The following document was released by the US Forest Service on October 19, 1998.

You about to read a shocking honest explanation of how the USFS intends to commercialize and privatize the lands we, the American People, have entrusted to it.

The text has been shortened from the original. No words have been added. The word order is precisely as found in the original. This document was optically scanned and minor OCR errors are possible.

 


A STRATEGY FOR RECREATION
 United States Department of Agriculture: U.S. Forest Service
October 19, 1998
 
 INTRODUCTION

Putting People in Touch with America's Great Outdoors

We generate many benefits through the sustainable management of natural resources. The National Forests and Grasslands contribute $134 billion to the gross domestic product, with the lion's share associated with outdoor recreation and travel/tourism. Recreation on national forests is big business. Resource-based travel and tourism provide the link -- a window through which an increasingly urban society can enjoy and appreciate the natural world.
 

The Forest Service must learn how to sustain recreation resources in the face of increasing demand, develop new tools to enhance our revenue, work in innovative ways with our existing partners and develop relationships with new ones, and focus more closely on the benefits most valued by a diverse America. We must continue to evolve from a steward of natural resources and custodian of recreation resources to a provider of wildlands and legacy experiences.
 
 

 
 THE RECREATION EMPHASIS AREA
 

Settings and Experiences: The enjoyment of scenery is central to recreation experiences and travel/tourism opportunities--people come for the natural settings and quality landscapes found in the National Forest System. We will enhance these setting and experiences to establish a Forest Service brand of recreation.

· Restore National Forest Character and Image:  Through skillful application of recreation planning, scenery management, and social research we will identify our customers' attachments to places and the attributes which make such places valuable.

· Reliance on Partners: We no longer have the resources to provide quality settings and their attendant experiences through appropriated funding. We will combine the resources, efficiencies and market- driven incentives of our partners with our own revenue enhancement tools to reduce our maintenance backlog and deliver quality service as defined by our customers. The private sector will provide new investment in the National Forests and Grasslands, and we will fully employ our own leveraging policies to bring our settings to a high and sustainable standard. Projecting a consistent image will be increasingly challenging as we rely on project planning, design, construction, and operation by new partners and sources.

· Trip Planning Information: We will improve the availability of information so customers can select settings to match the experiences they desire and know what to expect before they arrive. Through interpretation and conservation education, customers will learn how to enhance their own experiences and to participate as stewards of public lands.

· Services for All Americans: We will learn more about settings and services sought by underserved populations. We will improve service elements important to these groups and take care to incorporate the needs of all people into recreation planning and implementation.

· Seamless Delivery: We will work closely with other agencies and with private sector partners to give customers seamless delivery of information and services, both inside and outside forest boundaries.  We will conduct marketing activities cooperatively with our partners and with state and regional tourism providers. We will work with partners to monitor satisfaction of the entire recreation experience, not just the segments provided by one agency or entity.

· Expanded Technology: We will use market-based incentives to expand those services for which customers are willing to pay through fees or tax support.

· Skills for the Future:  Use the recreation marketing initiative as a catalyst to become a market driven agency.

 
 

Community Connections:
 
· Rural Communities: To assist communities in expanding their economic bases, Forest Service managers and employees will work more closely with them to recognize and capitalize on forest values in community and economic development plans. We will welcome and encourage new partners such as the recreation and tourism industries, environmental interests and state and tribal governments to join us in discussions regarding future uses of the National Forests and Grasslands.

· Urban Communities: Cities are important links in the delivery of recreation services and information because National Forest customers use urban lodging and restaurant facilities, equipment suppliers, and outfitting services before traveling to recreation destinations. Urbanites, and the diversity they represent, are an increasingly important constituency of the National Forests. Urban national forests--those located within one hour of metropolitan areas with populations of one million or more--are growing in number.
 
 

Strengthening Our Relationships:

The Forest Service has long relied on partnerships with outdoor enthusiasts, the recreation industry, the travel and tourism industry, outfitters and guides, permit holders and concessionaires to provide quality backdrops and experiences. Declining budgets were the original catalyst behind many of these relationships. As the private sector found ways to get the job done at a lower cost, we learned that these relationships often also enhanced the quality of services. We will welcome and encourage new partners and work to improve and expand these relationships.

We will strengthen our strategic alliances by making ourselves better business partners:

· The Special Uses Reengineering Project will streamline processes and improve relationships with concessionaires and outfitters and guides.

· We will, through employee, volunteer and contractor training, improve our ability to use relationship tools such as Public/Private Venture, concessionaires, and volunteers. We will create new mechanisms where needed.

· We will extend relationships currently in use in developed sites to include management of dispersed use and seek new opportunities for dispersed recreation activities and relationships.
 
 

 

KEY THEMES OF THE NATURAL RESOURCE AGENDA

In addition to the four emphasis areas, the Natural Resource Agenda has four themes:
 

Partnerships: Partnerships include working with other Forest Service units, other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private sector entities on common projects for mutual benefit.

· External: To improve our use of partnerships, we will increase the number of appropriate partnerships and make partnerships richer by focusing on essential mutual benefits closer to the core missions of the parties involved. Partnerships will be well-defined with clear expectations and will be a tool for defining the program of work, not just for implementing projects. We will gain public support of partnerships with relationships that exhibit integrity and strong ethical performance. We will adhere to the Partnership Guide to make partnerships consistent and appropriate.
 

Collaborative Stewardship: To complete and implement this strategy we will actively engage our constituents.

· We will expand interagency collaboration for resource-based travel and tourism. Working with others, we will consider and monitor the economic benefits.

· We will publish a desk guide for recreation planning. Among other items, the guide will include how plans should consider the full range of recreation service providers, including private sector offerings on National Forests and Grasslands and analyze roads, access and travel management.

· Forest plan revisions, area analyses, assessment and project level NEPA will include appropriate attention to the social component. Recreation planning will engage minority populations so that resulting actions are sensitive to their concerns and responsive to their preferences and expectations.
 

Accountability: We will do the following so that we and others will know we have succeeded:

· Ensure that annual action plans for the recreation strategy align with and support the Agency's strategic plan goals and objectives and associated near-term/annual performance plans.

· Ensure our investments are supported and protected in an effective manner.

· Link our investments directly to the value they create within the communities that depend upon National Forests.
 

Financial Health: Funding for recreation activities is affected by three factors:

· Allocation: The current budget allocation process is based on a set of criteria that uses meaningful measures to a significant extent. Less weight will be placed on existing infrastructure and more on the value that the facility or trail may provide. There will be a strong relationship between funding and those projects or activities that generate the highest benefit to the customer and resource. .

· Efficiency: We will offer incentives to maximize dollars allocated to deliver quality projects or activities on the ground.  

· Increased Funding: Alternative funding mechanisms are essential to decrease reliance on appropriated funds and provide predictable funding to programs.

 

 


This document was prepared by Wild Wilderness. To learn more about ongoing industry-backed congressional efforts to motorize, commercialize, and privatize America's public lands, contact:

Scott Silver, Executive Director,
Wild Wilderness
248 NW Wilmington Avenue,  Bend  OR 97701
Phone (541) 385-5261    E-mail: ssilver@wildwilderness.org