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Schuylkill County News

A Cow and Some Nudes Prompt Potential Change in Sweet Arrow Lake Photo Policy

County wants to require a permit for “commercial photographers”.

Schuylkill County government wants to charge “commercial photographers” $100 to take pictures at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park.

Recently, the County Commissioners approved a motion to amend the park’s rules that would address photo shoots at the park. The new rule hasn’t been finalized but an early leak of the proposed policy would require what the County calls “commercial photographers” to obtain a permit to take photos at Sweet Arrow.

The cost of the permit would be $100. It would also require photographers to be insured and release the County from liability.

This all came to be after the County recently learned of two photo sessions they deem problematic. However, this new proposed policy may be punishing the many for the sins of the few.

According to Commissioner Larry Padora, the County learned that someone recently took a cow into Sweet Arrow Lake to take photos of it. In another instance, the County found out that nude photos were being taken at the lake park.

So, in order to prevent this happening in the future, the County thinks requiring a permit for “commercial photographers” will do the trick.

But what photographer intent on taking such photos would ever go to the County to get a permit? And would the County actually grant a permit to allow nude photos at Sweet Arrow in the future? It seems unlikely.

Another major problem with this policy is the County’s ambiguous definition of “commercial photographer”.

People just taking snapshots that won’t be resold are obviously exempt from the proposed rule. So, too, are members of the news media.

But just who is a commercial photographer in the eyes of the County is rather hazy.

A page still live on the park’s website reads, “Commercial photography is considered any photography in which the photographer or photographers receive payment for their services. This includes but is not limited to model/client, promotional, and business photo shoots.”

However, it also reads, “Photographers exempt from the Commercial Photography Permit include members of the Media and any photographer hired to photograph a paid private event utilizing park facilities.”

If the County finalizes the new rule as this definition is written, it could potentially impact numerous local photographers who use the park as a backdrop for photos of prom attendees, and engagements, for example.

They would likely have to pass on the expense of this permit to their clients.

It would also potentially affect people who take photos of Sweet Arrow that intend on selling prints of the photos at local fairs or through online shops like Smugmug or Shutterstock.

Certainly, the $100 permit fee would be cost prohibitive and essentially limit who, if anyone, would be inclined to visit the park for this purpose in the future.

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  1. James EISENHART

    March 26, 2024 at 7:36 am

    I thought Padora was all about getting jobs for his friends,maybe this is help them. Seems silly,and a waste of county time,who would police it?

  2. Jax

    March 26, 2024 at 2:53 pm

    Another policy blunder. First badge security and now nudity and cows. Umm, wouldn’t it be easier to disallow nudity & skinny-dipping, and to clarify animal and cow-dipping in the lake? The photographers are welcome to take the photo so the evidence can be turned in to authorities. Clearly Padora has no experience making policy. Where are the other 2 commissioners?

  3. insider

    March 27, 2024 at 10:07 pm

    Padora and Hetherington continue to embarrass the county.Sex pervert in the Court House…wink,wink…..cow at Sweet Arrow….charge everyone….

  4. Chris

    March 28, 2024 at 11:40 am

    What a joke. At least they have their priorities straight. Not!

  5. Lori

    April 1, 2024 at 12:00 pm

    More government control and involvement— it’s a public park!!!!!people already pay for use through tax dollars. Who will patrol to make sure everyone is properly covered for picture taking?

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