U.S. Forest Service May Require Photographers to Purchase $1,500 Permits

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A99 Aquarium photos and landscapes edited (1 of 15)ISO 400

Looking to taking pictures on federal wild lands? You may need to get a permit soon. In fact, according to the Washington Post, the U.S. Forest Service is saying that photographers (even those with just cell phones) want to photograph the lands that they need to purchase a $1,500 permit. This goes for both filming and still photography. There initially were problems with drones–which we totally understand. But this seems a bit ludicrous.

The measure comes specifically from the Proposed Directive for Commercial Filming in Wilderness; Special Uses Administration.  The summary of which states:

The Forest Service proposes to incorporate interim directive (ID) 2709.11-2013.1 into Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 2709.11, chapter 40 to make permanent guidance for the evaluation of proposals for still photography and commercial filming on National Forest System Lands. The proposed amendment would address the establishment of consistent national criteria to evaluate requests for special use permits on National Forest System (NFS) lands. Specifically, this policy provides the criteria used to evaluate request for special use permits related to still photography and commercial filming in congressionally designated wilderness areas. Public comment is invited and will be considered in the development of the final directive.”

At that same page, the Feds are also accepting comments from the public; but they must be received by November 3rd.

Getting permits for filming isn’t usually terribly hard to do and when you do this, you often need to describe exactly what you’re doing, how much space you’ll be taking up, etc. But from what this seems like, a $1,500 permit may allow you to photograph all across the designated forest area. If it indeed isn’t that, then it seems preposterous.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.