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Pinedale Online > News > February 2012 > Film and news crews capturing Yellowstone may require a permit
Film and news crews capturing Yellowstone may require a permit
by Yellowstone National Park
February 13, 2012

Film and video crews and news reporters wishing to capture the sounds and imagery of Yellowstone this year are reminded to review permitting regulations before setting up their tripods inside the park.

If you’re simply shooting home photos and videos for fun, you need not worry about obtaining a permit. However, federal regulations and National Park Service (NPS) policies do place some restrictions on film and media activities due to concerns over visitor safety and impacts on fragile park resources:

Film and Video Crews: As a general rule, a film permit is required for any individual, business, group, organization or institution that may be paid, reimbursed, or provided any measure of financial or in-kind support for any costs associated with an audio, film, or video produced within Yellowstone National Park. This applies not only to those shooting feature films, but those who capture audio, film or video footage for school projects, documentaries, product demonstrations, Web sites or training films.

News Media: Permits are not usually required for news-gathering organizations. However, news crews larger than two people or those using satellite trucks, production vehicles and some specialized equipment may require a permit due to their potential impact on park visitors and resources.

Photographers: Permits are not required for amateur and professional still photographers taking landscape photos. However, commercial still photographers using models, props, special lighting or specialized equipment may require a permit.

Crews or individuals working under a permit are generally allowed to work only in the same areas accessible to the general public. Travel off boardwalks or off established trails in thermal areas is always prohibited. Out of respect for park visitors, crews are also advised to avoid working during peak visitation times in high-traffic areas.

An application fee as well as costs associated with having one or more uniformed NPS employee monitors on hand during filming may also be required as a condition of a permit.

Park entrance fees are typically waived for media members gathering news inside the park. Journalists should be prepared to present appropriate identification at park entrance stations or any time upon request of a uniformed NPS employee. Anyone traveling through the park for projects outside park boundaries must pay the park entrance fees.

While NPS employees performing their duties in public may be photographed or recorded at any time in-person, any personal interviews must be arranged in advance through the park’s Public Affairs Office at (307) 344-2015 or by email at

Film and news crews are reminded that violation of any park regulation or terms of a permit may result in issuance of a violation notice and/or suspension of privileges granted by a permit.

Additional details are available online at, or by calling the park’s Visitor Services Office at 307-344-2107. It takes at least ten business days to process a request for a film permit. Crews are strongly advised not to make any travel arrangements until a permit is approved.

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