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Thousands decry hefty fee for photography at Colorado Springs city parks

GOG pic

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A new proposed rule in Colorado Springs would charge local photographers hundreds of dollars to feature city parks as backdrops in commercial shoots, and thousands of people are speaking out against it.

If you want to take professional photos inside a city park, you might soon have to pay a $250 fee per year. That goes double for the Springs' prime attraction, Garden of the Gods, which requires a $500 fee.

The city clarified that the $500 fee would be daily for large-scale commercial operations, including if the shoot has to shut down part of the park. The city issued a statement Tuesday saying that for most small business uses, it would be a a yearly fee.

And this new rule has a lot of people upset. More than 6,000 people and counting signed a petition that was launched Monday against the fee. Callie Riesling, a local photographer who created the petition, says it’s not a fair price for small local businesses.

“Right now this the most expensive permit in the state. This is more than Rocky Mountain National Park, this is more than any of the Denver Counties or Boulder County or any of them. I could go get three permits for the amount of this one,” she said.

In comparison, a daily portrait photography permit for Rocky Mountain National Park is $50.

So now the question for photographers, is this all worth it? Kisa Conrad, who shoots wedding photography and mostly travels around Colorado for shoots, says with this new fee she might just avoid Garden of the Gods and other public areas altogether.

"My couples are in Denver, they're in Fort Collins, I’m all over the place. So for me to pay for a permit for just one spot of the Garden of the Gods and the few other parks that I go to maybe like two, three times a year. Is it worth it?" said Conrad.

But the photographers we spoke with say they don’t care if there is a fee. They would just like to see the price lowered.

Riesling said, “This was supposed to remain free for its citizens. But if there does have to be a fee it should be significantly smaller. My proposal is that we eliminate the fee for small business owners so that way our money can stay in the local economy and instead of in the government's hands.”

Reisling says the next step will be to present the petition to the City Council, we will keep you updated.

Colorado Springs / Local News

Kolby Crossley

Kolby is a reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Kolby here.



  1. Time for the descendants of Charles Perkins to sue to get their park back. The agreement was that it was to be free to the public.

    1. How many times are they going to tax/fee/fine us for the same frickin thing? One would think that ANYTHING drawing in more tax dollars for the coffers should be enough! If they had a grip on the City planners and road construction from this unsustainable City Sprawl they could handle services better and not take every dang dime from it’s citizens. Clean House..time for a change!

    2. Unfortunately, Commercial Use, doesn’t fall under Public use. It sucks, but that is the they look at it. Now, just charge for the film, and not for the photo service. What ends up on it is free.

  2. The Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau should be paying people to take pictures since it’s all free publicity for the City.

  3. Really unique and interesting location here. I just came across your post. Love them! Living down in the COLORADO SPRINGS, the Garden of the photographer is right in front of me.

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