Rockledge Park has some of the most beautiful scenery of all the parks on Lake Grapevine. It is a joy both to visit and to embark on an afternoon photo shoot there. We have taken a number of great photos inside that park. In fact, last year we were quite surprised that the early versions of the Grapevine Parks Master Plan included some of our copyrighted photos (without permission mind you, but we will save that story for another day since it is not the point of this article).
In addition to running this website, we also run the largest, most informative site on the internet about Lake Grapevine. Even though the Lake Grapevine site is smaller, we receive just as many emails from readers of that site as we do from GTO readers.
Since the inception of the Lake Grapevine site, we have received a number of complaints and questions about the photography policy at Rockledge Park. We have heard stories of park patrol “gestapo” stopping people from using “professional looking cameras” inside the park. Does this strike anyone else as absolute madness? This is a public park.
We took a look at the official website of the City of Grapevine and found this note:
Photography that involves photographing people (whether individual or groups) inside of Rockledge Park requires a signed contract and pre-payment of $50.00 per hour (with a one hour minimum). To schedule your appointment, complete your contract and make arrangements for payment, please contact Mona Burk.
Note: it does not say anything about using professional looking cameras.
Is it even legal to stop anyone from taking photos of any sort inside Rockledge Park? Our guess is that it is not legal and here is why:
Our visit to the Photographer’s Rights webpage by attorney Bert P. Krages led us to this excerpt:
The General Rule
The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks.
Did you notice the part in there about public parks? It is pretty hard to miss.
We also noted the part in there about “absent specific legal ordinance.” Given that, we took to scouring the ordinances of the City of Grapevine for anything resembling limiting photography rights in Rockledge Park, but our searches came up empty. We contacted the City of Grapevine and they confirmed there is not a city ordinance prohibiting photography in Rockledge Park.
Since there is not an ordinance, the city should remove the wording from its website and ask the park patrol to stop harassing visitors to our city and our parks.