May 20, 2010
BOISE -- The U.S. Forest Service is now investigating a forest supervisor's decision to keep Idaho Public Television out of the 2.3-million acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area.
Gov. Butch Otter had some strong words for the Forest Service after learning about the ban, saying the move "defies common sense."
Idaho Public Television says they have been filming in wilderness areas for more than three decades but were denied the request to tape in Frank Church because they claim this type of shoot is commercial, and therefore not allowed.
IPTV was planning on taping part of a documentary in the forest about kids from across the country working on trails and exploring the wilderness as part of the Student Conservation Association Program.
In an e-mail from Frank Guzman, the Forest Supervisor for the Salmon-Challis National Forest, he says, "our FCRONR (Frank Church River of No Return) plan and our experts in Special Uses and Wilderness Management Office all agree that this sort of shooting is commercial, and thus not allowed in the wilderness."
"We were baffled and very honestly, we're very concerned, a little angry that why would this come up after many, many decades of shooting that we've done in the wilderness area," said IPTV General Manager Peter Morrill.
Otter's spokesman Jon Hanian reacted to claims that this documentary is being used for commercial purposes.
"The Forest Service interpretation that the Idaho Public Television is a commercial entity, when in fact the IRS and the FCC both say they're non-profit public, educational tool which is why they're governed by the State Board of Education," said Hanian.
Morrill says he's concerned that this ruling could put the future of their videotaping in these locations in jeopardy.
The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area is the largest protected wilderness area in the U.S. outside of Alaska.
Associated Press contributed to this report.
The News Story posted here is provided by permission of its original publisher and does not necessarily reflect the views of Idaho Public Television.