Mike articulated the below thoughts on a thread on privatization of campgrounds… I think this is worthy of discussing more broadly, both in the context of Char’s piece on land management needs and budget realities here and as a piece of the whole “privatization” question (discussed here and previously).
so here is what Mike said in this comment:
It could very well be that we are seeing the end of FS employees actually implementing management plans and, instead, moving into a time where the agency puts together management plans in conjunction with public and then contracts out all implementation (we’re practically there in most cases anyhow). These wold be longer-term contracts with multiple-year objectives. The benefit in doing business this way is that if the FS is legally bound by contract, the funding to fulfill the contract is much more likely to be included within future FS budgets.
Another place where this kind of thing might fit well would be in fulfilling the FS mandate to perform adequate monitoring, following project implementation (e.g. forest thinning projects). In this scenario, the FS would still need funding for enforcement of contract terms for whatever the concessionaire (or contractor) is doing, but it could still pencil out as a costs savings to the public. personally think this is a really interesting topic and would enjoy exploring this further…
I’m interested in a couple of things… first, do you agree with “we’re practically there?”
Second, the idea of legally binding contracts – how could we make them flexible enough to respond to changing needs and also yet solid enough to be meaningful?
Other’s thoughts and comments would be appreciated.