Photographers upset over fees to shoot at Albion Basin

Douglas Anderson stands with Heather Nan as she photographs a bridal portrait of Anderson's daughter, Whitney Anderson, in Albion Basin at Alta Ski Area on Thursday, July 26, 2018. Professional photographers are upset over being charged $125 special permit fee and $50 per shoot by Forest Service officials to be able to take pictures in a picturesque area full of colorful flowers that is overcrowded, (Steve Griffin/The Deseret News via AP)

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (AP) — Professional photographers are upset to learn they will be charged $125 for a special permit fee and $50 per shoot to be able to take pictures in a picturesque northern Utah area full of vivid summer wildflowers.

U.S. Forest Service officials recently began being tough on permits and fees because large crowds at Little Cottonwood Canyon’s Albion Basin are taking a toll on resources, the Deseret News reported this week.

Last year, the nearby town of Alta saw over 80,000 visitors between July 1 and Sept. 5.

All photographers working on any kind of project will need to pay the permit and shoot fees, said Polly Berseng with the Forest Service’s Salt Lake Ranger District. “It doesn’t matter how large or how small, if someone is making money off of public lands, they’re required to pay the fee,” she said.

Many photographers have gone off trail, trampled the flowers and inadvertently created trails where there were none, Berseng said.

Right now, the Forest Service is only working on an educational campaign on the fees.

“We are not ticketing,” Berseng said. “It is not a ‘gotcha’ kind of thing.”

Christie Gibson and Chauntelle Janzer, two photographers who shoot in the area, think it’s not fair that photographers are being targeted.

“There is a better way to enforce it,” Gibson said. “They can start fining people and put up signs. It feels to me this is being pushed on photographers to pay.”

She fears the move will discourage small businesses and hobbyists. “This has stirred the photography community drastically since this is more expensive than what most clients and most photographers can afford,” Gibson said.

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