US Forest Service Isn't Curtailing Photography

There has been somewhat of a storm brewing this week about the US Forest Service instituting a policy that was said to require photographers to apply for a permit to shoot in national forests or risk a fine of up to $1,500. Despite the fact that the Service issued a clarification of the proposed rules on September 25, making it abundantly clear that they would only apply to commercial photographers and videographers working with props and a crew and that the fees would be minimal, the story has kept on gathering steam and resulted in unwarranted outrage among photographers.

It looked like a storm in a glass of water from the get-go, blown out of proportion by some eager reporters at local papers and The Washington Post. Yet, our favorite photography site managed to pick up the story yesterday and later issued an update, clarifying the Forest Service's real stance via a link to a story in The Washington Post on September 26.

Fact is that the Service clarified its position a week ago and that all the excitement among the photographic community was wasted energy. The press release by the National Forest Service from September 25 contains  the following key sentence: "The proposal does not change the rules for visitors or recreational photographers. Generally, professional and amateur photographers will not need a permit unless they use models, actors or props; work in areas where the public is generally not allowed; or cause additional administrative costs."

It seemed a good story, but it wasn't one. Sorry.

By John van Rosendaal