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About the Agency

A photo of a Forest Service entrance sign that says Meet the Forest Service

The Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a multi-faceted agency that protects and manages 154 national forests and grasslands in 44 states and Puerto Rico and is the world’s largest forestry research organization. Our experts provide technical and financial help to state and local government agencies, businesses, private landowners to help protect and manage non-federal forest and associated range and watershed lands.

We develop partnerships with many public and private agencies to augment our work planting trees, improving trails, providing education on conservation and fire prevention, and improve conditions in wildland/urban interfaces and rural areas. Our team also promotes sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation internationally.

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the mission of the Forest Service: "to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."

By the numbers, we manage:

  • 154 national forests and 20 grasslands encompassing 193 million acres of land
  • 439 wilderness areas totaling over 36 million acres of land. These wilderness areas range in size from 372 acres in the Allegheny Islands Wilderness in Pennsylvania to 2,356,934 acres in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, which spans five national forests in Idaho
  • 20 national recreation areas
  • 6 national scenic areas
  • 6 national monument areas
  • 2 national volcanic monument areas
  • 2 national historic areas

Check out our other special numbers

Contact us

The Forest Service has employees in nearly every state and Puerto Rico, so that means we have a variety of ways for you to contact us:

  • Send us your question or comment online or write to us. However, if you have location-specific questions or comments use our region and research station listings to find the right office.
  • If you know who you want to reach, use our employee search.
  • For national-level programs and offices, browse our headquarters listings.
  • Of course, you can always send a note to Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl by writing to Smokey Bear, Washington, D.C. 20252.

Budget and performance

  • Where does the agency spend its money?
  • How are we performing?
  • How do we track our performance and spending?
  • What is Congress asking?

Learn more about budget and performance


Our room for news media representatives also includes a variety of links that also may be of interest to the general public.

  • Get the latest news and read our blogs to learn about some of the work we do.
  • Stay up-to-date with the national headquarters through Twitter and Facebook.
  • Our online videos range from how to get a Christmas tree to information that could save your life in a wildfire.
  • Read the latest speeches by leadership and congressional testimony.

Regulations and policies

Since 1905, the agency has on the legacy of conservation started by Gifford Pinchot. Today, our work is guided by a.

Faces of the Forest

Our employees are some of the most interesting and dedicated people. Through Faces of the Forest you learn about our people, places and professions.

  • We have employees who were recruited by the National Football League, earned a Purple Heart, or learned to love the land growing up as a Navajo.
  • Know someone in the Forest Service you want others to meet? Tell us about them.
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