Forests

Chief Tidwell Directs Forest Service: No Permits, Fees for Journos

"News coverage on [National Forest System] lands is protected by the Constitution," wrote U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas L. Tidwell in a November 4, 2014, memo to agency leaders, "and it is our responsibility to safeguard this right on the lands we manage for all Americans. Journalists provide a critical public service, and this agency will ensure their access in the pursuit of that public service."

17 J-Groups Join SEJ in Letter on Wildlands Photo Regs

Eighteen journalism, photography, and First Amendment groups on October 1, 2014, wrote U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell opposing the proposal to finalize a directive requiring permits for "commercial filming" in Forest Service Wilderness areas. Tidwell has already said the USFS does not want to restrict journalism on wilderness lands, but the groups seek changes to regulatory language that would make this clear. SEJ is one of the groups.

"In Alaska, a Battle to Keep Trees, or an Industry, Standing"

"The Tongass National Forest, a panoply of snow-dusted peaks and braided rivers, slender fjords and more than 5,000 islands draped over a stretch of Pacific coastline, is widely viewed as one of America’s great natural treasures. Under pressure from environmentalists, the Obama administration pledged four years ago to phase out logging of virgin woodlands here."

Source: NY Times, 09/29/2014

SEJ FOI Chair Talks to Forest Service Chief Tidwell

After proposing a directive that seemed to require permits and fees for journalists working in U.S. Forest Service wilderness lands, the USFS announced that it had never intended the restrictions to apply to journalists. Tim Wheeler, chairman of the Society of Environmental Journalists' Freedom of Information Task Force, talked with USFS Chief TomTidwell to clarify the USFS position. Here's his report.

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