My email to Ms Dickinson and below that her reply.
N.B. the first line of her reply!
Dear Ms Dickinson
I am quite concerned that the NPS, in considering levying a fee for
photography done within US National Parks, could easily disrupt or deny
Likely and hopefully a fee system would only be for photography done
"for profit and commercial gain" and not for personal use. If, so I can
quite understand a fee or levy and it would be in keeping with various
'location fees' that are in existence around the world. However, a fee
based on a Ranger's estimation of a photographer's intention could be
most unwieldly and unfair and thus lead to conflict.
Within the professional arena, I also believe that there must be a
tiered fee schedule based on potential use. It seems to me that Fine Art
photographers who sell prints or publish books should pay only a nominal
fee whereas commercial for-profit photographers who are commissioned by
large companies to take photographs to be used in advertising or stock
might face a higher fee.
There could be a simple declaration of intent on Park entry that allows
the photographer to shoot for personal and non-profit use free of charge
but which also details a tier of commercial uses with appropriate fees.
This would be preferable to an individual Ranger's guess as to the
photographer's intention based on the apparent level of sophistication
The policy of the NPS in regards to still photographers has not changed.
The decision to require a permit is based on the activity of the
individual, not the eventual use of the image.
Generally a permit is required only if the photographer is using models,
sets, props, or requesting access to an area not open to the general
public. And generally a tripod does not require a permit, though there are
exceptions such as the boardwalk around the geyser basin at Yellowstone or
in many of our historic sites where a tripod would create a trip hazard.
Information about commercial filming and still photography can be found
I hope this information helps. Please feel free to contact me if you have
any additional questions.
Special Park Uses Program Manager
Visitor and Resource Protection
National Park Service