Wilderness photographers caught up in U.S. Forest Service permit proposal
Update: A spokesperson for the Forest Service clarified the matter. Speaking to the Washington Post, Tom Tidwell, chief of the Forest Service stated that based on feedback to the initial wording in the proposal, changes will be made to assure that the directive won't be used to block media or private individuals from photographing national wilderness areas.
A proposed directive from the U.S. Forest Service that aims to protect federal wilderness from commercial exploitation may end up restraining photographers as well. Under the proposed restrictions, any individual or entity poised to reap commercial gain from photographing or filming federal lands in the U.S. will need a permit.
|Quinault Rain Forest, part of the Olympic National Forest in Washington.|
To get this permit, one must submit his or her intentions to the agency and then wait for approval, which would come from a Forest Service supervisor who could deny it. Proceeding to photograph or film commercially without a permit would result in a $1,000 fine.
Though this directive has been in existence for approximately 2 years, efforts to enforce it are now under way, spurring criticism that it is too broad in its limitations. Concerns about stifling media have arisen, but beyond that, some commenters are concerned that the directive might in theory be applied to any independent photographer who takes an image while on federal land with the intention to later sell it as a print.
According to the Statesman Journal, responses about whether the directive will require independent photographers to get a permit have been 'conflicting'. The public has been given the opportunity to review the entire proposal and submit comments until November 3.
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