The following comment was posted on Idaho Conservation League’s blog in response to their 5/20 post, “Wilderness Take Two.”
Filming in the Wilderness
Posted by Nellie Bunce at Jun 04, 2010 09:17 AM
I was the crew leader on the Trails project, of which was the center of this controversy.
The film crew from IPTV was allowed on our trail project.
I withdrew my consent to be filmed as I have strong beliefs that this type of filming should NOT ever be allowed in our Wilderness areas.
My suspicion that this filming was completely unnecessary was confirmed shortly after our trail work began. We were working the Camas Creek Trail, which begins in the Salmon-Challis National Forest and after 4 miles or so it crosses into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The film crew would ask several times a day if we could move any faster, If we really needed to fix everything on the trail, When we would get to the wilderness boundary, all the time with the tone of hurry, hurry, hurry....
It was ridiculous. When we finally moved across the wilderness boundary the cameraman stayed long enough to film 2 of my crew members put up a tent and then the cameraman left. Not a single second of trail conservation work was filmed inside the wilderness. This section of filming for, Outdoor Idaho, was a joke. They could easily have filmed outside of the wilderness and avoided this argument altogether and in doing so showed a concerned and valid wilderness ethic, instead of making a mockery of our last best places, our wilderness.
I would have left a response on the most recent version of this issue (Sept version of Wilderness Watcher titled "Avatar II Coming to a Wilderness Near You") but could not find it on-line yet.
Yep, it would have been a no-brainer to suggest the non-wilderness location, so it begs the question, where were our rangers and wilderness managers. Perhaps they contributed to the initial refusal, but they also needed to provide decision makers alternatives, especially when political heat was evident. Gvien the on-ground actions of IPTV as reported by the trail crew leader, it appears a meeting should have been held to understand what the station was after and to perhaps educate them better in the process.
Requests for filming on NF's has grown over the years and has prompted the agency to update it proceedures for dealing with these requests. But this also reflects the fact that this activity also comes under the authority of special-use permits (SUP). While some of us are aware of outfitter guide activities, authorization of a SUP is not supposed to be automatic, it must be evaluated and meet certain criterior. I recall our District/Forest rejecting SUP requests in the past. Even activities that are't determined to be "commerical" are often required for a free use permit just so the agency can add mitigations an dlimitations to the activity. Your article didn't mention whether they were given a SUP?
The Sept article in the WW newsletter talked about how the agency made an interim ruling which has the potential to allow morning filming in Wilderness. This is extremely troubling and I would like more detail on this. What is the ruling called, is it a change to SUP regulations or some other area, has it been made available yet for public response etc.
In a related thought, I can't recall in the series by Ken Burns on the National Park's whether any of the areas filmed were in the NPS Wildernesses, but I bet they were. Has anyone also researched the process and permissions that might have been granted in the situation?
We'll be posting an update soon on the latest regarding commercial filming on public lands and in Wilderness.
We're not sure whether IDPT was given a special use permit, but it's likely.
I will email you the new iterim ruling.
And, as for the Ken Burns filming, we don't know whether any filming was done in NPS Wildernesses.
Thanks for your comment.