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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reality TeeVee comes to Hoquiam

While this is certainly a lovely example of father/son bonding, learning that Ax Men didn't bother to check and see if the logging company actually had the necessary permits to harvest trees from underwater state properties has a certain irony.

“We determined that this outfit was taking logs that were submerged in the mud,” Raedel said. “They were taking it illegally.”

Greg Hueckel, fish and wildlife habitat programs director, said logs in the river belong to the state.

“We’re just kind of waiting,” he said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to be arrested.”

About 10 law enforcement vehicles lined Panhandle Road near the Hoquiam River as Seattle camera crews closed in on the property shortly before 2 p.m. Television news helicopters hovered overhead.

Deputies and officers from the state Department of Fish & Wildlife cataloged the evidence, measuring logs and marking different equipment. A salvage barge was impounded.

In the show’s first episode, Smith’s barge hit the bottom of the Riverside Bridge in Hoquiam because he was traveling on a high tide. The episode ended without any success in obtaining a sunken log.

In the show’s second episode aired this week, Smith’s barge had engine problems, then the motor for his winch ran out of gas as he was trying to pull an old growth log stuck in the Hoquiam River. Smith said on the show he figured the log was worth $10,000 and could be used to carve musical instruments. The episode again ended without any success.

I think this phenomenon can be categorized as "Logger Fail"

UPDATE: It doesn't take long for the wing nuts to pipe in:
DNR, commissioner overreact to “Ax Men” issue
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Department of Natural Resources shows it prefers punishment over cooperation. The recent felony charges filed against S&S Aqua Logging for removing old growth snags from the Hoquiam River seem to be an overreaction to what really may have been a misunderstanding.

My wife and I saw the Ax Men episode in question and were delighted with the good things it showed about the area. While the Friday press release cites DNR Commissioner Goldmark’s principle of conducting work in the public’s interest, doesn’t the good publicity of the local area’s scenic beauty, the marketing of old growth timber’s aesthetic uses, the dedication and hard work (and colorful language) of local work force, and the film crews’ expenditures also benefit us?

In one swipe of its mighty ax, DNR has alienated the History Channel, and likely other production companies. Goldmark’s stating that “the History Channel has chosen to glorify illegal activity” defames a respected film company unless the History Channel actually knew the activity was illegal. As an attorney he should have known better than to potentially slander the History Channel.

Is Washington state now going to be avoided by the film industry? What film company now wants to worry about over-reaction of local and state authorities?

DNR could have handled this quietly but instead chose to set an example, while alienating those who could benefit our community.

Randy Dutton



mjs said...

Heh-heh. Once upon a time I worked for a low budget documentary company in Los Angeles. Various field & coordinating producers worked hard to get usable footage and meet deadlines, etc. The problem sometimes became about permission: permission to shoot at a certain location or to show a certain person on camera. Releases were of course required, but even without them sometimes footage was slipped into a cut that did not have proper clearance. Invariably the footage would be vetted by the clearance department, and sure enough X amount of footage would be removed from a show, and the producer would just shake his or her head ("darn it--that was good stuff").

I wonder if there was anyone at the production company that produced the show for the History Channel that ever bothered to review the content for its legal ramifications. My guess is that they didn't, perhaps knowing it would not be their asses on the line if a violation of the law took place. It is also true that they probably didn't bother to check. Ah, the magic of television!


SeattleTammy said...

Ya know mjs, this is my top view-getter this month. Wonder why no-ones leaving comments? Maybe they were expecting something different?

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