Forest Service Staffing

Forest Service Staffing 1

I do a lot of hiking, backpacking, and recreation in Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. It’s beautiful and amazing. But it’s under a lot of stress from development, overuse, environmental changes and more.

The Forest Service staff that is there does incredible work…but it’s pretty obvious that so much work is not getting done because there is literally no one to do the work. The problem is especially acute in law enforcement and preventing the damage and danger in the first place.

I found this chart on the USDA’s website. It’s already a few years out of date…but it’s pretty clear in how the trend goes. Congress is funding more Forest Service…but it’s really just funding Fire Service. It’s not funding positions to actually care for our public lands – each position of which provides an insane value for taxpayers (i.e., one specialist in one ranger district protects 400+ miles of trail and 40,000+ acres of wilderness).

Public lands are a bipartisan, win-win issue. Everyone loves setting aside new hunting land or opening new trails…but we need to make sure Congress takes care of the basics and actually maintains what we already have and was built for use 100+ years ago.

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