It's pretty by the ocean. So pretty that it feels like 80 percent of all car commercials are filmed on winding coastal roads (another 80 percent are filmed on mountains and another 80 on mysteriously car-free roads elsewhere). It's particularly pretty in Humboldt County, California, which the USDA has named "America's Most Scenic Rural County." So, it makes sense that you'd want to film a Ram truck commercial there. What doesn't make sense is getting that truck stuck in the tidepools, overnight, then submerged as the ocean came rolling in.
But that's exactly what happened to a crew trying to film an ad for a Ram 2500 Power Wagon yesterday. As reported in the Lost Coast Outpost, the truck was being shot on Luffenholtz Beach near Moonstone Beach. Humboldt County Film Commission commissioner Cassandra Hesseltine told AutoblogGreen that, from what she knows, the crew was permitted to be there, but in a different area and they went out of the boundary. "Whether they knew they were out of the boundaries or not I do not know," she said. A local wrote into Lost Coast Outpost to say that off-road vehicles are always forbidden on the specific area of the beach where the truck spent the night in the ocean, because of endangered species that live there.
"Whether they knew they were out of the boundaries or not I do not know."
In any case, the truck was eventually towed today and local environmental services and hazmat crews checked out the scene and, based on what Hesseltine was told, there was, "no environmental damage from liquids leaking out" and she was not aware of any damage to the rocks or ground. Part of the reason there were no leaked liquids, she said, was that this was a brand new truck, with many engine components sealed.
Jennifer Savage, from the local Humboldt Surfrider foundation, told AutoblogGreen that she is extremely dismayed by the film crew's lack of foresight. "It's easy to imagine," she said. "They were driving the truck on the beach, they wanted it to look cool, so they put it on the rocks, and they blew it. The word 'idiots' has been thrown around here a lot today."
Savage said that, after a visit to the site once the truck was pulled out, "At a glance, it does not appear a lot of damage was done, but I'm not a scientist. Still, it's pretty disrespectful. I have a truck, and I don't drive there." She said the incident shows a lack of respect for the beach and that Surfrider will follow up to see if any damage was done.
Hesseltine said this is the first time something like this has happened and that the film commission "prides itself on taking responsibility for environmental concerns. We do not take this [truck issue] lightly. We're happy to know that environmental services has said there is no impact as far as fluids go. We usually do really well taking care of our precious resources." For example, the new Will Smith movie After Earth was shot in Humboldt, and the crews were required to be extremely careful while filming among the redwood trees. "They had to be very careful," she said, "and they were."
As an organization dedicated to the enjoyment and protection of Humboldt County's beaches and waves, Humboldt Surfrider is extremely dismayed at the film crew's lack of foresight and will be following up with the appropriate agencies to ensure that restoration and/or compensation for any damage is forthcoming. We also hope to work with the Humboldt Film Commission and relevant government agencies to ensure this sort of carelessness does not happen again. We have people on the scene and will share information as the situation develops.