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Thread: Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

  1. #1

    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    Sara Louise Kras wrote to View Camera magazine (Sept/Oct issue) to express her dismay over the "no car" policy at Zion National Park in Utah (a shuttle-bus-only transport policy is also likely to be phased in at other over-exhausted national parks). She and her husband drove up to Zions gate with "an 8x10 and a 4x5 camera with several lenses" but were apparently unprepared to walk very far from their car (or from a shuttle bus) with their equipment.

    "Anyone who has visited a national park in the past can see why the bus system is being put into place," Ms. Kras concedes. "Wildlife was diminishing and the overall nature experience was becoming quite frustrating and maddening fighting the traffic."

    On the other hand, she says, "park officials should be aware of photographers, painters, and other artisans [who] wish to communicate their experience through an art medium. Special concessions should be given to these artists. They keep our national park alive through proxy for those [who] cannot visit them."

    Ms. Kras doesnt suggest a policy for determining whos a photographer and who isnt, nor does she mention such considerations as balancing the wishes of photographers and painters vs. the wishes of others who may want to drive a car in these parks (such as those who are merely disabled or elderly but not particularly artistic). Thoughts, comme

  2. #2

    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    A typo in my post above: Ms. Kras wrote "They keep our national parks alive" (not "park"); she was referring to entire National Park Service, not just Zion. Also, at the end I asked for "thoughts, comments?", not, like, "comme."

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  3. #3

    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    NPS will surely charge for such a permit... anyone not prepared to walk from a bus stop should stay in the studio.

  4. #4
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    That's the thing about remote and isolated places--they're remote and isolated and hard to get to. It seems like the Park Service wants to keep them that way, and I think photographers should want to keep them that way too, unless they would rather make stock shots of SUV's, off-roaders, and tourists in the national parks.

  5. #5

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    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    As a professional photographer I am all in favor of a car permit system being put into place. However, I certainly don't think it would be fair to limit it just to photographers or other artists. It should be available to anyone who wants to take advantage of it. To discourage people from driving their cars into the National Parks they can put a hefty price tag on the permits thus limiting the number of cars entering to those who are serious about their need or desire to use a car. What price would discourage the majoirty of people from using their cars and yet make it reasonable for those of us who "need" our cars?

    There has been talk of requiring permits just to photograph in the Parks. If that is implemented (at a cost of $200/yr?) then I would hope that a special car permit would be included..............

  6. #6

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    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    Another unfortunate aspect is the closing of roads in some National parks during the Fall deer mating season to prevent poaching which has become widespread despite heavy federal penalties. It seems that illegal hunting can't be prevented by means other than closing the roads. So during some months, you cannot enter the Shennandoah Park in the pre-dawn hours to photograph a nice sunrise in the Blue Ridge because the roads are closed!!

  7. #7

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    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    No, LF photographers should not be given special car permits to access US national parks. I say that as a LF photographer who might benefit from such a system. The reason we LF photographers must share the pain of these shuttles systems is that, mostly, we are part of the root cause of crowding that created the need for them. And I don't mean by taking pictures which inspire more people to visit.

    Shuttle systems, vehicle pollution controls, car pool lanes, etc. are coping strategies established to deal with an excess of people. We have too many people because humans worldwide fail to control their reproduction, and countries such as the US which have slightly more reasonable birth rates (though not nearly low enough) fail to effectively control immigration, legal or illegal.

    As usual, the innocent are punished with the guilty. So, if your family size is small enough to make you think you should be given special treatment, forget it. Start paring down your gear to a size that can be easily carried on a shuttle bus.

  8. #8

    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    I was in Yosemite on March 8th (middle of the week). There were at most a dozen other cars roaming the valley. We had to get in by 8:00 AM and couldn't leave until 4:00 PM. The entrance road was closed for repairs between those hours. The park service could not afford to operate a bus for the volume of visitors when I was there.

    I was at Yellowstone about 15 years ago the week before Memorial Day. The park was practically empty. Memorial Day came and the park instantly filled up.

    If the park service adopts this policy in peak seasons, it makes sense. If they make decisions without regard to demand, we will have to rally in the next election.

    I doubt any LF photographers really want to photograph in the peak season anyhow.

    I do think, however, it is rather silly of any of us to think we can preserve the parks as they exist today. Five years ago, half of a mountain fell off a peak in Yosemite. Considering its geological situation, changes have happened and will continue to happen quickly in Yosemite, regardless of man's interventions.

  9. #9

    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    There are plenty of other photogenic places in the world that are not in national parks. Besides, most national parks are over photographed anyway!!! Also, there are many national parks that have relatively low visitation that allow the use of private vehicles.

  10. #10

    Should LF photographers be given special car permits to access US national parks?

    I believe that it is dangerous for photographers to ask for different treatment from other park users. Whenever there is any suggestion of imposing fees on photography, we (rightfully) howl in protest, arguing that we should be treated the same as other users of the park. If we want the same benefits as other users, we must be prepared to accept the same limits as well. Arguing for differential treatment establishes a precedent that will make it easier to impose additional burdens on photographers.

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