RV Couple Fined $1000, Threatened With Arrest for Making YouTube Video in National Park
Earlier this year, popular travel vloggers Kara and Nate were fined $1000 from the National Park Service for making YouTube content in National Parks.
According to a video released on their YouTube channel, Kara and Nate explain that their YouTube channel had been reported anonymously to the NPS for filming in Rocky Mountain National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
The anonymous tipster reported these videos as commercial filming inside National Parks.
According to NPS.gov:
“All commercial filming activities taking place within a unit of the National Park System require a permit. ‘Commercial filming’ means the film, electronic, magnetic, digital, or other recording of a moving image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience with the intent of generating income.”
The RV Vloggers Experience
YouTubers Kara and Nate have been transparent with their income and expense reports for their YouTube channel. The tipster provided the NPS with the published income reports as further evidence for filing their report.
The YouTubers were contacted by the NPS via a voicemail. The voicemail gave them a deadline to call back and make arrangements, or face larger fines and a warrant for their arrest.
After it was all said and done, Kara and Nate were fined $1000 and are no longer permitted to film YouTube content within any National Park Service Unit without applying for a commercial permit.
Commercial permits for filming in National Parks are $300 to apply, and $150 per day of filming. Aside from obtaining a permit, a detailed log must be provided for all dates and areas of the park where filming will take place.
Is It Illegal To Make Videos in National Parks?
This situation brings to light a serious matter for many content creators in the RV and Van Life travel community.
Many RV and Van Life content creators make money from ad revenue generated by video views on their YouTube channels. This puts these creators at risk of fines, or worse, jail time, for filming in National Parks.
Kara and Nate publish income reports, which gave the NPS no doubt that they were indeed generating revenue from content filmed in National Parks.
Not every content creator publishes income reports. And, as mentioned by RV Miles, many creators’ video revenue streams don’t even cover expenses.
It doesn’t seem fair for Kara and Nate to incur these fines and threats from the type of content they produce.
Travel vloggers like Kara and Nate produce inspiring content from some of the most beautiful places in the United States. If anything, this content is encouraging more people to get out and experience the Nation’s protected lands.
Filming content as influencers to encourage National Park tourism increases revenue for the NPS and gives local economies a boost.
Hopefully the NPS will update their definition of commercial filming to exclude travel vloggers. In the meantime, do your research and know the laws.
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