Target: Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell
Goal: Keep photography in federal wilderness areas free
The U.S. Forest Service is in the final stages of introducing a required permit for anyone who wishes to take photographs on federal wilderness land. While many argue that this is in direct violation of certain American rights, the forest service believes the proposed new law would increase protection of wild lands. The permit is expensive and the violation fine is even more costly. Everyone should be allowed to take photographs on federal wilderness land, without worry about obtaining a permit or receiving a fine.
If this measure were to pass, permits would cost up to $1,500 and fines for photographing nature without a permit could reach $1,000. This measure would not only include photographing wildlife, but all of Congress-designated wilderness areas. A family hiking through federal wilderness land would need to possess a permit to photo-document their experience; this is infringement of free speech, protected by America’s First Amendment. Those against the photography measure worry that, if passed, inappropriate government limits on nature photography would ensue. Inappropriate limits could include journalists held at different standards, based on the discretion of the officer handling the case.
There are already permits in place for parking and hiking much of federal wilderness land. Instating a law that would require everyone wishing to photograph federal, wild land would be inappropriate and against First Amendment rights. Urge the Forest Service Chief to stop proceeding with this proposed law, allowing anyone to take photographs of nature without being forced to pay for it.
Dear Mr. Tidwell,
The U.S. Forest Service is attempting to enforce photographs taken on federal wildlife land. If this strict measure becomes law, everyone from journalists to ordinary citizens will be required to obtain a permit before photographing federally-owned wild areas. This decision infringes on citizens’ First Amendment rights.
As you well know, if this measure were to pass, discretion for punishment will be left up to law and park enforcement. Journalists, families, nature photographers, along with many others, will be subject to inappropriate standards fueled by politics. All types of people will be held to different standards, depending on what the individual is photographing and how it will be used.
A hefty fine of $1,000 and a permit price of $1,500 are outrageous. Citizens already pay for recreational use of federal land; permit-only photography of any sort is greed. I urge you, Mr. Tidwell, to reconsider the U.S. Forest Service’s proposal to charge for federal-land photography. Help families and nature-goers keep the freedom of sustaining memories and beauty through photographs. Stop attempting to profit off of the earth’s bounty.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ForestWander via Wikimedia Commons