Commercial Filming and Photography Permits


"The service…shall promote and regulate the use of…national parks…[its] purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." (16 U.S.C. 1)

It is the policy of the National Park Service to allow filming and photography consistent with protection and public enjoyment of park resources. Therefore, the primary consideration in the evaluation of permit requests at the Flagstaff Area Monuments is the potential for resource damage and the disruption of normal public use and values. Aesthetic values such as scenic vistas, natural sound-scapes and dark night skies are resources that we and the public value.



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.
Under P.L. 106-206 all commercial filming requires a permit and is subject to a location fee and cost recovery charges.

Permits are NOT generally required for:

  • Visitors engaged in filming/photography intended for their personal use and enjoyment.
  • Visitors engaged in filming/photography in an area open to the public.
  • The filming of breaking news (an event that cannot be covered at any other time or location) by news crews.
  • Filming that is conducted pursuant to a cooperative agreement or contract with the National Park Service.

A request for a permit may be denied if:

  • There is potential that resource damage or impairment of their value would occur that cannot be mitigated or restored.
  • There is potential of unreasonable disruption of/or conflict with the public's use and enjoyment of the site.
  • There is likelihood that the activity poses health or safety risks to the public or crew.
  • The requested activity will violate any other Federal, State, or local laws or regulations.
  • It involves access to areas normally closed or limited to administrative use for resource or safety reasons.
  • The project includes a portrayal of activities that are not permitted within a national park.
  • Monitoring and preparation requirements place an unreasonable burden on park staff.
  • The production crew is unwilling or unable to provide proof of insurance or reimburse the NPS for costs.


The National Park Service is required by law to recover all costs for special use permits. All costs incurred by the NPS in conjunction with the permitted filming activity will be reimbursed by the permittee. A cost estimate can be calculated and provided once the Special Use Coordinator has received all applicable information.

Non-refundable Application Fee – $100.00
This non-refundable fee must accompany any commercial filming or photography application. This fee is based on an average time it takes to provide initial contact and consultation with permittee and initial review an application.

Administrative Fee – $80.00
If an application request is approved, this fee covers the costs associated with issuing a permit, including the average time it takes for permit preparation, consultations with the permittee, managerial consultations and billing.

Hourly Monitoring Fee
A $45 per hour, per ranger rate applies to all permitted activities for monitoring.All activities authorized by permit require continuous, on-site supervision by the National Park Service to assure full compliance with the conditions of the permit. The scope and complexity of the activity will determine the level and type of supervision. A minimum of 2 hours monitoring ($90) is applied to every permit upon issuance.

All interviews of park personnel will be assessed at the hourly rate. This will not apply to pre-approved filming or photographing of NPS staff members performing their regularly scheduled work activities.

Location Fees
Beginning May 15, 2006, the NPS charges location fees for filming. Public Law 106-206, codified at 16 U.S.C. 460l-6d, instructs the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to "establish a reasonable fee for commercial filming activities or similar projects on Federal Lands…"

The location fee is in addition to cost recovery charges that are currently being collected.

Number of People Motion Picture and Video Commercial Still Photography
1 to 2 (camera & tripod only) $0 $0
3 to 10 $150 / day $50 / day
11 to 30 $250 / day $150 / day
31 to 49 $500 / day $250 / day
Over 50 $750 / day $250 / day

General liability insurance must be carried by the permittee naming the United States Government as an additional insured. Short-term policies must show coverage on an "occurrence" basis. Required commercial general liability for video or film productions is generally one million dollars ($1,000,000), but will vary according to project scope, risk to park resources and other relevant circumstances. All insurance certificates must be issued by an insurance company operation in the United States. Must receive the original insurance certificate no later than one week before the scheduled activity.

Performance Bonds
Permitted filming activities may require the permittee to post a performance bond. The purpose of the bond is to insure that the resource is left in as good condition as it was prior to the filming, and to cover restoration costs (if needed). The amount of the bond will be determined according to the scope and potential for damage by the activity. At the conclusion of the permit, the bond will be returned to the permittee after final billing costs and costs of necessary clean up;repair or rehabilitation is deducted. The performance bond can be in the form of a money order or cashiers check.

Sharing the Park
A filming or photography permit does not give exclusive rights to the permittee or allow the permittee to restrict visitors from any location. Normal visitor use patterns will not be interrupted for longer than five minutes, and only as specified in the approved permit. Visitors will be able to observe filming activity.


How to Apply

Fill out the special event application and mail it (along with a check or money order made out to
National Park Service) to the address below. Credit card payments may be arranged by calling 928-526-0502 ext 222.

ATTN: Special Use Permits Coordinator
Flagstaff Area National Monuments
6400 N. U.S. Highway 89
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Most applications require a minimum of 14 days to fully process.

Last updated: May 1, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

6400 U.S. 89
Flagstaff, AZ 86004


9286792365 or 9288561705

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