New photography policy at popular Springs site, permit required

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - New photography rules are in place for a popular area in Colorado Springs.

Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site is now charging a daily fee for photographers - both amateur and professional. There are also regulations on when photos can be taken.

Some families and local photographers are upset at the new policy.

“My clients are very frustrated because they come out here for the views," said Kaley Messelling, owner of Kaley Brooke Photography. "You can see Pikes Peak, you can get Garden of the Gods, all the historic houses and the land, it’s awesome to look at.”

Anyone taking portraits at the site will need to purchase a $50 permit and cannot shoot from Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“It’s anybody know who is doing portrait photography or wedding photography or senior photography," said parks operations administrator for Rock Ledge Ranch, Andy Morris. "Those folks, we want them to wait until after those hours, or before.”

The hours will be enforced through August 18 during the Living History Program, as well as for certain events throughout the year. However, the permit fee will stay year-round.

“When we do our living history programs, it’s not appropriate to have modern photography here," said Morris. "Our visitors ... Because this is a fee area, when they come in, they can take all the pictures they want. It’s just to limit the people who come in and treat Rock Ledge Ranch like their own private office.”

The site says the purpose of the policy is to preserve their mission and protect the programs in place.

“Our mission is to interpret the history of the Pikes Peak region," said Morris. "So, we can’t have modern photography or portrait photography here when we are doing our programs.”

Local photographers who use the location regularly though, say the daily $50 permit is just too much.

“It’s just a little ridiculous to the photographers because we come out here all the time," said Messelling. "We bring business to Rock Ledge Ranch ... If I would have not brought them out here to take photos, they would have never known this was out here.”

Some clients are not willing to pay the fee and are opting to choose another location.

"My sessions aren’t enough to cover the cost anyways, so they’re just not willing to pay the extra $50,” said Messelling.

She says that's upsetting because Rock Ledge Ranch offers so much in one location.

“Living in Colorado, that’s what you live for, is the views," said Messelling. "So whenever you take family photos, you want to get photos of Pikes Peak, which is huge in Colorado Springs, so it’s frustrating that we can’t, you know, get these beautiful views with all of these photos.”

Morris says because the program is so new, they will see how the policy goes and may consider tweaks if needed.

“We might consider annual," Morris said. "We’ve checked with colleagues that also work at living history sites across the country and we’ve come up with this fee and it’s a lot less than a lot of places.”

To apply for a permit or read more information from the site, click here.