Posts tagged: u.s. forest service
Though the chief of the U.S. Forest Service now says controversial permit requirements for filming and photography on forest lands never were intended to apply to journalists, crews for Idaho Public Television’s “Outdoor Idaho” program have repeatedly been told they need permits to film. The most recent incidents occurred in August and September in North Idaho and eastern Idaho.
Reporter Melissa Davlin said she and photographer Jay Krajic were allowed to film at a garnet-digging site on Forest Service land in North Idaho, near Clarkia, in mid-August, but the Forest Service contacted her afterward asking her to fill out a retroactive permit application. Earlier this month, an Idaho Public TV employee who was working on an “Outdoor Idaho” project at Bear Lake in eastern Idaho was sent an email notifying her that a “permit is required of anyone filming on National Forest System lands unless it is breaking news.” Both incidents were outside of wilderness areas, on National Forest lands. You can read our full story here at spokesman.com.
Faced with increasing criticism of a proposal that would restrict media filming in wilderness areas, the head of the U.S. Forest Service said late Thursday that the rule is not intended to apply to news-gathering activities, the AP reports. The rule would apply to commercial filming, like a movie production, but reporters and news organizations would not need to get a permit to shoot video or photographs in the nation's wilderness areas, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told the AP in a phone interview Thursday.
“The U.S. Forest Service remains committed to the First Amendment,” he said, adding: “It does not infringe in any way on First Amendment rights. It does not apply to news-gathering activities, and that includes any part of news.” Forest Service officials had said earlier in the week that news organizations, except in breaking news situations, would be required to obtain a permit and follow a number of criteria if they wanted to film in designated wilderness areas; reporters and photographers in several states, including Idaho, say they've already been told they need permits. Click below for a full report from the AP in Seattle; the Oregonian has a full report here. The comment period on making the rule permanent has now been extended to Dec. 3.
The U.S. Forest Service is proposing permanent new rules that would require media organizations to obtain a permit to film and shoot photographs in more than 100 million acres of the nation's wilderness, the AP reports, and the rules also are being applied outside wilderness areas on some national forest lands. Under the plan, the Forest Service would consider the nature of a proposed project before approving a special use permit then charge fees of up to $1,500 for commercial filming and photography in federally designated wilderness areas.
Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, told the AP such rules would be a clear violation of the First Amendment and raises concerns about press freedom, including whether denying a permit would amount to prior restraint. Idaho Public Television already has run into problems with the rules in reporting its “Outdoor Idaho” program. The Oregonian has a full report here; click below for a full report from the AP in Seattle. You can submit comments on the proposed rule here.
Idaho and Clearwater counties have filed a federal lawsuit over a Clearwater National Forest travel plan that closed off 200 miles of national forest trails to motorized vehicles, contending the Forest Service didn't adequately consult with local officials when they enacted the plan last year. “We thought we better take a stand,” Clearwater County Commissioner Don Ebert told The Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/1bA6PyL). “We get ran over all the time by the Forest Service. We picked a battle where we think we are on solid ground and hope we will prevail.” Click below for a full report from the Lewiston Tribune via the Associated Press.
A Caldwell family is suing the U.S. Forest Service for more than $1 million, the AP reports, after a large dead tree at a remote campsite fell and injured their then-6-year-old son during a camping trip in 2010. A wind gust blew down the dead tree in the Boise National Forest; the family contends the Forest Service was negligent because it didn’t remove the dead tree and it posed a hazard at the campsite. You can read the AP’s full report here.
The Forest Service has issued new temporary guidelines on filming in wilderness areas under its jurisdiction, but they’re kicking off even more controversy in a debate that began when Idaho Public TV was first refused permission to film a student conservation project in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, then granted permission after Gov. Butch Otter and Congressman Mike Simpson complained. Click below to read a full report from AP reporter John Miller.