department of Park and Recreation (CDPR) permit commercial filming and photography within Redwood National and State Parks to the fullest extent possible, consistent with the protection of the park resources and visitor enjoyment.


Who Needs a Permit?
Generally, a permit is not required for:

  • Visitors using cameras and/or recording devices for their own personal use.
  • Sound technicians, and film or video news crews at breaking news events. In these cases, the superintendent will still be required to protect park resources and the rights and safety of park visitors. News media wishing access for entertainment or scheduled purposes may require a permit.
  • NPS or CDPR filming or photography, Department of the Interior Audiovisual Center filming, or filming/photography done pursuant to a cooperative agreement or contract.

A Commercial Filming/Still Photography Permit is required for:

  • Commercial filming of motion pictures or television involving the use of professional casts, settings or crews, other than bona fide newsreel or news television.
  • Still photography of vehicles, or other articles of commerce or models for the purpose of commercial advertising.


With the exception of location fees (charged for filming on NPS lands-see below), the following regulations apply to film permits for commercial activities on both state and national park lands in Redwood National and State Parks.

Still Photography
Still photography requires a permit only when one of the following is in place. In general, parks waive the requirement for a permit for a single person/photographer but require it for two or more people involved in a production.

  • The activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
  • The activity used model(s), set(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location's natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or
  • The park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity; or
  • The park desires to provide management and oversight.

All commercial filming requires a permit. Commercial filming is defined as digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project. It does not include news coverage or visitor use.

In Redwood National and State Parks, permits are issued under the following standards:

  • Small Operation ($225): An event involving a single operator, single camera, no models, products or equipment.
  • Moderate Operation ($700): An event involving multiple operators, cameras, or additional equipment, models, or products.
  • Large Operation ($1,353): A major motion picture production.

Location Fee Schedule
All commercial filming permits and still photography permits are subject to cost recovery and a location fee on NPS lands. No waivers are allowed. The location fee is calculated per day, and must be based on the following schedule and is determined by the type of activity (commercial filming versus still photography) and the number of people on park lands associated with the permitted activity. There is no deviation from the schedule.

  • Still Photography:
    1-10 people.....$50/day
    11-30 people.....$150/day
    over 30 people....$250/day
  • Motion Pictures/Video:
    1-2 people, camera and tripod only.....$0/day
    1-10 people.....$150/day
    11-30 people.....$250/day
    31-49 people.....$500/day
    over 50 people.....$750/day

A monitor is required by state parks for any commercial filming/photography on state park (CDPR) lands. A minimum of 4 hours per event is charged. A monitor may be required by the National Park Service for commercial filming/photography on NPS land. The rate for a monitor is $80/hour. Off-duty park rangers are used as monitors and there is a reasonable chance a ranger may not be available on days requested, especially on weekends, or during the summer. A minimum of 14 days is suggested for requesting a monitor.

How To Apply
Click here to download the short form Application for Commercial Filming/Still Photography Permit (PDF, 32 KB). Supply the information requested and return to:

Redwood National and State Parks
1111 Second Street
Crescent City, CA 95531

Please allow at least four (4) business days for processing. A non-refundable processing fee should accompany this application unless the requested use is an exercise of a First Amendment right. You will be notified of the disposition of the application and necessary steps to secure your final permit. Your permit may require the payment of cost recovery charges, a location fee, and proof of liability naming United States of America as also insured.

For more information, please contact the Special Park Use Coordinator at 707-465-7307.

Last updated: November 21, 2017

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1111 Second Street
Crescent City , CA 95531


707 464-6101

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