MISSOULA, Mont. – Leadership of the Outdoor Writers Association of America has commented on U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas L. Tidwell’s Nov. 4, 2014, letter of intent regarding the proposed directive for commercial filming in wilderness.
Chief Tidwell’s letter responded to concerns raised by OWAA and others that the proposed directive could require media outlets to pay for special-use permits before they film or take photos in federally designated wilderness areas, thereby severely hampering researching and reporting abilities by the media.
“The Outdoor Writers Association of America is pleased that Chief Tidwell has taken this action to clarify his intent regarding the proposed directive,” said OWAA President Mark Freeman, outdoors columnist for the Mail Tribune in Medford, Oregon.
“His recognition that journalists ‘provide a critical public service’ and that ‘journalism is not to be considered a commercial activity’ is clear guidance to the field and we are encouraging our members to rely upon it to continue to do their work on National Forest System lands.”
“OWAA will be submitting comments and attending public meetings to make our views known,” said OWAA Executive Director Tom Sadler.
“In the meantime we appreciate the Chief’s ongoing involvement and this recent action.”
The Chief’s letter notes “Journalism includes, but is not limited to: breaking news, b-roll, feature news, news documentaries, long-form pieces, background, blogs, and any other act that could be considered related to news-gathering.”
Download a PDF copy of Chief Tidwell’s letter (https://owaa.org/file/20141104CommercialFilming&PhotographyPermits.pdf)