The United States Forest Service is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands, which encompass 193 million acres. Major divisions of the agency include the National Forest System, State and Private Forestry, and the Research and Development branch.
The Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) Program, commonly known as the Smokey Bear Progam, was created to maintain public awareness of the need to prevent human caused wildfires. It is managed by the US Forest Service in cooperation with the Advertising Council, Inc. and the National Association of State Foresters (NASF).
Caring, friendly, and wise, Woodsy Owl is a whimsical fellow and he's got his heart set on motivating kids to form healthy, lasting relationships with nature. As Woodsy flies across our land, he encourages youngsters to marvel at and explore the natural world, even in the city. His motto "Lend a Hand - Care for the Land!" encourages everyone to make a positive difference in their world.
Developed in partnership with the Ad Council, the Discover the Forest Campaign focuses on connecting children and families with nature. A wide variety of public service advertisements drive visitors to a Web site with activities and a map component that shows nearby natural areas. Both DreamWorks and Universal Studios/ Dr. Seuss Estate have partnered with this campaign to encourage America’s youth to experience the America’s Great Outdoors.
Less than a year after Congress took gray wolves off the endangered species list, a Forest Service employee has come under fire for trapping a wolf in Idaho and snapping a photo of the wounded animal before killing it...“The Forest Service does not condone animal cruelty in any circumstance and holds employees to represent agency standards both on and off the job,” wrote Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers in an e-mail. “While the Forest Service continues to review the case, it has been determined that the employee in question was on his personal time on private land. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has jurisdiction on such cases."
Participants from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry are again teaming up to host the 5th annual National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun at sites across the nation. On Saturday, June 9, 2012, these diverse partners will offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities. Prime goals of the day are reaching currently underserved populations and first-time visitors to public lands, and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the U.S. Forest Service will dedicate $40.6 million for 27 exceptional land acquisition projects in 15 states that will help safeguard clean water, provide recreational access, preserve wildlife habitat, enhance scenic vistas and protect historic and wilderness areas. Projects funded are in Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. Projects range from protecting nationally significant lands from threat of residential development in North Carolina to help pave the way to help purchase the largest single parcel of privately held land with the Kootznoowoo Wilderness on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.
The threat of forest fires helped propel the U.S. government to set aside national forest reservations to protect watersheds, and future timber supplies. The U.S. Forest Service gained control of these lands in 1905, and in 1910, faced devastating forest fires in Idaho and Montana. Based on that experience, the agency began to establish fire policies. The Forest Service developed ways to forecast fire behavior, inform citizens about fire prevention, extinguish the flames, and provide federal aid to state and private landowners for fire protection.
Although Congress identified the protection of timber and water supplies as the only objectives for the nation's forest reserves, sheep and cattle grazing immediately established a presence on forest and grasslands across the western United States. In fact, few uses of the public lands have proven more iconographic or potent than those represented by the livestock industry. From the romantic vision of the American cowboy to the devastated rangelands caused by "hooved locusts," grazing practices have led variously to both reform and rebellion.
Current Forest Service objectives for the range management program are:
To manage range vegetation to protect basic soil and water resources, provide for ecological diversity, improve or maintain environmental quality, and meet public needs for interrelated resource uses.
To integrate management of range vegetation with other resource programs to achieve multiple use objectives contained in Forest land and resource management plans.
To provide for livestock forage, wildlife food and habitat, outdoor recreation, and other resource values dependent on range vegetation.
To contribute to the economic and social well being of people by providing opportunities for economic diversity and by promoting stability for communities that depends on range resources for their livelihood.
To provide expertise on range ecology, botany, and management of grazing animals.
While the relationship between the National Forests and the country's beef and mutton, and more recently lamb, supply declined in the 2nd half of the 20th century, livestock grazing remains an important and valid use of our national forests. According to the Multiple Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960, "It is the policy of the Congress that the National Forests are established and shall be administered for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes."