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Sports >  Outdoors

National Parks commercial use rule deemed unconstitutional

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 27, 2021

The April 2011 drawdown at Lake Roosevelt leaves a vast expanse of sandy beach for Dave Ross of Spokane Valley to hike before he could go shore fishing for rainbows near Hansen Harbor. RICH LANDERS richl@spokesman.com  (RICH LANDERS)
The April 2011 drawdown at Lake Roosevelt leaves a vast expanse of sandy beach for Dave Ross of Spokane Valley to hike before he could go shore fishing for rainbows near Hansen Harbor. RICH LANDERS richl@spokesman.com (RICH LANDERS)

A fee levied by the National Parks Service on commercial videography was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, Friday.

The rule caused a commotion on Lake Roosevelt in 2019 when fishing guides were forced to remove videos of their angling clients from YouTube.

The removals come after the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area started enforcing long-standing rules requiring the purchase of permits prior to the filming of commercially used videos.

However, a federal judge in Washington D.C. ruled that the commercial use provision was unconstitutional, Friday. The ruling does not apply to commercial still photography.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote that “the government may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal constitution, including the First Amendment right to free expression.”

Julia Treu-Fowler, the concessions management assistant for the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, said she had yet to receive any guidance from National Parks headquarters.

The National Press Photographers Association celebrated the ruling. 

“The case is a great victory for photographers and the right to record in public places,” NPPA Executive Director Akili-Casundria Ramsess said in a statement.

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