This story has been around the web for the last couple of days on photography forums, drone/quadcopter forums, and that bastion of complete and total factual information called Facebook. And there's been a lot of misplaced outrage.
Problem is, most of the linked stories are critically incomplete, which makes them inaccurate. The important two items the links commonly leave out are:
1. It applies only to commercial photography, and,
2. Only to Congressionally designated wilderness areas that are under the purvue of the US Forest Service.
Even the Washington Post was short on the facts, or they deliberately left them out. With the drastic drop in reporting quality (fact checking is a lost art over there) and the increase of Copy & Paste Journalism at the Post over the past few years, who's to say?
The rule doesn't apply to the general public. Unless you are a commercial operation doing filming in said designated wilderness areas, you can still take pictures of most USFS stuff all you want
. No permit required, no fines incurred.
The rule is 4 years old. The USFS is just cracking down now. This isn't really news, other than it just got traction on the web this week.
Here's the article that I believe started the whole hoo-rah, and then was passed along minus the important bits:
...and another later article: