Filming Permit Process

Commercial Filming and Still Photography


For All Questions Regarding Filming & Photography on the Bridger-Teton NF:

Contact the filming permit administrator at:

Phone:  307-739-5585      Email: SM.FS.BTFilmPermit@usda.gov


Obtaining a Commercial Filming or Still Photography Permit

Submit all complete Commercial Filming & Still Photography Proposals to the filming permit administrator at: SM.FS.BTFilmPermit@usda.gov

Advanced Notice: The Bridger-Teton requires proposals be submitted a minimum of 28 days prior to the proposed project start date for non-wilderness or wildlife-related requests.

Proposals must be submitted at least 60 days in advance for all wilderness and wildlife related requests.

A complete proposal includes:

  1. A Request Form filled out with as much detail as possible. Storyboards are also helpful.
  2. A certificate of insurance (COI) for the filming or photography and all activities to occur while filming or photographing on NFS lands. For a copy of USDA, Forest Service insurance requirements click here.
  3. A map of the area in which commercial filming or photography is proposed to occur. *For drone use, please mark the intended flight paths on the map within the requested filming area. 
  4. If requesting drone use:
    1. Copy of the Drone Operator’s License (front & back)
    2. Copy of the Drone Registration
  5. Written permission from other entities affected by, or involved in, the commercial filming or photography activity. This includes, but is not limited to, Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) for filming within road right-of-ways, ski resorts on National Forest System lands, recreation resorts on National Forest System lands, etc.

If it is a more complex request, this may very likely take more time to review.  Therefore, in order to meet your proposed timeline, please make an initial contact much further in advance than 4 weeks.  

If the proposed activities are incompatible with the area or Forest policy an explanation will be given why the proposal is unacceptable and possible alternatives will be discussed.

Land use fees and processing fees apply to special use permits for commercial filming and still photography. See below or contact the filming permit administrator for more information.


When Do I Need a Filming or Photography Permit?

All commercial filming and still photography on National Forest System lands require a special use permit. As per Public law 106-206 (100 KB) and Forest Service Handbook 2709.11 Chapter 40, commercial filming and still photography are defined as follows:

Commercial Filming:

The use of motion picture, videotaping, sound recording, other moving image or audio recording equipment on National Forest System lands that

  • involves the advertisement of a product or service,
  • the creation of a product for sale, or
  • the use of actors, models, sets or props for the purpose of creating a product for sale,
  • but not activities associated with breaking news.

Creation of a product for sale includes but is not limited to:

  • A film,
  • videotape,
  • television broadcast or
  • documentary of historic events, wildlife, natural events, features, subjects or participants in a sporting or recreation event and so forth,
  • when created for the purpose of generating income.

 

Still Photography:

The use of photographic equipment to capture still images on film, digital format, and other similar technologies on NFS lands that:

• Use models, sets or props* that are not part of the site's natural or cultural resource or administrative facilities.

• Take place where members of the public are not generally allowed. An example would be an area closed to the public to protect winter range for wildlife.

• Take place at a location where additional administrative costs are likely. An example would be sites that are so popular with photographers the Forest Service is required to regulate use.

*Models, Sets, Props, and Actors:

  • Model is defined as:  An individual who poses for the commercial filming or still photography of a product or service for the purpose of promoting its sale or use. A model may also include inanimate objects, such as vehicles, boats, off-highway vehicles, articles of clothing, food and beverage products, and so forth, placed on NFS lands so that they may be filmed, photographed, or recorded to promote their sale or use.
  • Sets and Props are defined as:  Items constructed or placed on NFS lands to accommodate commercial filming or still photography, such as backdrops, generators, microphones, stages, lighting banks, camera tracks, vehicles specifically designed to accommodate camera or recording equipment, rope and pulley systems, rigging for climbers, and structures.  Sets and props also include trained animals and inanimate objects, such as camping equipment, campfires, wagons, and so forth, when used to stage a specific scene.  A set or prop does not include any of the preceding items when they are used to report breaking news, nor does a prop include a hand-held camera or a camera mounted on a tripod.
  • Actor is defined as: An individual who either:
    • Portrays a character or himself/herself in the reenactment of an event or incident, or
    • Narrates a storyline for commercial filming purposes. 

Commercial or still photography will not be permitted if the Forest Service determines that any of the following criteria apply:

  • There is a likelihood of resource damage that cannot be mitigated.
  • There would be an unreasonable disruption of the public's use and enjoyment of the site (beyond short term interruption).
  • The activity poses health or safety risks to the public that cannot be mitigated
  • The activity proposed is not in line with Forest Service Regulation, Policy or Management Plans for the proposed area.

When Do I Not Need a Filming or Photography Permit?

Personal Use:

If you are shooting still photographs or ‘home movies' for personal use (i.e. that does not involve advertisement of a product or service, the creation of a product for sale, etc.) then a special use permit most likely would not be required. However, if there is the intent to sell this footage in the future or to use it to promote an event or a sponsor’s products, a special use permit would be required.

Breaking News:

Breaking news is an event or incident that arises suddenly, evolves quickly, and rapidly ceases to be newsworthy. A special use permit is not required for activities involving breaking news. Examples of breaking news are:

• A plane crash in the forest

• Stories on resource issues, such as road damage from vehicle use due to high levels of spring run-off, illegal trespasses into winter range closure areas, and visitor reactions to the opening of a new trailhead

• A search and rescue

Commercial Still Photography of Natural Setting

Please contact the filming permit administrator regarding commercial photography of wildlife and/or the natural landscape to determine if a permit is required.


Fees & Authorization

Fees:

There are two separate fees required for all commercial filming and still photography proposals:

  1. Land use fee: for use and occupancy of National Forest System lands. This is based on the # of people involved, # of days, and type of filming (still photography or motion filming)

    For Still Photography
    1-10 Persons          $50/day
    11-30 persons      $150/day
    30+ persons         $250/day

    For Commercial Filming
    1-10 persons         $150/day
    11-30 persons       $200/day
    31-60 persons       $500/day
    60+ persons          $600/day
     
  2. Cost recovery fee: The cost recovery fee covers the cost to process applications and is based on the amount of time it takes the Forest Service to evaluate the proposal and create a permit and operating plan.  Cost recovery fees may also include a monitoring fee depending upon the complexity of the proposal.  
  3. All fees are due prior to issuance of a permit.  Payment may be made online, sent to our bank with a cashier's check or money order, or may be paid at most Forest Service offices. Instructions for fee payment is included on the bill for collection.
  4. In addition, for more complex projects a cost recovery monitoring fee may be assessed.  This fee is to cover the cost of a Forest Service employee to monitor the project to ensure compliance with the special use authorization.

 



For More Information

Contact the filming permit administrator at the Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor's Office for more information about still photography and commercial filming permits:  

Phone:  307-739-5585

Email: SM.FS.BTFilmPermit@usda.gov

Bridger-Teton National Forest

Supervisor's Office

340 N. Cache/ PO BOX 1888
Jackson, WY 83001