Jonathan Doyle is an amateur film maker who produced a small film about Big Foot on Mount Monadnock. The film generated some publicity and Mr. Doyle decided to go back to the mountain to film a sequel. A park ranger intercepted the filming and told him he would need to apply for a Special Use Permit because the filming was beyond the scope of routine recreational activity. A Special Use Permit requires a waiting period of 30 days, costs $100, and requires the posting of a $2,000,000 insurance bond. The ACLU-NH argued that this regulation was unconstitutional because it is too broad—it regulates small-time activity that has minimal impact on the mountain to the same extent that it regulates large-scale activity that can have a profound impact on the mountain. The Superior Court denied the ACLU-NH’s Petition for a Declaratory Judgment.
The ACLU-NH appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and the ACLU-NH’s brief can be found here. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the regulation was not narrowly tailored to achieve the State’s interest in regulating competing uses of the park. The ACLU-NH was awarded $46,000 in legal fees. The Supreme Court’s decision can be found at 163 N.H. 215 (2012).
Cooperating Attorney: Jon Meyer of Backus, Meyer & Branch, LLP