Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the Senate on Federal Management of Renewable Forest and Rangeland Resources
September 19, 1986
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
I am pleased to transmit to the Congress my Statement of Policy regarding Federal management and use of our Nation's renewable forest and rangeland resources for FY 1986 - 1990, pursuant to the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) of 1974. Accompanying this policy statement is the third Renewable Resource Program prepared by the Secretary of Agriculture.
Statement of Policy on the Recommended Program for the Forest Service
The fundamental policy principle for the management of Forest Service programs in my administration is the principle of judicious balance.
In both long-range planning and in day-to-day decisions, our forest managers and scientists must strive for judicious balance among: the needs of this and future generations of Americans for the various benefits obtainable from our nation's forest lands; the need for protection of unspoiled wilderness lands and the need for harvesting timber and forage and recovering minerals to sustain a growing national economy; the need to produce direct economic benefits for our people and the need to produce benefits that do not have a specific dollar return such as outdoor recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat; the need to invest in the national forests and the need to meet the other demands on the Federal budget each year; and the share of the costs of the system to be paid by the general taxpayers and the share to be paid by the specific users of our national forests.
Achieving the balance we seek is not an easy process. Because we as individuals and as interest groups may place widely divergent values on a particular potential management action, and because our society encourages active participation by the public in governmental decisions, our major choices are often preceded by conflict and followed by dissent. Nevertheless, we have a responsibility to make the choices and decisions necessary to manage our forest resources, and we must make them judiciously.
During my administration the number of designated wilderness areas managed by the Forest Service has doubled -- to 329 areas comprising over 32 million acres, while the remaining 159 million acres, managed under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield, have produced 11 billion board feet of timber harvest annually, and 225 million recreation visitor days annually, as well as productive wildlife habitat and oil, gas, and other minerals to sustain our economy. Capability on non-Federal lands has grown as well, as has our store of new technology to accomplish these output levels in a way that carefully preserves environmental and economic values. Where conflict in the management of these resources was inevitable, we have sought the judicious balance.
The Secretary of Agriculture's recommended program for the Forest Service, called for by the Resources Planning Act, sets forth a plan within which we can achieve the balance we seek. It identifies a reasonable range of management directions, outputs, costs, and goals for the long-term future. It provides the Congress and the public with a valuable information base on which to continue their informed participation in the decisions affecting our national forests.
I trust we will continue to work together to ensure that our valuable forest resources are managed judiciously for the benefit of all our people -- of this generation and of generations yet to come.
Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, and George Bush, President of the Senate.