WHY A BUILT ENVIRONMENT IMAGE GUIDE?
As much as the natural environment contained
in the forests, the built environment influences:
• The visitor experience.
• The identity of the Forest Service as a
high-quality provider of outdoor recreation.
• Impressions about how the Forest Service
is fulfilling its mission of stewardship.
The guide aims to ensure thoughtful design
and management of this built environment.
The public’s image of the Forest Service’s built
environment is largely a historical one: We are
the agency that built many of the beautifully
handcrafted and sensitively designed rustic
structures of the Civilian Conservation Corps
(CCC) era. In many ways, this tradition has
endured. The Forest Service built environment
has continued to show respect for the
spectacular scenery and landscape settings.
Facilities continue to be designed to conserve
However, in recent years, our recreational and
organizational demands have soared. Budgets
have not kept pace. Efforts to stretch funds
have resulted in short-term fixes, including the
use of less expensive but also less durable and
less aesthetic building materials. Inconsistent
signs and architectural styles have undermined
our agency’s identity. In addition, a larger group
of people influences design beyond the Forest
Service personnel: joint-venture partners,
permittees, and consulting architects and
engineers. This group may not always be aware
of the Forest Service’s tradition of design in
harmony with our spectacular settings.
In some cases, these pressures have spawned
inappropriate designs. The result is too many
facilities that do not fit their natural settings;
are poorly constructed and, therefore, costly
to maintain; fail to meet customer and
employee needs; and generally reflect poorly
on the agency.
This guide does not replace or compete with
professional training or functional manual
direction. Rather, it focuses on the image,
appearance, or architectural character of our
facilities. It provides consistent examples,
measures, and standards that allow everyone
involved during the life of a project to grasp
the importance of providing quality facilities.