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13 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 299 (1987-1988)
Reforming the Forest Service

handle is hein.journals/cjel13 and id is 305 raw text is: Reforming the Forest Service

Randal O'Toole*
The Nantahala and Pisgah national forests, located in western
North Carolina, report that they collected $1.8 million in timber
sale receipts in 1985. Not all of these collections were cash, how-
ever: over $1 million were in-kind payments in the form of road
construction. Nearly $400,000 more were retained by the Forest
Service for forest management. The United States Treasury re-
ceived only $380,000, just twenty-one percent of total receipts.'
But the Treasury is required to pay twenty-five percent of re-
ceipts, or $462,000, to local counties in lieu of taxes. The return
to the Treasury net of county payments, then, was minus $78,000.
The bad news is just beginning, however, because the Nantahala
and Pisgah forests spent $1.7 million on timber sales in 1985.
Another 1.4 million tax dollars were spent on reforestation and
other management activities, while over $5 million were spent
building roads.2 Despite these phenomenal losses, the recently-
issued forest plan for the Nantahala-Pisgah forests proposes to
maintain timber sales at historic rates.3
The Nantahala-Pisgah forests are not in any sense a special
case. National forests throughout the Appalachian Mountains,
Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Intermountain region, and Alaska
lose money on timber management every year. One out of three
national forests returned negative receipts to the Treasury net of
county payments in 1985, while more than two out of three lost
money net of sale preparation costs and county payments.4
These losses are irrational from a conservation as well as an
economic viewpoint. The six national forests surrounding Yel-
lowstone Park-the Beaverhead, Gallatin, Custer, Shoshone,
Bridger-Teton and Targhee-produce $20 of recreation benefits
$ Director, Cascade Holistic Economic Consultants (CHEC), a non-profit forestry con-
sulting firm.
I. USDA FOREST SERVICE, 1985 COLLECTION STATEMENT FOR REGION 8 NATIONAL FOR-
ESTS 1 (1986).
2. USDA FOREST SERVICE, ADVENT GENERAL REPORTING SYsTEM-1985 FINAL ALLOCA-
TION FOR REGION 8 NATIONAL FORESTS 1 (1986).
3. USDA FOREST SERVICE, NANTAHALA-PsGAH FOREST PLAN FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IM-
PACT STATEMENT 11-28 (1987).
4. R. QrooLE, REFORMING THE FOREST SERVICE 127 (1988).

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