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Family Portraits Better Have A Permit, Forest Service Says

family portrait in mountains. / yanik88

Portrait photographers working in the region have been getting reminders lately of a federal rule that they need permits to shoot on forest service land.

Wildflowers make Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon a popular area for wedding and family portraits. But in recent weeks rangers have been reminding photographers that they need a $50 per day special use permit for photo shoots, just like other commercial activities.

"Whether someone’s charging to take a photograph and selling that photograph or if someone’s charging to take somebody on a hike, or a mountain bike ride. There’s a wide spectrum of all different kinds activities and businesses that do occur on public lands which they are all under permit," said Polly Bergseng with the Salt Lake Ranger District.  

She says lately, wildflowers have been trampled along with other damage to the canyon’s habitat.

The federal permit law applies nationwide but it’s not consistently enforced.

Bergseng said this summer has been an effort to educate visitors about special use permits on public lands, and that they’re unlikely to resort to enforcing fines.

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