This has nothing to do with land use, suburbs, or Lake Oswego, but it is a great example of how petty bureaucrats are archiving power (or trying to) over the public they are supposed to serve. This, of course is so outrageous that it is easy to condemn, but the desire to exert control over others seems irresistible these days. There just doesn't seem to be enough humility and respect to go around anymore.
7 things you should know about the Forest Service's media restrictions in wilderness
The Oregonian, September 24, 2014 By Rob Davis
As we reported, under rules being finalized, a reporter who shot a video or photo on an iPhone in 36 million acres of wilderness would first need to pay for a special permit.
Permits cost up to $1,500, says Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers, and reporters who don't get them 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.
Our story drew swift outrage from across the country.
"What does the Forest Service plan to do next—monitor Instagram accounts and fine users that post pictures of our wilderness areas?" asked U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat. "I will organize and send the Forest Service a bipartisan letter telling them the current rule is unacceptable and that it needs to be fixed."
Here are seven key things you should know about the policy.
1. These rules are already in place. The Forest Service says they've been in place for 48 months and are now being chaptered in law.
The agency adopted the rules shortly after it refused to allow an Idaho Public Television crew into a wilderness area in 2010 to film student conservation workers because the show sold DVDs of its episodes. Idaho's governor intervened and the Forest Service caved to pressure.
2. This isn't just about the media. The policy applies to documentary film crews, nonprofits and private citizens who might use a photo or video to sell something or earned a salary while in the wilderness area. They'd need a special permit first.
3. The policy narrowly defines the circumstances when media wouldn't need a special permit to shoot photos or videos. It allows for photos and videos during breaking news events, describing them as "an event or incident that arises suddenly, evolves quickly, and rapidly ceases to be newsworthy."
But many events, like large wildfires, can arise suddenly and last for weeks.
4. The Forest Service couldn't provide any actual examples of what problems it's trying to address. Liz Close, the agency's acting wilderness director, said the agency was implementing the Wilderness Act of 1964, which aims to protect wilderness areas from being exploited for commercial gain.
"It's not a problem, it's a responsibility," she said. "We have to follow the statutory requirements."
Another federal agency that also manages wilderness areas, the Bureau of Land Management, does not require any special permit for newsgathering.
5. The Forest Service is giving itself wide discretion to decide when it would and wouldn't grant a special permit. "If you were engaged on reporting that was in support of wilderness characteristics, that would be permitted," Close said.
Press advocates worry that would allow the agency to squelch coverage of stories it didn't like.
6. The rules apply across huge swaths of Oregon and the West. More than 63,000 acres on Mount Hood is federally designated wilderness, including the peak. Oregon has 48 wilderness areas, including parts of Mount Jefferson and Mount Washington.
7. A serious fight is brewing. Gregg Leslie, legal defense director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Alexandria, Va., said his organization would consider suing over the plan if the Forest Service continues to pursue it. The National Press Photographers Associationalso said it would also weigh litigation.
Those interested in commenting on the proposal can do so online.
The areas in green in this photo show where the rules apply around the Pacific Northwest.