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Pay for passive park use

June 2006 Washington -- Under a new policy that began May 15, the Park Service is requiring a payment of $50 to $250 from groups that hire commercial photographers to take pictures at heavily used monuments, parks and historic sites it oversees. The cost depends on the size of the group.

Officials said the fees are in response to a 2000 federal law that requires various agencies to come up with ways to recoup the costs of maintenance, security and other expenses stemming from commercial filming and photography on federal land.

With hunting and fishing license revenue down because of a cultural move away from consumptive nature activities, new sources of monies to maintain and improve public lands are being explored, such as passive activity fees.

National Park Service

The National Park Service (and some state park services) is not alone in charging fees for photos on federal land.

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management, which has huge landholdings in the western United States, has charged filmmakers and commercial photographers since 2000, though its policy is more relaxed. "If no models or props are used, no permits or fees are required," said Lola Bird, a bureau spokeswoman.

US Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also charges fees, but only in select areas, said Dana Laster, who oversees the permit program for the National Arboretum in Washington.

There soon could be a standard set of fees. A task force is developing a uniform policy for photography on federal land.

National Park Service: www.nps.go

Bureau of Land Management:

US Department of Agriculture: