Fighting the politicization of National Forests
Unlike the Federal Government’s Administration, which changes the overarching political landscape every four to eight years, the Conservation Congresses’ Forest Monitoring Program is steady and consistent. Groups such as Conservation Congress play an instrumental role in holding agencies accountable to their own internal regulations, as well as federal laws such as National Environmental Policy Act, the National Forest Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act.
The Conservation Congress seeks to incrementally change Forest Service management through our comments, objections and litigation. The Forest Service’s mandate is to provide for multiple-use on National Forest lands. Unfortunately, the agency tends to favor commercial uses by private entities, primarily timber and energy companies, over values endeared by the American people: abundant wildlife, clean water, scenic viewing, non-motorized recreation, and retreat from the stressors of urban life.
The Conservation Congress’s efforts to protect wildlife and the ecological integrity of our national forests involves a multi-year process that begins with scoping comments and may end in litigation. Our successes are met inevitably through objections and lawsuits because our comments on timber sale projects can be ignored by the Forest Service in favor of what the timber industry wants. Citizen input such as that provided by the Conservation Congress is the only thing standing in the way of complete capitulation by the Forest Service to the demands of the timber industry.