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US Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.
20250-0003

(800) 832-1355

 
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History

The founding of the National Forest System and the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has its roots in the last quarter of the 19th century. The national forests (at first called forest reserves) began with the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, which allowed the president to establish forest reserves from timber covered public domain land. Several early leaders and visionaries, along with willing presidents (especially Teddy Roosevelt), scientific and conservation organizations, and newly trained forestry professionals, led the successful effort in retaining millions of acres of Federal forest land for future generations.

An historical picture of an old Forest Service lock and key.  The words "Forest Service" and "US" are engraved on the lock, with a engraved pine tree separating the "U" and "S".  A small key is also inserted in the bottom of the lock.

The pride and professionalism continue in the Forest Service today. The United States currently has a system of 155 national forests, 20 national grasslands, and 222 research and experimental forests, as well as other special areas, covering more than 192 million acres of public land. The Forest Service has evolved into a 30,000 employee agency that manages the national forests for a number of multiple uses, including recreation, timber, wilderness, minerals, water, grazing, fish, and wildlife. The history of the agency is long and remarkable. Over the last century, the Forest Service has initiated numerous, innovative products and procedures, as well as led the country and the world in scientific forestry matters. How the Forest Service got to where it is today is a fascinating story of people, places, politics, laws, and controversies.

US Forest Service
Last modified March 23, 2013
http://www.fs.fed.us

[graphic] USDA logo, which links to the department's national site. [graphic] Forest Service logo, which links to the agency's national site. [graphic] A link to the US Forest Service home page.