Here’s the official press release from the Public Affairs Office:
Film crews and news reporters are reminded they need to check with park staff members before working in Yellowstone National Park. Federal regulations and National Park Service policies place some restrictions on film crew and media activities due to concerns of visitor safety and impacts on fragile park resources.
If an individual, business, group, organization, or institution, is paid, reimbursed, or provided any measure of financial or in-kind support for any costs associated with an audio, film, or video production, a permit is required prior to working in Yellowstone National Park. This applies not only to those shooting feature films, but those who capture audio or film or video footage for class projects, documentaries, product demonstrations, web sites, or training films.
Permits are not usually required for those involved in news coverage of Yellowstone National Park. However, due to their potential impacts on visitors and park resources, a permit with some restrictions may also be required of news organizations for crews larger than two people or for the use of satellite trucks, production vehicles, and some specialized equipment.
Permits are not required for individuals taking personal vacation still images or videos, or for amateur and professional still photographers taking landscape photos. Commercial still photographers using models, props, special lighting, or specialized equipment, must apply for and obtain a film permit prior to working in the park.
Those working in the park under a film permit may be required to pay an application fee and all costs associated with having one or more uniformed NPS employees on hand during some or all of their time actively working in the park, to mitigate impacts and ensure compliance with terms and conditions of their film permit.
Additional details regarding film permits, forms, and a fee schedule are available online at www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/filmpermit.htm, or by calling the park’s Visitor Services Office at 307-344-2107 during normal business hours. It takes at least ten business days to process a request for a film permit. Crews are strongly advised not to make any travel arrangements until a permit is approved.
News reporters, still photographers, and audio, video, and film recording crews working under a film permit are generally allowed to work in areas open to the general public, subject to the terms and conditions of their film permit if one is required. While not always signed or observed by the public, travel off the boardwalk or off established trails in thermal areas is prohibited.
Requests to enter areas closed to the public are handled on a case-by-case basis, and if granted may be subject to a variety of restrictions in order to address resource protection and personal safety concerns.
Park entrance fees are typically waived for working journalists when their purpose is gathering news within and about Yellowstone National Park. Journalists should be prepared to present appropriate identification at park entrance stations or any time upon request of a uniformed NPS employee. Journalists traveling through the park for the purpose of gathering news outside park boundaries are subject to park entrance fees, as are all book and guidebook authors.
Reporters are encouraged to contact the park’s Public Affairs Office at 307-344-2015 or at YELL_Public_Affairs@nps.gov during normal business hours prior to any visit to Yellowstone. A member of the Public Affairs Office staff may be available outside normal business hours by calling the general park number at 307-344-7381.
While National Park Service employees performing their duties in public may be photographed or recorded at any time; in-person, email, or telephone interviews with NPS employees must be arranged in advance through the park’s Public Affairs Office or with an incident Public Information Officer.
Out of respect for both park visitors and the fragile nature of park resources, news media representatives are asked to avoid working in high-traffic areas like some geyser basins and the rims of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone during peak visitor hours. Film and news crews are reminded that violation of any park regulation or terms of a permit may result in issuance of a violation notice and/or suspension of privileges granted by a permit.