Help protect freedom of speech in Alaska by submitting a comment by April 9, 2023.

Commercial film and photography have always required permits on public lands. The meaning of “Commercial” in the last few years has changed due to increased social media and technology use. In this day in age where a person can monetize the pictures and videos they take on their phone it’s hard to distinguish what is considered “commercial.” In 2022 the courts upheld the decision to require permits for film on public lands. You can read the full briefing explaining the potential harm to all Americans as visitation to public lands, especially national parks, has grown tremendously the past few years. The concern is any picture or video created on public lands and posted online could potentially be removed, fined or punishable in some form. Some content creators are already being required to remove their content. This certainly raises concerns that Freedom of Speech is threatened by this increased regulation.

National Parks in Alaska are already proposing changes to their Superintendents Compendium including Sitka National Park in Alaska with other Alaska parks not far behind. We started the Freedom Echoes campaign, and if you add your voice to the process to update commercial film permit requirements, we will update you when other agencies and parks propose changes.

Therefore if you have 6 people or more you would be required to obtain a permit for any type of filming activity. The proposed changes are unclear and can change with different scenarios. NPS needs to think through the permit requirements before implementing any changes.

It’s not clear how these proposed changes will be enforced. NPS does not state in the proposed changes or in the current compendium what fines or penalties exist for violating film permit requirements. Permit violations in national parks can include thousands of dollars of fines, jail time and a permanent ban in all national parks.

Add your voice today to protect freedom of speech on public land.