Special Use Permits for Filming on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests

The following information is provided so that individuals and production companies wishing to conduct filming or still photography activities on National Forest System lands located in the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests will better understand Forest Service requirements for obtaining authorization, thus minimizing the time needed for approval. It is hoped that this information will assist and successfully guide you through the process of obtaining an authorization to utilize National Forest System (NFS) lands for your filming needs.

The Forest Service recognizes that the public and/or natural resources may benefit from commercial filming on National Forest System lands, provided that land and resource values are protected. As with other uses of NFS land, commercial filming and still photography require prior authorization by the Forest Service. Generally, authorization is granted in the form of a Special Use Permit issued by the Forest Service.

Click here for a step-by-step guide to applying for a special use permit.

When Do I Need a Film Permit?

Still Photography

A permit for still photography is required for activities on National Forest System lands, in situations that:

  • Promote or advertise a product or service using actors, models, sets, or props that are not part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities, or create an image for commercial sale by using sets or props.

 A permit may be required for still photography activities not involving actors, models, sets, or props when:

  • They take place in areas where the general public is not allowed, or in situations in which the Forest Service would incur additional administrative costs to either permit or monitor the activity.

 Filming: Motion Pictures, Television Locations, Commercial Videos

A special use permit is required for all Motion Pictures, Feature Films, Television Locations, and Commercial Videos and Documentaries that use actors, models, sets or props and etc.

Permits are not required for filming activities, such as:

  • News, and gathering of news related stories, and other types of documentaries not requiring the use of actors, models, sets, or props when filmed outside of Wilderness Areas.  

A filming project or commercial still photography proposal or application can be denied when:

  • There is a likelihood of unacceptable resource damage; there would be unreasonable disruption of the public use and enjoyment of the area impacted; or when the activity poses health or safety risks to the public

In these situations the Forest Service will help to identify alternative locations or ways to modify the proposed activities in order to mitigate the reason(s) for denying the application.

Review our special use permit application and step by step guide here.

For more information about filming on National Forest lands, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/specialuses/special_film.shtml OR
contact one of our local offices.