Filming on Public Lands
Lands within the St. George Field Office contain countless opportunities for photography including wildlife, scenic red rock vistas, desert vegetation, people engaged in outdoor pursuits, and family activities in front of the camcorder. Casual use activities which normally involve noncommercial still photography or recreational videotaping do not require a permit or fees. Casual use means noncommercial activities occurring on an occasional or irregular basis that ordinarily result in little or no impact to public lands, resources, or improvements.
When do I need a film permit? Most professional and amateur photographers are allowed to take still photographs on public lands without a permit or the payment of any fees. Public land visitors and recreational, professional, and amateur photographers do NOT need a permit to take still photographs unless the photography will:
- Use models, sets, or props that are not part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities;
- Take place where members of the public are generally not allowed; or
- Take place at a location where additional administrative costs are likely.
A permit is required for all commercial filming activities on public lands. Commercial filming is defined as the use of motion picture, videotaping, sound recording, or other moving image or audio equipment on public 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, but not including filming directly associated with production of news programs. Creating a product for sale includes a film, videotape, television broadcast, or documentary of participants in commercial sporting or recreational events made for the purpose of generating income.
Commercial photographers and filming companies desiring to film on public lands within the St. George Field Office (most of Washington County, Utah) must contact a St. George Field Office
Realty Specialist. The Realty Specialist will advise potential applicants of whether a permit or fees are required based on the nature of the activity being proposed and the conditions that must be followed. In most cases, issuance of a permit will require the BLM to prepare an environmental report before the permit is signed and to address matters pertaining to project monitoring, bonding, and proof of insurance, depending on the size of the project. Early notification and consultation will help ensure a smooth process and minimize the risk of delays or unexpected disruptions.
For more details on permit requirements, permit forms, and fees go to the national BLM website for Filming on Public Lands