Cost of permts to shoot on public land!

Started Aug 19, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Steve Ridges
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Cost of permts to shoot on public land!
Aug 19, 2009

I'm a little ticked. I wanted to shoot some pics of a motorcycle and model out on the Bonneville Salt Flats in UT. I called Utah BLM to get some info and they sent me a link to their policies:

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 still 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.

While I was planning to use the images for stock, I'm suprised that even if the pictures weren't for commercial use, I'd still have to pay and I want to shoot something that's not naturally there (the motorcycle). How much you ask? This is where it gets ridiculous. $109 to process the application, $109 to have someone from the BLM "monitor" my shoot, and $100 for the "Rental" fee to use my public land! That's $318 plus I have to have a million dollar insurance policy payable to Utah BLM! That's outrageous!

Needless to say, I'm canceling the shoot. I would just sneak out and play dumb if caught but since there are several other permitted activities going on the same weekend (some music video and race prep), I think it's likely that there will be lots of BLM people around and I don't want to get caught.

How do you feel about this? Have rates always been this high? I was expecting it to cost somewhere in the $25-$50 range. I wonder what the penalty is for not having a permit?

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