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OWAA submits comments on the U.S. Forest Service proposed directive for commercial filming in wilderness

OWAA President Mark Freeman: 541-840-9477
OWAA Executive Director Tom Sadler: 406-552-4049

MISSOULA, Mont. – The Outdoor Writers Association of America has submitted comments to the U.S. Forest Service on the proposed directive for commercial filming in wilderness.

OWAA’s comments recommend that the directive specifically exempt professional journalists, either working on media staff, working on an assignment for a media outlet or gathering information, images or footage with the intent to publish or air them in a media outlet.

“OWAA members appreciate and value the Forest Service, and specifically Chief Tidwell, reaching out and requesting our input in codifying rules that restrict the improper commercialization of federally designated wilderness areas without restraining the reporting dynamics of outdoor communicators,” said OWAA President Mark Freeman, outdoors columnist for the Mail Tribune in Medford, Oregon. “Our work brings real wilderness to life for Americans, our readers and viewers and owners of these spectacular lands.”

OWAA also recommended adding two definitions to the language, one defining “constitutionally protected activity of journalists” and one defining “journalist.” The first definition incorporates some of the language Chief Tidwell spelled out in his Nov. 4 letter stating his intentions for the rule. The second definition acknowledges the various kinds of journalists currently working in federally designated wilderness areas.


OWAA encourages our members to read the proposed directive and provide comments before the Dec. 3, 2014, deadline. (

Download a PDF of OWAA’s comments (

Download a PDF copy of Chief Tidwell’s letter (

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