How Many Agencies Does It Take?

I said I would write more about reorganizing the Forest Service.  Before we take a deeper dive, let’s look at our current land management structure.  The Department of Agriculture oversees the US Forest Service.  The Forest Service manages 193 million acres of land, much of which is forests.  The Department of Interior oversees the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.  The BLM manages a total of 247 million acres, 58 million of which is managed under Forests and Woodlands.  The National Park Service (NPS) manages our National Parks, National Monuments, Historical Sites, and National Recreation Areas. Continue reading “How Many Agencies Does It Take?”

Is it time to rethink the Forest Service?


Since the Clinton years, the Forest Service has undergone a great deal of change.  The agency was producing over 12 billion board feet of timber in the late 80’s, and by the mid 90’s that volume dropped to 2 billion.  To provide context, if that were converted to lumber, it would be a difference of approximately 18 billion feet of lumber.  The total consumption of lumber in the United States in 2015 was 44.1 billion board feet.  That’s nearly 41% all the lumber used to build homes, apartments, and other stick-framed structures.  That’s astounding!

Since the change occurred, the Forest Service has been struggling to create an identity.  That identity is unclear, but many of the current Forest Service employees want to do more for the land.  What does that mean?  Many of the leaders and line officers are doing their best to work with collaborative groups to develop management plans that work for everyone.  I applaud the efforts.  Praise notwithstanding, I wonder if those efforts will be enough? Continue reading “Is it time to rethink the Forest Service?”

Committed to Collaboration


As changes starting happening with the transition of our government, many things are going to be drastically different than they have been for the past 24 years.  Why 24 years?  That was the last time we had the type of seismic change.  I know, George W. Bush was the 43rd President, and he was a Republican and ran things much differently than President Obama.  The shift of people (appointees, heads of agencies, etc.major) in Washington hasn’t been this disruptive since President Clinton took over from George H. W. Bush in 1994.  I know there significant changes between President Carter and President Reagan, but I’m not old enough to remember that.  What’s my point?

Continue reading “Committed to Collaboration”