May 15, 2009 (WASHINGTON D.C.) – Congressman Dan Boren, Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, recently introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would streamline regulations regarding the filming of outdoor programming on federal lands. Outdoor programming, enjoyed by millions of sportsmen and sportswomen across the nation, has become an essential part of demonstrating both the beauty of America’s public lands and also why they are set aside for public use.
“Outdoor programs play a critical role in furthering the message of conservation and providing access to public lands for citizens who may otherwise never have the chance to experience these national treasures,” Boren said. “The lands themselves are widely considered beautiful and worthy of protections in part because of the role these productions play in showcasing them to a broad audience.”
Much of the filming on public lands is done by small independent producers with crews of only a few people that have no more impact on the landscape or the public’s use of the resource than any other visiting park user. Despite this, these small crews, often only one cameraman and one operator, are subject to the same fees as a major Hollywood-style production and current regulations do not take into account their lower impact.
“I think everyone can understand the agencies’ desire to limit the potential impact an activity can have on our public lands,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. “Producers of outdoor television programs showcase our public lands and contribute significantly to the conservation, promotion, use, and enjoyment of these national treasures.”
The legislation, H.R. 2031, would direct the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to create an annual permit and fee for commercial filming activities on Federal land for film crews of 5 persons or less. Currently, fees and permits are used to help offset any impact made to public lands, but for the average hunting or fishing program the present rate is completely incompatible with the impact they actually make. The criteria for granting permits are most often inconsistently applied at the discretion of regional managers. H.R. 2031 would create a separate guideline and fee schedule to be truly reflective of the impact small crews’ activity has on the Federal land.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation recently authored and gathered signature on a letter from a number of outdoor and sporting advocacy groups supporting this legislation including: American Fisheries Society, American Sportfishing Association, Archery Trade Association, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley Conservation Institute, Boone and Crockett Club, Bowhunting Preservation Alliance, Campfire Club of America, Catch-A-Dream Foundation, Conservation Force, Dallas Safari Club, Mule Deer Foundation, National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, North American Bear Foundation, North American Grouse Partnership, Pheasants Forever, Pure Fishing, Quality Deer Management Association, Quail Forever, Ruffed Grouse Society, Safari Club International, Texas Wildlife Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Wild Sheep Foundation, and Wildlife Forever.