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Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.
drobertfranz
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p.1 #1 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


My friend and I just returned from Devils Tower National Monument where we were nearly ticketed by a ranger for photographing without a permit. At the time we were photographing prairie dogs form a road pull off where thousands of people photograph the prairie dogs every year. The ranger asked if I sell my photos to which I answered truthfully that I did. At that point he said was in violation of the law and needed my ID and business name. I told the ranger I was very aware of when a permit was required for still photography on public lands (even is the image may be sold) and that he was wrong. He sure didn't like that. I've never seen a ranger more angry or threatening. We then requested a visit to the superintendent but he was out of town. We then asked to see the chief ranger and when he arrived the discussion continued. I asked 3 times to see the regulations but they never showed them to us. We saw them looking through the regs and then tear up the tickets. But were told that we could do no more photography until the matter was resolved. Basically we were told to leave. I usually carry a copy of the law for these situations but had them in a different bag that I left home... Doing some more research I found this http://www.nps.gov/deto/parkmgmt/upload/2008.1%20Superintendent%27s%20Compendium.pdf which in the Superintendents own words spells out when a permit is required. I'm now on a campaign to get an apology from the rangers involved and to get absolute clarification so the rangers won't pull this stunt again to other unsuspecting photographers. I may try to pursue some money since I forfeited camping fees etc.


Aug 13, 2013 at 02:50 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #2 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


wow, must be some very special prairie dogs! How bizarre. Maybe budget crunch has hit them hard. Good thing you kept your cool even though sounds like you were in the right. Since there may be no evidence, might be hard for any apologies.


Aug 13, 2013 at 03:13 PM
CosmicCruiser
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p.1 #3 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


I would have thought that an identifiable landmark, not prairie dogs, would have to visible for the law to upheld.


Aug 13, 2013 at 03:20 PM
drobertfranz
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p.1 #4 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


CosmicCruiser wrote:
I would have thought that an identifiable landmark, not prairie dogs, would have to visible for the law to upheld.


It's doesn't matter a permit is not required and it's very clearly stated. It didn't matter what I photographed. Photogs must know their rights.

http://www.nps.gov/applications/digest/permits.cfm Law explained well here




Aug 13, 2013 at 03:25 PM
andyjaggy82
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p.1 #5 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


Yeah, that's bull crap. those rangers are absolutely up in the night. One more reason mirrorless cameras are nice, people assume you aren't a professional.


Aug 13, 2013 at 03:31 PM
andyjaggy82
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p.1 #6 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


CosmicCruiser wrote:
I would have thought that an identifiable landmark, not prairie dogs, would have to visible for the law to upheld.


That still wouldn't matter. So long as you are not somewhere that is off limits, and so long as you are not modifying the scenery with props and set pieces you are allowed to photograph and sell whatever you want. The only exception to this is when it's tribal lands, but clearly that wasn't the case here.



Aug 13, 2013 at 03:32 PM
wlpelzmann
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p.1 #7 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


Thanks for the warning. I think you handled the situation very well, and I appreciate your efforts to follow up and get these "overzealous" officials to comprehend the laws they are supposedly enforcing.


Aug 13, 2013 at 04:27 PM
drobertfranz
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p.1 #8 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


dgdg wrote:
wow, must be some very special prairie dogs! How bizarre. Maybe budget crunch has hit them hard. Good thing you kept your cool even though sounds like you were in the right. Since there may be no evidence, might be hard for any apologies.



Not really special p. dogs since the NM is considering killing all of them for public safety concerns....



Aug 13, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Charlie Shugart
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p.1 #9 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


Every organization has a bottom 5% (intelligence-wise).
Unlucky for you that you encountered two of them at the same time .
Charlie



Aug 13, 2013 at 05:14 PM
drobertfranz
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p.1 #10 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


Charlie Shugart wrote:
Every organization has a bottom 5% (intelligence-wise).
Unlucky for you that you encountered two of them at the same time .
Charlie


What really stunned me is the chief ranger was clueless as well. I think he realized I was right but still forced us to leave the park which cost us a lot of money.. Travel time, gas, food, camping fees etc...





Aug 13, 2013 at 05:23 PM
 

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photonanax3
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p.1 #11 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


A group of us had the same problem last fall at Devil's Tower and I bet it was the same ranger. He spoke with each one of us and gave us the same line about needing a permit. Personally -- I think he's on a power trip, especially when he said he searches out the internet for images of Devil's Tower that are for sale, and then he contacts the photographer and asks if they have gotten the appropriate permits.


Aug 13, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #12 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


That's crazy - I'm going to keep a copy of both the info at those links on my phone in case something ever comes up when I'm out.


Aug 13, 2013 at 07:08 PM
andyjaggy82
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p.1 #13 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


Did you get the rangers name?


Aug 13, 2013 at 07:12 PM
dswiger
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p.1 #14 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


andyjaggy82 wrote:
Did you get the rangers name?


I would think a carefully crafted letter to his/her superiors(?) might mute some of this.
But then again, it might cause them to become more aggressive & seek more rules.




Aug 13, 2013 at 07:23 PM
drobertfranz
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p.1 #15 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


andyjaggy82 wrote:
Did you get the rangers name?


I did and I received a call from the chief ranger of D. T. just a few minutes ago. He admitted I was correct and apologized for his rangers behavior and for his lack of understanding of the law. I thanked him but told him I would be following up on this situation with letters to his superiors, government officials and politicians. I will need a written apology from the initiating ranger and confirmation from the park superintendent that I was correct and acted in accordance of the law. The CR understood why I would pursue this further and had no ill will towards me. Reading between the line it sounded as though his ranger received a sharp reprimand.



Aug 13, 2013 at 07:52 PM
andyjaggy82
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p.1 #16 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


It never pays to lose your temper and you handled this very well. Hopefully it prevents any future incidents from happening.


Aug 13, 2013 at 07:59 PM
drobertfranz
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p.1 #17 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


photonanax3 wrote:
A group of us had the same problem last fall at Devil's Tower and I bet it was the same ranger. He spoke with each one of us and gave us the same line about needing a permit. Personally -- I think he's on a power trip, especially when he said he searches out the internet for images of Devil's Tower that are for sale, and then he contacts the photographer and asks if they have gotten the appropriate permits.


I have the rangers name, if you know the ranger that harassed your group I would give it to you privately...



Aug 13, 2013 at 08:07 PM
photonanax3
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p.1 #18 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


Thank you drobert, it was late last fall and not going to worry about it now. We all chalked it up to him just trying to show who's boss and by the time he got around to talking to everyone in our group, we were pretty much done. But thank you for the offer.


Aug 13, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Jeffrey
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p.1 #19 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


Sorry to hear your experience. Where's the landscape content?


Aug 13, 2013 at 09:49 PM
drobertfranz
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p.1 #20 · Photographers Beware: Devils Tower N.M.


Jeffrey wrote:
Sorry to hear your experience. Where's the landscape content?


Devils Tower is a popular destination for landscape photographers!



Aug 13, 2013 at 10:03 PM
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