Don’t Mess with the Forest Service: Char Miller


This is from High Country News, Writers on the Range, here.

Below is an excerpt:

In a one-sentence release April 4, the department granted the Forest Service an exemption to its One Brand directive. You could hear the hosannas from agency retirees and staffers a mile off.

Every other department in Agriculture, however, has had to submit to the exorcizing of their respective insignias, causing blows to their staff’s morale. In British Columbia, Canada, public-land managers in the provincial forest service, learning of their American counterparts’ successful pushback, regretted that they had not had generated as forceful a reaction when their home department obliterated their own century-old pine-tree emblem in favor of yet another bland, generic symbol.

What this Forest Service protest reveals is a deep uneasiness with the growing, corporate-style flattening of difference and identity within governmental bureaucracies. To their credit, Forest Service defenders showed an alert wariness toward lockstep representation and uniform thought.

Rebranding consultants, like the ones that the Agriculture Department hired to guide its efforts, probably promoted this strategy as a positive way to harness a company’s disparate personnel. But the Department of Agriculture is not a business, and its sub-agencies’ varied missions and different objectives cannot be, and should not have been, unilaterally reined in.

As the dustup with the Forest Service suggests, a proud institutional history is a sustaining source of workplace identity and individual satisfaction. That’s a core value even Earl Butz might have respected


1 thought on “Don’t Mess with the Forest Service: Char Miller”

  1. While the symbol of the Foreest Service is important, especially to those of us who are second and third generation, a more worrisome issue is the what appears to be a lack of understanding of the agency missiion. The Forest Service is th olny agency in Agriculture that actually manages land, 193 million acres of it. It is also, at least until recently, was suppose to be one of the few federal agancies that lived and worked in small communities where the economy oftern was driven by work with the Forest Service. In the past several years, in my opinion, the Department either has forgotten that fact, or chose to ignore it. As a I retiree living across the street from a Ranger Station, I have seen the frustration of FS people attempting to respond to growing pile of paperwork requirements of centralization at the expenxe of doing the physical work of maintaining facilities, and truly serving people,visitors as well as members of the local communities. Instead of the Department helping these field people do a better job of caring for the land and serving people, it seems as if it wants just the opposite


Leave a Comment

Discover more from The Smokey Wire : National Forest News and Views

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading