1st Amendment Alarm: USFS Says Media Need Photo Permit in Wilderness

"The U.S. Forest Service has tightened restrictions on media coverage in vast swaths of the country's wild lands, requiring reporters to pay for a permit and get permission before shooting a photo or video in federally designated wilderness areas.

Under rules being finalized in November, a reporter who met a biologist, wildlife advocate or whistleblower alleging neglect in any of the nation's 100 million acres of wilderness would first need special approval to shoot photos or videos even on an iPhone.

Permits cost up to $1,500, says Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers, and reporters who don't get a permit could face fines up to $1,000.

First Amendment advocates say the rules ignore press freedoms and are so vague they'd allow the Forest Service to grant permits only to favored reporters shooting videos for positive stories."

Rob Davis reports for the Portland Oregonian September 23, 2014.


"U.S. Forest Service Wants To Charge $1,500 To Take Photos on Federal Wild Lands" (Washington Post)

"Proposed Rules By Forest Service Would Require Media To Get Permits To Film in Wilderness" (AP)

"Forest Service Seeks To Limit Journalists' Access to Wilderness Lands" (SEJ WatchDog)

"7 Things You Should Know About the Forest Service's Media Restrictions in Wilderness" (Portland Oregonian)

"Feds Want To Restrict Filming in Wilderness Areas" (Salem Statesman Journal)

"Idaho Public Television Plans 'Vigorous' Fight Against Forest Service Filming Restrictions" (Boise State Public Radio)

"US Forest Service Seeks To Protect Wilderness From Pesky Journalists; Press Association Cries Foul" (International Business Times)

"Forest Service Tightening Photo, Video Rules" (The Hill)

Source: Portland Oregonian, 09/25/2014