...wondering if the USFS did authorize
(Note: This letter was sent to U.S. Forest Service Kawishiwi District Ranger Gus Smith)
It was nice to meet you at our August township meeting.
At that meeting I asked if the Freemans had a permit to advertise with props from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and you said you did not know, but would find out.
As you know, Dave and Amy Freeman have been living in the BWCAW wilderness for the past year in order to garner support for opposition to the proposed Twin Metals mine, which is located outside of the BWCAW.
Over the past year that the Freemans have been blogging from the BWCAW, I have noticed that they have referenced, with links, the companies that have sponsored this year long trip. These links have been accompanied with pictures that were obviously set up to show the products of the companies that have sponsored this trip.
Some of the products mentioned with props and pictures are, Seek Outside Tents, Granite Gear, Trailtopia, Patagonia Provisions, Cliff Bar, Stone Creek Coffee, Bio Lite Stove, Seven Sundays Oatmeal, Black River Sleds, Cooke Custom Sewing, along with others.
All of the companies referenced, with photos and props were sponsors of the Freemans year long trip and all photos included links to the various product websites and /or Instagram or Facebook pages.
The rules for using photography with props for advertising a product in a wilderness area are quite clear, stating that “the Forest will authorize commercial filming or photography in wilderness areas only when all of the following apply, and there is still no guarantee of a permit:
“The proponent can adequately demonstrate that a wilderness setting is necessary.
“No reasonable alternative exists to achieve the same effect on either NFS land or other ownership outside of the wilderness.”
These rules are applicable in addition to other regulations regarding photos which advertise a product in the wilderness.
While, I realize the Freemans did not have radio or TV ads per se, it seems that, with 7000+ followers, this constitutes using photography in the wilderness for commercial purposes. In fact, some of the companies that the Freemans referenced shared the original photos on their own Instagram or Facebook pages.
So, I am wondering if the USFS did authorize this advertising from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and, if so, why the Freemans would have been given special treatment as far as commercial photography in this wilderness area.
Thanks in advance for your attention to this question.