ROLE AND LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT

“The era of big government is over.”

 

Then-President Clinton’s pronouncement during

the 1996 State of the Union address capped a

20-year trend toward reduced Government size

and increased privatization of public services. The

Forest Service had been moving in that direction

for some time. In 1987, the National Recreation

Strategy emphasized “partnerships” and private

investment in national forest recreation

management. Since then, the number of entities

involved in providing recreation facilities and

services has exploded. Nonprofit organizations

have contributed to construction of recreation

and wildlife viewing facilities. About 50 percent

of the national forest campground capacity is

managed under concessionaire permits. The

Forest Service is also strongly considering a

program to encourage private investment, not

just for the operation but for the planning,

design, and construction of recreation facilities.

 

In short, the Forest Service is moving away

from direct development of projects to a position

of guidance, approval, and oversight. Our design

philosophies will face the realities posed by the

private sector’s cycles of investment and

amortization. Key considerations include

permanence versus short-term adaptability

and the use of prefabricated elements, as

previously discussed.

 

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