Davenport can’t scale Forest Service rules
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Aspenite Chris Davenport’s plan to show a film of him skiing 14,000-foot high peaks in Colorado has run into a challenge as great as the feat itself.
The White River National Forest and five other national forests in Colorado denied two requests by Davenport and filmmaker Ben Galland to commercially film him skiing high peaks within wilderness, White River Forest Supervisor Maribeth Gustafson announced Monday.
The U.S. Forest Service concluded the film would not promote the wilderness characteristics of solitude and untrammeled nature, according to a statement released by the agency.
Davenport, 36, successfully completed a goal to climb and ski all 54 of the “fourteeners” in Colorado within one year. He accomplished his goal on Jan. 19 with three days to spare.
Rich Doak, the acting recreation staff officer in the White River, headquartered in Glenwood Springs, said the agency wasn’t discrediting Davenport’s accomplishment. However, agency officials felt the film does not promote wilderness values or ethics but rather focuses on the concept of the “ski challenge.”
“Really good skiing doesn’t promote wilderness,” Doak said.
Some groups will applaud the decision as upholding the ideals of wilderness while others will feel the Forest Service is overreacting, he said.
“This is about us looking at our direction and making a tough decision,” Doak said.
The case is strange because some of the film footage was shot before Forest Service authorization was sought, according to the agency. The decision will require Davenport and Galland to remove the footage shot on peaks within wilderness or risk a fine, jail time or both.
Commercially filming in wilderness without permission could be punishable by a $5,000 fine, up to six months in jail or some combination.
Davenport said he will comply with the Forest Service decision, even though he feels strongly that the film promoted wilderness values.
“I’m a little bit disturbed by their take on that,” he said.
The film will be significantly different but salvagable without footage from peaks located within wilderness, according to Davenport.
See Tuesday’s Aspen Times for more on the Forest Service’s decison and Davenport’s film.
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