National Park Service Announces Implementation of Location Fees

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by roteague, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. roteague

    roteague Member

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    National Park Service Announces Implementation of Location Fees for Commercial Filming and Still Photography

    WASHINGTON, D.C. National Park Service (NPS) Director Fran Mainella announced today the NPS is implementing, at the direction of Congress, a Public Law that will allow collection of location fees for commercial filming and still photography starting on May 15, 2006.

    Public lands were set aside in order to conserve and protect areas of untold beauty and grandeur, historical significance and uniqueness for future generations, said Mainella. Often, it's the magnificence of these same lands that attracts filmmakers. This revised regulation will allow the Park Service to collect reasonable fees for use of federal lands as a result of both commercial filming and certain still photography activities. It's a positive step forward and a good balance to help ensure these national treasures are enjoyed and cared for in the proper manner.

    A recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report recommended the NPS expedite the implementation of the revised regulation and the collection of location fees. The final rule removes the portion of the existing regulation that prohibits the NPS from collecting fees for filming. The revised regulation will give the NPS the authority to establish a fee system earning the government a fair return on the use of the land for commercial filming and certain still photography activities on federal lands. The law still directs the NPS to recover costs associated with this service and continues to require filming permittees to conduct their activities in ways that minimize or eliminate disruptions to visitors. For the present time, the NPS will utilize a current Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Fee Schedule. A memo will be sent to the field issuing guidance on proper procedures for collecting location fees for commercial filming and still photography, cost recovery and the disposition of money collected.

    http://www.nps.gov/applications/release/Detail.cfm?ID=643
     
  2. lee

    lee Member

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    I believe that this is only appying to Commercial shoots. This has been discussed on the largeformat forum.

    lee\c
     
  3. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Almost two years ago I paid the fee out of my own pocket for Per's Zion gathering. It is not new, but has been given more teeth. This is in regards to commercial enterprises such as movies, commercials, and workshops/gatherings where it is organized for the express purpose of photography. I paid $200 at the time. If it had been spread out over everyone who attended it would have been less than $10 each.

    Given that congress has slashed a lot of the budget for maintaing the parks, it is no surprise that the parks are trying to find ways to replace those funds they desperately need.
     
  4. photobum

    photobum Member

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    Glad to see that they are using the BLM rules. Here's why:
    www.blm.gov/nhp/what/commercial/filming/permit.html
    I have a printed copy of the still photography section highlighted in bright yellow. That's in case a part-time summer want-a-be trys to tell me that a tripod means a permit.

    Where you say "still photography" it only means if using; "models, sets or props that are not part of the site's natural or cultural resorces or administrative facilities."

    If your making a film or ad bill the client.
     
  5. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    The rules are irrelevant in this political climate.

    If you don't believe me, try setting up a tripod at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC. or at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. Five'll getcha ten that the gun toting goon who runs you off doesn't even know what BLM stands for, much less what their photography rules are.
     
  6. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    Ironically the BLM has no 'standard' rules for commercial use, much less for photography.

    I have gotten permits from various BLM offices for doing commercial activities all over S. Utah, and NONE of them run by the same rules. Some want to audit books, some want an 'honest' assesment from me to tell them how much I owe them. Most run on a standard %-age of the gross to determine how much to charge per user-day on their land. Gets really mushy and grey when I am going from National Forest to BLM to National Recreation Area land in one day.

    Gets REALLY grey when I tell the people issuing permits that I have no idea how the images will be used. They 'could' potentially be used for all kinds of commercial activities, but for right now at the actual time of the picture taking they are usually on spec or for stock. I challenge any governmental entity to predict the future as to how one picture will sell in the future and one picture won't.

    The fee system is a good idea, the park service is in dire need of funds, but IMO they could raise each entry permit a few more bucks and issue a few more tickets for parking where you're not supposed to and blocking traffic (in Yellowstone for example), and a few more tickets for idiots who are out petting buffalo than start splitting hairs and trying to figure out which activities are commercial and which aren't.

    Granted, the line is very clear when you have lighting equipment, props, models, etc...then it's a no brainer. Charge them a ton and make them pass the cost through. I have no problem with that.

    When I have to start paying fees to use my 'public' lands for non-commercial activitires, then they aren't so public anymore.
     
  7. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Actually they ARE raising entrance fee's to many national parks this year...

    Here is the press release for Yellowstone and Grand Teton:

    http://www.nps.gov/yell/press/0622.htm

    Glacier National Parks entrance fee goes to $25 on Monday May 1st as well.

    When in Yellowstone last June, I saw many more citations being issued that I have ever seen in the last 15 years, we were shooting coyote pups at the childrens fire trail last year and a ranger showed up and issued over 25 tickets to people who were parked off pavement, it was quite a specticle...

    Dave
     
  8. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Makes those one year passes to all parks that cost $50 sound very attractive.
     
  9. photobum

    photobum Member

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    c6h6o3,
    That's apples and oranges. Washington DC has had a tripod by permit law for well over forty years. I was being chased off by the park police in 1966. It has nothing to do with 9-11 or political climate. The BLM rules have nothing to do with DC metro and park police. Those so called goons are enforcing a law that they had nothing to do with but is in affect in their jurisdiction. You could always get the permit or petition the government.
     
  10. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I generally avoid US National Parks these days, with one or two exceptions (Hawaii Volcanoes being one). They are just too crowded, with a mindset of control that makes me uncomfortable - I go to parks for solitude, not to get harassed by Park Rangers.
     
  11. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    It's a sad outcome of the improvements to the National Parks that they attract so many more people than they can handle.

    The first time I ever went to Grandview Point in Canyonlands, I drove a ruler-straight, one-lane dirt road and it was just me and the gnats when I got there. The next time I went, I was greeted with a curved and banked paved highway with a good deal of traffic and crowds everywhere.

    Despite the fact that the parks are always in need of funds, I enjoyed going to them more back during the Reagan administration when everyone complained about the lack of services and funding. At least I didn't have to sit in a four-lane traffic jam to get into the south rim of the Grand Canyon like the last time I was there.

    I'm not a Disney World person.
     
  12. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    The Park Police are actually a lot more enlightened than the rent-a-cops at the Arboretum, which is managed by the Department of Agriculture. They at least asked me what I do with the pictures. They didn't like my answer, but they let me keep working unmolested.

    BTW, it has everything to do with the political climate, at least around here. Rules don't matter any more. The "I'm the decider" mentality has permeated every level of the government and its contractors. I see it every day all over the government.
     
  13. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    Shenandoah Ntl Park is no exception to this. They raised the entrance fee from $10 to $15 and last year the yearly park pass went from $20 to $30.
     
  14. nc5p

    nc5p Member

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    I shot in Carlsbad Caverns with a Mamiya and tripod in early March with no problems. The rangers were very pleasant and never asked if I was going to sell the prints. I was approached by visitors wanting to purchase photos because their d*g*t*l cameras weren't getting good shots.

    Doug
     
  15. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    Good. Raise them more. Two things all natinal parks could use less of are potholes and visitors.

    I avoid Ntl. Parks like the plague (when I can).

    I've driven past the entrance to Arches at least 60 times in the past 12 years and haven't gone in once.
     
  16. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    If there really is such a law, how would you go about getting a permit? I did a search of the DC code, and apparently, the word 'tripod' does not appear anywhere in the code. The only reference I could find to photography had to do with use of cameras in DC courtrooms. Then again, I am not an expert at legal searches, perhaps I missed something?

    Bob
     
  17. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you visit Arches in the middle of the week in the late fall, winter, or early spring, you will be nearly alone. If you're not, a short drive or hike will make that so. There is alot of stuff in Arches worth seeing, IMHO.
     
  18. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    The tripod law in DC might be listed under federal, not DC. When I was in college (several years ago), I went to DC while looking at grad schools. My uncle warned me that I couldn't use a tripod near "the Mall" or any of the monuments. It actually has to do with safety and someone tripping over the legs and also with mistaking one for a weapon. Same rule in Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
    In law enforcement overall, there's more of a sense of "I can't let something happen on my watch." They'd rather err on the side of overcaution than potentially let someone get away with something. Are they right to do it? Maybe, maybe not. But it's absolutely impossible for all the assorted federal, state, and local law enforcement and security guards to strike the right balance that will make everyone happy. The political climate in Massachusetts is a little different from places like TX, but I bet the law enforcement reacts similarly to someone with a tripod at a bridge.
     
  19. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    DC code is not applicable. It's National Park Service regulations that govern most of the monuments around here. Or, as I mentioned, in the case of certain facilities such as the National Arboretum or the National Forests, the Department of Agriculture regulates. Each location seems to have their own fee schedule and set of rules.

    The rent-a-cops at the Arboretum, as well as the clone at the information desk who will hand you the rules permitting non-commercial photography will both then tell you that the tripod you are carrying requires a permit. The permit fee is $500/day. No amount of cajoling on your part will penetrate the thick skull plate of these creatures to whom 2+2=4 and tripod=commercial photographer.
     
  20. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    I have to agree. Also early spring may be a good time to visit Arches unless things have changed since I was there last. Arches is a beautiful pocket sized NP that affords the opportunity of driving and also hiking into some relatively remote areas.

    Rich
     
  21. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    When I was in DC a few years ago, I had no trouble using my camera on a tripod. I tramped all over the monuments and places near them. I didn't make it to the arboretum though. The funniest was when I was on the wide stretch of lawn in front of the white house. I even asked the guards there if it was alright to take a picture, just to be sure. One came over and held my bag for me. Either I'm more intimidating than I think, or I'm so non threatening ( those that know me don't laugh) as to be ignored.

    If I had trouble I could have had my son in law step in, he worked for the state dept. at the time. He never had to come to my rescue.
     
  22. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    That would be Lafayette Park, which is now fortified beyond comprehension. It contains more Jersey walls than trees.