FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4) – The U.S. Forest Service will not charge media outlets to take photos or shoot video during news-gathering operations, it said late Thursday. But what’s still unclear in the agency’s new policy governing photography on federal wilderness land is whether commercial photographers would need to purchase a permit.

“Wilderness has specific congressional designation. It’s there for solitude it’s there to be untrammeled by man, if we’re going to have commercial ventures we need to look at it,” Chris Strebig with the U.S. Forest Service said.

The agency said earlier this week it tweak rules to force news organizations to obtain a permit to shoot video on Forest Service land — except in breaking news situations. It amended that rule Thursday.

“We want people to come out and take pictures of wilderness,” Strebig said. “What these directives are all about is commercial photography.”

The Forest Service has long required commercial photographers to obtain permits. The rule would not apply to recreational photographers.

A public comment period about the rule change has been extended.

But what exact impact it will have on professional photographers who specialize in landscapes is yet to be seen.

“We do want the public’s comments because the Forest Service may not have all the information on what is commercial, what is media, that has evolved with technology and this is an opportunity to allow the public to comment,” Strebig said.

There are 35 wilderness areas in Colorado and its surrounding states.


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