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Old March 15th, 2008, 12:56 PM   #16
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I would gladly pay $200 a year to film on Dept. of Interior managed lands (NPS, BOR, BLM, F&W) if the permit applied to all lands and not just specific locations. Unfortunately for me the USFS is the big land manager here and is under the Dept. of Agriculture with a seperate and just as confusing permit program. Kevin, if you have a draft letter to your Congressman or Dept. of Interior please PM me a copy and I be glad to render my support.

To show you how out of wack fees are, I just reviewed an NPS commerical one year permit for a river outfitter (canoe/kayak/tubing) rental business. Revenue is over 500k per year with a permit fee of only $750. That is less than one half of one percent for exclusive commercial use of federal property. On the other hand professional video/photogs can get charged proportionally much/much more.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 03:36 PM   #17
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$200 per year I think is reasonable.
When this "pay per day" issue first popped up over a year ago on this list, I wrote to the park service boss who was overseeing the implementation of this policy. I told him that I had very little money to produce the videos that were essentially an advertisement for the parks and that my goal was to present nature to an audience in a way to make them want to support conservation
(read: the parks' budget)

Believe it or not, "they" had not even considered the one man nature documentarian who might need to spend months gathering footage and
did not have any real budget other than their thin wallets to produce this kind of content.

The fact is that policies change and $200 per year is FAR less than what it was going to cost. The Parks' administration is incredibly responsive to public opinion, so it is up to everyone who cares to write them and let them know, in a helpful manner, your concerns and solutions.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #18
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Mark,

The letters I sent out were specific to my Yellowstone trip that was cancelled.

I wonder if there is anyone here that has good letter writing skills that can write something up that is more generic but gets the point across?

Anyone interested?

Even with the permit, we're still having to pay for what still photographers can do for free, but I'd settle for a $200 permit that covers all federal lands.

I was going to say that I don't mind giving back in order to film in the parks etc. Then I realized that my taxes pay for the park land so I guess I'm already giving back. :)

I really hope we can get this turned around!!
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Old March 15th, 2008, 06:37 PM   #19
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Kevin,

After researching the ammendment further it does include the Forest Service. It's progress can be tracked at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-5502 .

Chris, if I am overstepping here please delete this post. As a long time federal employee who has answered over 50 "congressional inquiries" (these are letters from people to thier congressmen which are then sent to agencies for response), I can tell you that they can have an impact on policy.

The ammendment has now been assigned to the House Natural Resources and Agriculture committees. There are links on the above site to those committee members which total 93. Each member has an e-mail address. A personal note to each would be an effective way to communicate your concerns.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 06:42 PM   #20
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Looks like I know what I'll be doing this week. :)

Do you think a physical letter is as important now day with email?
I always thought if I followed up with an actual letter it shows that it was important enough to me to warrant taking the time to actually write something and not just fire off an email.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 07:15 PM   #21
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Well it couldn't hurt. But from experience your representative rarely ever reads your letter. His/Her staff does. When they get numerous inquiries about the same topic then the "numbers" may be forwarded to the representative. Also note that many of the e-mail addresses for representatives will only accept e-mail from thier home state. It is kind of a filtering device which is a shame since they sit on committees which make national decissions without the benefit of national input.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #22
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The congressman from Alaska will only accept emails on his site from Alaskans. I checked I was from Alaska anyway.
I told him Denali is on my must do list and I plan on spending a lot of time there but if the current law stays in place that I simply wouldn't be able to afford the fees to shoot there.

I'm trying to spread this information as far and wide as I can. Hopefully people will take the time to write the congressman from their state as well as in other states to get this passed.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 08:05 PM   #23
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I see there are two Representatives from Iowa on the House Agriculture committee. I'll be emailing them first and following up with phone calls.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 09:51 PM   #24
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Kevin,

I have manage to email about a 1/3 of them so far. I will also contact some of my NPS counterparts next week to try to find out what the Dept. of Interior's position is on this. Also, I think the financial angle you took about not visiting the park is a good one. Elected officials want tourism $$$ for thier state. Maybe contacting the Chamber of Commerce in towns near large national parks and state tourism officials about the ammendment is a good idea. I will check this out further as these folks might have the most influence.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 01:54 AM   #25
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This fee has stopped me more than once trying to film. I was just planning a trip to Joshua Tree Park out near Palm Springs, read the guidelines, that stopped it, planning a trip out to Santa Cruz Island and I think I'm ok on part of the island, been planning to get some video from my boat around LA, thinking twice, I was just boarded in LA Harbor by combo Coast Guard and Long Beach Police, 6 of them, just checking safety stuff but if I had my camera stuff who knows what they would have done, we always go right through LA harbor and that is one of the busiest ports in the world, That day I say 4 other Coast Guard boats haulin somewhere, I believe a press pass will get you about anywhere with a cam
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Old March 16th, 2008, 02:12 AM   #26
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Hugh. let them know!

Mark,
The information I provided my Iowan congressmen was that In Iowa, the National Park Service cares for the Effigy Mounds National Monument, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.
Legally, I can't film at any of these in my own state without permits for each one, all of which could have additional fees tacked on as well.

The one thing that kind of bothers me is that one Representative emailed me back and had this to say:

The National Park Service Centennial Fund Act, H.R. 3094, would equip the National Park Service with the tools necessary to teach and lead conservation efforts. This new initiative would be paid for through fees on commercial activities conducted on federal land.

While I think it's a great idea, I worry about what these commercial activities are.

That was from Representative Dave Loebsack of Iowa.

I'm just telling them like it is. Denali will not be a cheap trip and if I have to pay a bunch of fees on top of that, well, the trip just isn't going to happen.

I need to find what the Park service administers in each of the committee members states if anything as well as what other Federal lands I may film there.

I think nothing hits home harder than saying I won;t be bringing in my out of state dollars to your state if I have to pay these fees to film there.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 02:59 AM   #27
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Hugh,

A press pass won't get you anything in Yellowstone:

"One freelance radio reporter was told by officials at Yellowstone National Park that she would need to secure a permit, pay a fee and have $1 million in liability insurance before she would be permitted into the park to interview an expert on wolves, said Timothy Wheeler, president of the Society of Environmental Journalists."

Breaking news is the ONLY exemption besides still photographers when it comes to anything commercial in Yellowstone.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 06:00 AM   #28
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Here is a site I found that lists film commissions and related groups by state. I have begun contacting them to support the bill.

http://www.filmcommissionhq.com/search.jsp?dir=0&st=GA
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Old March 16th, 2008, 07:28 AM   #29
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Mark, are you at the Atlanta Federal Center? Has anyone had a problem with State Parks? Bob
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Old March 16th, 2008, 09:55 AM   #30
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Bob,

I am at a field office at Lake Lanier. Couldn't pay me enough to make me drive thru Atlanta traffic each day to a Divison office. No problems so far with the state. Probably do not want to raise the issue until it becomes a problem. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
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