National Forest Service Budget

Hells Canyon
Keeping America’s 155 national forests healthy requires money. The Wilderness Society works every year to ensure that our forests remain funded and healthy.

As you might imagine, the Forest Service's budget appropriations process is very important. Where and how funds are allocated determines to a large degree what the Forest Service will do in the following year and what priorities they will embrace.

Congress is responsible for appropriating funds to the federal agencies, including the Forest Service. Every year, Congress writes appropriations bills that specify how much money each agency receives and how they can spend it. The Forest Service’s appropriations are part of the Appropriations Bill for Interior, Environment and related agencies.

The Wilderness Society’s Appropriations Priorities for the Forest Service

Our interest in the appropriations process lies in making sure that programs favorable to conservation and sound management receive adequate funding. In general, we want to make sure that the Forest Service has enough funds to carry out its planning, management and monitoring responsibilities. In particular, we focus on funding for:

  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
  • Wilderness
  • Watersheds
  • Restoration
  • Planning
  • Inventory and monitoring
  • Roads and trails

Examples of priority programs are Legacy Roads and Trails and the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.

The President’s Budget and the Forest Service

Although Congress is responsible for writing and passing appropriations bills, the President plays a significant role in the process. Each winter, the President submits a budget to Congress with recommended appropriations for each federal agency. And, of course, the President must sign the appropriations bills after Congress passes them.

Appropriations Riders

Appropriations riders are additional provisions - often of a controversial nature - that are attached to an appropriations bill. Legislators like to attach riders to appropriations bills in particular because they are must-pass bills. If an appropriations bill did not pass, the government would not be funded and would have to shut down! In the last few years, the proposed appropriations bill for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies has included a number of riders intended to dramatically reduce protections to the environment.

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