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Author Topic: National Park permit  (Read 2030 times)


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National Park permit
« on: June 16, 2012, 03:40:27 AM »

I was reading an old thread about National Park permits but it is still unclear if I need a permit or not. I am new to this and want to make sure I do things right. My intentions are to visit many National Parks over the next year to build up a landscape portfolio. I will then sell prints. From the thread it looks like I do not need a permit if I am one person with no models or props. Am I missing something.


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Re: National Park permit
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2012, 12:46:42 PM »

I believe you are correct, if you don't require special access or impair the public in any way. However, like most federal agencies, rules are a moving target and how the rules are interpreted by the "enforcement rangers" is in direct proportion to the amount of starch in their uniforms!

The only issues I can remember in years of photographing in the National Parks both happened at Mt. Rushmore, once where the ranger cornered the two of us since he saw dollar signs (permit fees) with our tripods and several years later when the newby ranger made a scene with the tour group hired-camera operator doing a bus load of foreign tourists off to the side with the heads in the background.

Both would have made TJ and the boys roll in their graves!

Otherwise, the informed rangers won't make it an issue. Follow the rules and be kind to other visitors, keep a copy of the rules in your bag (just a few pages of legalese), and have a blast! However, don't use my tripod holes or Ansel's and find a new and unique POV to separate you from the millions of photos of the same on Flikr!
Larry Angier
ASMP, NAPP, ACT, and many more!

Webmaster, RANGE magazine
Editor emeritus, NorCal Quarterly



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Re: National Park permit
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 03:27:15 PM »

You can definitely sell your prints of national parks without a permit.  The distinction is whether your photographic activities impede the enjoyment of other visitors in any way.  At monuments in Washington DC, this sometimes means tripods are off limits because they are an impediment to the dense crowds.  If you come early or late in the day (a good idea anyway) and are polite with the park people, they generally will let you do what you need, including tripod work. 

Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer

I carry an M43 ILC, a couple of good lenses, and a tripod.


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Re: National Park permit
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2012, 11:04:04 PM »

I'm well versed in what is and isn't required of photographers working in the national parks as I've been leading workshops and guiding in them for the last six years.  For what you are doing you DO NOT need a permit.  If you are running any kind of commercial operation within park boundaries, i.e. leading workshops, you do need what's called a "Commercial Use Authorization". 
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