Sen. Udall opposes Forest Service proposal to require permits for wilderness photography
Sen. Mark Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, called on the U.S. Forest Service on Thursday, Sept. 25, to reverse course on a proposed rule that would require expensive permits for journalists and others who wish to take photos and video in wilderness areas.
“A picture is worth a thousand words, but the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed rule on wilderness photography conjures only one: wrong. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, we should be encouraging all visitors to share photos of these special places — not imposing erroneous red tape on journalists and other visitors whose tourism drives our local economies,” Udall said.
The Forest Service rules would require media organizations to obtain a permit to film and shoot photos in more than 100 million acres of the nation’s wilderness. The Forest Service would consider the nature of a proposed project before approving a special-use permit, then charge fees of up to $1,500 for commercial filming and photography in federally designated wilderness areas.
Opponents say the rule is a clear violation of First Amendment rights, while the agency says the rule enforces the Wilderness Act’s prohibition of commercial enterprise in wilderness. Those who violate the rules could face fines up to $1,000.
The proposal would make permanent rules that have been in place for two years. Public comments on the proposal, available on the Federal Register’s website, are due by Nov. 3.
PROMOTING THE PLUG-INS
The newly formed Electric Vehicle Industry Association announced Tuesday, Sept. 23, its incorporation as a Colorado nonprofit trade association.
The association will be a membership-based organization dedicated to pursuing legislative and regulatory policies that support increased usage of electric vehicles throughout Colorado.
“Electric vehicles are the future of transportation and the shift will happen quickly. It is predicted that 15 percent of new cars sold by 2020 will be EVs and we need to ensure that Colorado’s laws and regulations are prepared for this coming sea change,” said Meghan Nutting, the group’s executive director.
“As more and more consumers learn about and buy electric vehicles, they become impressed by both the driving experience and the low cost of maintenance and fuel. For example, it only costs me about $1 in electricity to drive my EV from Denver to Boulder,” said Jim Burness, the group’s board president and CEO of National Car Charging. “We need to make sure that Colorado’s laws keep up with new technologies and changes in demand.”
Colorado has about 3,000 electric vehicles, according to the group. To learn more, visit driveelectricweek.org.
REDUCING WILDLIFE-LIVESTOCK CONFLICT
Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program is now accepting applications for $500,000 in grants to fund large-scale habitat improvement projects across Colorado.
Created by Parks and Wildlife and authorized by the state legislature in 1990, the program brings wildlife managers, hunters, landowners and land-management agencies together in a cooperative effort to reduce big game damages to forage and fences. Project proposals for this grant opportunity must be developed to reduce big game and agricultural conflicts.
Wildlife managers and private landowners both say that large-scale habitat rehabilitation not only enhances forage for wildlife but also improves conditions for livestock as well, creating a “win-win” situation.
The program is funded from a portion of the revenue generated by the sale of big-game hunting licenses but also asks for matching funds and labor from project proponents.
Any interested agency, organization or individual can download the application at cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/HabitatPartnershipProgram.aspx. The deadline is Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. Up to five successful applicants will be awarded grants of $100,000 or more.
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