Filming and Photography Permits – National Parks

In my last post I discussed the importance of being knowledgeable about filming and photography permits for State Parks. But let’s not forget about all of the beautiful National Parks we have in Washington!

225px-national-park-serviceThe State of Washington is home to 3 national parks, 7 national forests, 2 national historic parks, 20 national wildlife refuges, and 3 national recreation areas. 16 U.S Code Chapter 1 encompasses law for national parks, military parks, monuments, and seashores and it is the policy of the National Park Service to allow filming and photography when and where possible, while adhering to the mandate below:

“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 wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Filming and photography permits are generally required as outlined below:

  • 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.
  • Commercial still photography involving product or service advertisement; or the use of models, sets, props; or when there is a potential for resource damage or disruption of visitor activity.

Generally, permits are not required for:

  • Visitors using camera and/or recording devices for their own personal use.
  • Still photography involving one or two people, no props, sets, or special effects.
  • Sound technicians, and film or video crews at breaking news events.
  • National Park Service filming or photography, Department of the Interior Audiovisual Center filming or filming/photography done pursuant to cooperative agreement or contract.

For national parks, the below schedule has been provided:


Restrictions may vary depending on where you are visiting and it is important to contact the area prior to visiting. Often times advanced notice is required and additional fees may be charged for short notice. As always, check online or contact the pertinent area to get the most updated requirements, fees, and information regarding your planned visit.

Share your national park experiences below!


National Park Service


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