May 20, 2010

Idaho PTV wilderness filming banned for being "commercial"

A forest supervisor's decision to stop Idaho Public Television from filming in a wilderness area has sparked a U.S. Forest Service investigation, reports the Associated Press. Even Gov. Butch Otter called the ban an "ill-advised decision." IPTV has been filming in the 2.3-million acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area for more than 30 years but this year was told the shoot is considered commercial, and therefore prohibited. "If Ansel Adams were alive today and wanted to bring his camera into the Frank Church wilderness, would the Forest Service let him?" said IPTV g.m. Peter Morrill. The station wanted to send one cameraman to film students doing conservation work for its Outdoor Idaho.

UPDATE: Good news for IPTV. On May 21, the Forest Service issued this statement: "After careful review, the U.S. Forest Service has moved to allow filming by an Idaho Public Television crew in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Nationally, we want to improve access, and increase public understanding of the importance of national forests, grasslands and wilderness areas. One of the ways we can do this is through the media. An assessment of current policy will be completed soon that will address the need for media related activities on National Forest System land."

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