Skip to comments.Csonka pleads guilty to filming on federal land without permits
Posted on 02/02/2006 7:33:25 AM PST by 11x62
Former NFL star Larry Csonka, the host of a cable television outdoors show, pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegal filming on national forest lands.
As part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Csonka pleaded guilty to knowingly conducting work activity in a national forest without obtaining a special use permit.
Csonka agreed to pay $3,887 in restitution for filming about 10 shows on U.S. Forest Service land, said assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Goeke.
At sentencing April 19, Goeke said, prosecutors will request a sentence of probation for one year and a $5,000 fine.
Csonka could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Csonka is host of "NAPA's North to Alaska," billed as a show on fishing, hunting, history and customs that explores a new area of Alaska each week. The show appears on the Outdoor Life Network.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Csonka admitted that his production company, Zonk! Productions, in August 2002 filmed an episode of what was then called "Stihl's North to Alaska" along the Blind River Area on Mitkoff Island in the Tongass National Forest. The episode was broadcast in May 2003.
A crew filmed another episode in September 2005 in the Alaganik Slough at Cordova, part of the Chugach National Forest, and again did not obtain a special use permit for commercial work, prosecutors said.
Csonka agreed that as a condition of probation, he will not film without obtaining all required permits, Goeke said.
According to prosecutors, Zonk! Productions has filmed in Alaska since 1998.
The maximum penalty for the misdemeanor offense is six months in prison, a $10,000 fine and five years probation.
In September, Csonka was one of six people rescued by the Coast Guard during a harrowing night aboard a rolling and pitching 28-foot boat in the Bering Sea.
Csonka, his partner, a film crew and a guide had been hunting for reindeer on remote Umnak Island in the Aleutian Islands while filming an episode for his television show.
Heading to the Aleut village of Nikolski on the southwest side of the island, the vessel encountered 40-knot winds and waves the Coast Guard said were 9 feet high and those on board said reached 20 feet.
Five miles from the village, the skipper sent out a distress call. Villagers used vehicle headlights to try to guide the vessel but high seas pushed the boat away.
A Coast Guard helicopter from Kodiak lifted off the six people on board one by one using a basket. The vessel was abandoned.
Csonka was a much-heralded fullback at Syracuse University and a first-round draft choice by the Miami Dolphins in 1968.
He appeared with the Dolphins in three Super Bowls from 1971 to 1973 and played on the Dolphin team that was 17-0 in 1972.
He retired in January 1980 and was elected to the pro football Hall of Fame in 1987.
This is what brought them to the attention of the authorities.
Helicopter rescues at sea probably cost a lot of money.
Who even knew this was illegal???
But then, some sports icons feel that they can get away with a lot of things we lesser mortals can't.
I recently took a picture of my wife on federal lands; am I guilty,or does this only apply to "commercial" ventures?
Unless the making of this show had some special impact on the land, this has to be one of the mildest crimes possible
Wow, that will teach him!
I was opposed to the feds charging anyone for filming/photographing on federal lands when this policy was adopted back in the early 1990s. Still am.
These are supposed to be PUBLIC lands remember?
How is this insanity?
Hey, what's up with this? I want to see his shows filmed on Fed land. As a person with a disability, and confined to a wheelchair, I will most likely never be able to see these remote areas. His show allowed me access. This stinks!!! And I protest the court's action.
Doesn't make much sense to me.
Yes, you are right. I don't have a problem with the feds charging for people taking stupid/dangerous risks and for the rescue costs.
I do, howewver, have a problem with them charging the public to photograph/film on PUBLIC property.
Post the pic on your web page, get some google ads to run, and bang! You're a perp.
Was alcohol involved?
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