Ideas And Suggestions Wanted! Forest Service Recreation

West Elk Wilderness, GMUG National Forest. Photo by Robert Tonsing.

As you all know, I’ve been interested in Forest Service recreation for some time. Recreation is the place where human lives are touched by the Forest Service, every day, all year, from the White Mountain to the Cleveland and from the El Yunque to the Chugach. Every age, ability, gender, race, nationality, are out there doing different things- mostly not in conflict with each other. And yet.. and yet Recreation does not seem to have the place of honor it deserves in the Forest Service program pantheon. One question is “what would it look like if it did?”

I volunteered to write an essay for Steve Wilent’s book .. the proposal was posted here.

The purpose of the book is not to criticize the agency, but to offer concrete proposals for how, ultimately, the agency’s operations might be made more efficient and effective and its land-management activities maintained, expanded, and improved. In short, the objective of the book is to examine paths toward a more healthy and resilient US Forest Service.

So I would like to hear from you, from your friends, from anyone. You (or anyone) can send me a post (with photo please) with your thoughts. If you don’t want to do a whole post, you can email me an idea or suggestion. Structure a post it how you want:- strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. Top 10 Tweaks for Forest Service Recreation. Top Five Technologies to Bring FS Recreation into the 21st Century, or ? (since I retired I don’t know the current management buzzwords for Improving Things..)

You can craft a vision or a mundane tiny improvement (one of my friends suggested using texting to pay for payments and donations), or a strategy or a draft piece of legislation, or just about anything. If you work (or have retired from) a unit that has a new innovative approach to something large or small, or has done an experiment that worked, send it in!

And as Steve asked: “Rec is crucial to the USFS’s future, but it sounds like it’s losing control of this service. Or ceding? Or is this concomitant with the budget decline/fire spending/brain drain? I’d like to see you suggest how the agency might get back on top of recreation. What’s needed? More $, sure, but people and policies?

I think that this is the FS’s latest effort, it’s called A Framework for Sustainable Recreation (2010), so I think that’s what they’re pursuing now. FS recreation folks at all levels, current and retired, I’d really appreciate your perspective! So please tell us what you think. If you are hesitant to share your identity, you can send under a pen name and email.

Please send me your posts- terraveritas at Also feel free to send links to other articles and posts preferably sharing why you agree or disagree, and to share with others. I’m looking for an idea tent as big as we can make it. I’ll be posting them as they come in over the summer. We’ll have a chance to bring the highly diverse views and experiences of the internal FS and external readers of this blog to bear on the ideas, which should add a great deal in terms of vetting. And at the end of the summer, beyond the essay itself, we should have a compendium of ideas and suggestions to give to the incoming powers that be, as well as for our own groups to think about.

Thank you!

1 thought on “Ideas And Suggestions Wanted! Forest Service Recreation”

  1. I don’t work for forest service but I do enjoy recreating in our pubic lands. A few things past my mind.
    Like the ranger stations being open on Saturday in high use areas, and maps on the boards at trailheads along with the signs telling you to pick up your trash.


Leave a Comment