It’s worthwhile to re-read the law every once in awhile. This time, because of some recent discussions here, a couple of things stood out. Here’s the definition of multiple-use:
‘‘Multiple use’’ means: The management of all the various renewable surface resources of the national forests so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the needs of the American people; making the most judicious use of the land for some or all of these resources or related services over areas large enough to provide sufficient latitude for periodic adjustments in use to conform to changing needs and conditions; that some land will be used for less than all of the resources; and harmonious and coordinated management of the various resources, each with the other, without impairment of the productivity of the land, with consideration being given to the relative values of the various resources, and not necessarily the combination of uses that will give the greatest dollar return or the greatest unit output.”
The first italicized phrase indicates that any supposed “commitments” (by Gifford Pinchot or otherwise) prior to this law to any particular uses in particular places have been overwritten by Congressional authorization to change land management to meet current needs (to be determined by a forest planning process). (I guess that also makes the “high level” of sustained yield in that definition something that has to be determined in light of current needs.)
The second refutes the notion that there is any requirement in the law that national forests be managed for “things” that produce dollars (or jobs).
It’s probably also worth reiterating the part of the law that nullifies the “wilderness is not multiple-use” argument: “The establishment and maintenance of areas of wilderness are consistent with the purposes and provisions of this Act.”