Introduction to the Second Century Report
Fifty years ago, the Forest Service was one of the most
highly regarded agencies in government. Today, the agency is beseiged from
without, demoralized within, and many wonder whether it will survive to see its
centennial in 2005.
The Forest Options Group includes interest group leaders, agency officials, and
policy analysts who met and corresponded regularly in 1997 and 1998. The group
has jointly written this report as a proposed guide for the Forest Service's
The group agreed that many, if not all, of the Forest Service's troubles stem
from poorly designed governing and budgeting structures. Existing governance
structures give interest groups an incentive to polarize rather than cooperate.
Existing budgeting structures skew agency decisions and give employees little
incentive to act efficiently.
After considering many alternative structures the group concluded that a final
selection can be made only after empirical testing. So the group proposes to
test several alternatives on individual national forests. These pilot forest
tests would last five years, with an option for a five year extension. The
results of the tests should help Congress and the public decide how to reform
the Forest Service as a whole.
After carefully reviewing public comments on a draft proposal published last
February, the group proposes the following pilots:
While none of the pilots are perfect, each should, to a greater or lesser
degree, improve forest stewardship, reduce the burden on taxpayers, restore
public respect for national forest managers, and replace polarization with
cooperation. Comments on the report are welcomed and should be emailed to
- Entrepreneurial budgeting: The forest is funded out of net
- Collaborative management: A collaborative board of directors oversees
- Collaborative planning: A collaborative board writes and implements
the forest plan.
- Forest trust: The pilot forest is managed under legal trust doctrines
with trustees and beneficiaries.
- Gross receipts/rate board: The pilot forest is funded out of gross
receipts and user fees are set by a rate board.
The following people participated in the Forest Options Group. Organizations
are listed for identification only.
The Forest Options Group extends its appreciation to the Thoreau Institute for
facilitating meetings and coordinating production of this report. The group
also thanks the Lynde & Harry Bradley, Bullitt, Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice,
and Collins foundations, and the American Forest & Paper Association, for
making the meetings possible.
- Steve Bennett (Stone Forest Industries)
- Doug Crandall (Chief of Staff, House Forestry Subcommittee)
- Sally Fairfax (University of California at Berkeley)
- Andy Falender (Appalachian Mountain Club)
- Tom France (National Wildlife Federation)
- Jim Furnish (Siuslaw National Forest)
- Joe Hinson (Northwest Natural Resource Group)
- Jim Hubbard (Colorado State Forester)
- Michael Jackson (Friends of Plumas Wilderness)
- David Gann (Delta-Montrose Partnership)
- Brad Little (rancher)
- Doug MacCleery (Forest Service, Washington, DC)
- Tom Nelson (Sierra Pacific)
- Keith Olson (Montana Loggers Association)
- Randal O'Toole (Thoreau Institute)
- Steve Quarles (Crowell & Moring LLP)
- Tom Quinn (Santa Fe National Forest)
- Andy Stahl (Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics)
- Steve Thompson (environmental consultant)
This entire report, along with several additional appendices, is available on
the World Wide Web at www.ti.org/2c.html. For additional hard copies of the
report, please send an email to email@example.com.
Electronic Drummer | Reports | Second Century