Forest Service and Restoration

Glacier National Park
After a long history of mistreatment and neglect, America’s national forests and grasslands need to be restored to a healthy condition. The U.S. Forest Service leads this effort.

Decades of unsustainable logging, mining, road building, over-grazing and other development leave America’s national forests at a breaking point. The Wilderness Society works with the U.S. Forest Service, local communities and conservation partners across the country to restore our forests and grasslands.

The Forest Service guides many innovative projects to restore America’s 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands. These projects require local community support and cooperation, federal government funding and an open, public process.

Watershed restoration

The rivers and streams that flow from our national forests are the source of drinking water for one-fifth of Americans.  Most of this water comes from watersheds deep within our national forests.

Yet, only half of the watersheds function properly in our national forests. The Wilderness Society works closely with the Forest Service to restore degraded watersheds to provide a clean water supply and fresh flowing streams for fish and wildlife.

See also:

Watershed restoration 

Repairing nature’s infrastructure with ecological restoration

Reducing the roads

More than 380,000 miles of roads crisscross our national forests, many of them not even in use. The U.S. Forest Service’s restoration work involves reducing its over-sized road system and reclaiming unused roads. Creating an optimally-sized road system will protect and restore water quality and habitat for wildlife, improve access to popular recreational destinations by focusing limited resources on frequently used roads as well as enhance the backcountry experience.

See also: 

Roads, vehicles and access

The Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Initiative

Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program

Created in 2009, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) encourages collaborative, science-based ecological restoration of fire dependent forest landscapes. The program also benefits local communities by reducing wildfire risk and creating forest restoration jobs. 

Since 2010, the highly-successful program has funded 23 projects on national forests, delivering impressive returns for forests, jobs, water and wildlife.

See also:

Report: New National Forest Program a Success

Funding for national forests

Integrated Resource Restoration

Integrated Resource Restoration is a new approach by the Forest Service to fund restoration projects. It is designed to improve efficiency and effectiveness of on-the-ground restoration by removing bureaucratic delays. But concern exists that the Forest Service will not be as accountable under this approach, leading to a misuse of restoration funding for projects, like logging, that instead cause harm.  We are working with the Forest Service as it tests this idea and offering feedback to make improvements.

See also:

Integrated Resource Restoration budget

How we work on national forests

Forest Service and Restoration