Locations

Guide to filming on location in West Virginia

One of the most beautiful states in the nation, the Mountain State lies in the mid-Atlantic region – the heart of the Appalachian Highlands. Mostly a rugged hilly terrain interspersed with small valleys, the state’s highest point is at Spruce Knob (4,861 ft) and its lowest at Harpers Ferry (240 ft). Each region of the state offers an abundance and diverse blend of cultural, historical, arts and sciences, sports, recreational, entertainment and outdoor activities for all ages to experience and enjoy. The state enjoys four distinct seasons, which vary dramatically across the state. Mountainous areas experience colder temperatures and greater snowfall during the winter, which are perfect for the state’s ski resorts, and summers are pleasant and mild. Lower elevations experience milder winters and summers can be quite warm. Cost of living in West Virginia is one of the lowest in the nation, making it an ideal place to reside and conduct business.

The West Virginia Film Office has a rich inventory of photography covering the expansive diversity of locations that can be found in our state. Below, we share some of our Signature Locations, such as The PrisonThe RiverThe BunkerThe CapitolThe PalaceThe Institutionand The ObservatoryPlease also search our online Locations Library for other location options. Powered by Reel-Scout,TM our library offers interactive mapping through Google and live weather data through The Weather Channel.

Signature Locations

The Palace of Gold, WV

Palace of Gold, Cameron

West Virginia State Penitentiary, Moundsville

West Virginia State Penitentiary, Moundsville

River On Demand™

Ever wanted to control the flow of a river? RIVER ON DEMAND™ is your answer. The flow of the Gauley River can be modulated to suit production every November. A complimentary service made possible by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District, safety issues take precedence and advance notice is required. Contact the Film Office to assist with arrangements.

Green Bank Observatory, formerly National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank

Green Bank Observatory, formerly National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank

The Greenbrier Bunker, White Sulphur Springs

The Greenbrier Bunker, White Sulphur Springs

West Virginia State Capitol, Charleston

West Virginia State Capitol, Charleston

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston

Local Crew

A directory of local crew and vendors is available through ReelScout.

Guidelines for Filming on Location in West Virginia

Production Insurance

All federal, state, county, and municipality properties require proof of liability insurance coverage (amount of coverage varies based on complexities of a production). Liability coverage for filming on private properties will vary and should be negotiated directly with the property owner.

Animal Welfare Agencies

  • American Humane Association
    Film & Television Unit, Los Angeles, CA; 818-501-0123
    Website: www.americanhumane.org
    Designated by the Screen Actors Guild as the only animal welfare organization with on-set jurisdiction. Visit the AHA website for guidelines on the safe use of animals in filmed media.
  • WV Department of Agriculture
    Animal Health Division, Charleston, WV; 304-558-2214
    Website: www.wvagriculture.org/Division_Webpages/animal_health.html
    The Animal Health Program enforces certain agriculture laws and regulations and is charged with preventing, suppressing, and controlling any communicable diseases of animals or poultry.

Special Effects and Explosives

If the production is a closed set and does not involve the public, no permit is required. For proximate audience and class D fireworks, one or more permits may be necessary. A license for the pyrotechnic operator may also be required. Permits are day/event specific. For regulation details, visit www.firemarshal.wv.gov or contact the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s office at 304-558-2191, ext. 219.

Permits

The West Virginia Film Office is not a permitting agency, but it provides assistance in securing location access. Nearly all state and federal properties require permits or location agreements. To maximize cooperation, all filming requests should be first submitted to the Film Office to ensure navigation of the appropriate channels of communication among governmental agencies and private property owners.

State Property

  • Capitol. A permit is required to film at the Capitol Complex. Generally, there is no location fee, although in certain circumstances, a fee may be assessed and cost recovery charges may be applied. Contact the Film Office at 304-558-2200 to obtain a “Request to Use Capitol Grounds”, or call the Department of Administration at 304-558-4331 or 304-558-2317. A valid certificate of insurance must accompany the agreement.
  • Transportation. All projects are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and reasonable advance notice is required for use of state-owned roadways, railways, waterways, and public transit systems. A location agreement and liability insurance are also required. In certain circumstances, a location fee may be assessed and cost recovery charges may be applied. Contact the Film Office to ensure navigation of the appropriate channels of communication.
  • Parks, Forests, Wildlife Management Areas. All projects are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and reasonable advance notice is required. A location agreement and liability insurance are also required. In certain circumstances, a location fee may be assessed and cost recovery charges may be applied. Contact the Film Office to ensure navigation of the appropriate channels of communication.

Federal Property

National Parks. All “commercial filming” activities require a permit on federal lands. Advance notice (minimum of 30 days) is required, and cost recovery charges for all filming and still photography activities include the administrative/application cost recovery charge and any costs incurred by the National Park Services for monitoring the permit (amount will vary). Proof of liability insurance is required, and you may be asked to post a bond. Permit applications for National Parks in West Virginia are available at home.nps.gov.

[“Commercial filming” is defined as digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project. It does not include news coverage or visitor use.]

  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail — Harpers Ferry (Jefferson County)
    Trail HQ: 304-535-6331, www.nps.gov/appa/index.htm
    Park HQ: 304-535-6278, www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm
  • Bluestone National Scenic River — Glen Jean (Fayette County)
    Website: www.nps.gov/blue/
    Film Permit Coordinator: 304-465-0508 (Sherri Clendenin)
  • Gauley River National Recreation Area — Glen Jean (Fayette County)
    Website: www.nps.gov/gari/
    Film Permit Coordinator: 304-465-0508 (Sherri Clendenin)
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park — Harpers Ferry (Jefferson County)
    Website: www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm
    Film Permit Coordinator: 304-535-6748 (Marsha Wassel)
  • New River Gorge National River — Glen Jean (Fayette County)
    Website: www.nps.gov/neri/
    Film Permit Coordinator: 304-465-0508 (Sherri Clendenin)
    Canyon Rim Visitor Center: 304-574-2115
    Sandstone Visitor Center: 304-466-0417

National Forests. All “commercial filming” activities require a permit on federal lands and are subject to land use fees and may be subject to cost recovery charges. Advance notice is required (60 days is recommended), and cost recovery charges for all filming and still photography activities include the administrative/application cost recovery charge and any costs incurred by the USFS for monitoring the permit (amount will vary). Proof of liability insurance is required, and you may be asked to post a bond. Permit applications may be obtained through each forest district office.

  • Monongahela National Forest — Elkins (Randolph County)
    Website: www.fs.fed.us/r9/mnf
    Special Use Manager: 304-636-1800, ext. 219
    Counties: Barbour, Grant, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, and Webster
  • George Washington National Forest — (HQ in Harrisonburg, Virginia)
    Website: www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/northriver
    North River Ranger District: 540-432-0187 (main); 866-904-0240 (toll-free)
    Counties: Hampshire, Hardy, and Pendleton
  • Jefferson National Forest — (HQ in Blacksburg, Virginia)
    Website: www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/nrv
    Eastern Divide Ranger District: 540-552-4641
    County: Monroe

State Agencies

Official State Website
Department of Agriculture – 304-558-3200
Animal Health Division – 304-558-2214
Agricultural Products/Commodities – 304-558-2210
Department of Commerce – 304-558-2234
Department of Military Affairs & Public Safety – 304-558-2930
Corrections – 304-558-2036
Homeland Security and Emergency Management – 304-558-5380
State Fire Marshal – 304-558-2191
State Police – 304-746-2100
Department of Tax and Revenue – 304-558-3333
Department of Transportation – 304-558-0444
Aeronautics Commission – 304- 558-3436
Highways – 304-558-3505
Motor Vehicles – 304-558-3900
Parkways, Economic Development & Tourism Authority – 304-926-1900
Public Port Authority – 304-558-0330
Public Transit Division – 304-558-0428
State Rail Authority – 304-538-2305
Division of Culture & History – 304-558-0220
Archives & History – 304-558-0230
Commission on the Arts – 304-558-0240
Historic Preservation – 304-558-0240
Federal Agencies (partial contact list)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Huntington, WV District Office – 304-399-5353
Washington, DC, HQ – 202-761-1024
Pittsburgh, PA District Office – 412-395-7106
Baltimore, MD District Office – 410-962-2809
U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, DC
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC; 202-282-8000
U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC; 202-647-4000

City and County Properties

Requirements for filming vary greatly on city- and county-owned properties. Contact the Film Office to assist in navigation of appropriate channels of communication.