Former U.S. Forest Service Chiefs Ponder Future

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Tomorrow's U.S. Forest Service and its new chief forester should take leadership roles in hot-button conservation issues.

"I think the Forest Service really has to show what we can do regarding climate change. There's a huge number of things the Forest Service can do in that realm," Dale Bosworth said Wednesday.

"The chief ought to be a high-profile conservationist visible to the public again, because that bully pulpit is still there," agreed Mike Dombeck.

…Not surprisingly, opinions ranged widely, though the discussion never reached the debate level. It came closest when Leonard posed the question of the still largely unresolved issue of roadless areas.

"I really think the roadless battle is over. Some just haven't realized it yet," said Dombeck, who oversaw roadless inventories that resulted in the far-reaching Roadless Rule of 2001. "If we look at the number of roads that have been built in the last couple of decades, it's really very small."