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Public Lands, Public Heritage: The National Forest Idea.

In a time when "privatization" represents the triumphal sweep of Western freedoms from Warsaw to the Bering Straits, we will do well to remember that 100 years ago Congress created the U.S. Forest Service as a result of the worst consequences of privatizing our vast public domain. This book grows out of the Forest Service's own sense that its ideals should be reexamined.

Public Lands, Public Heritage is the history of an ideal, not a comprehensive examination of Forest Service decisions or the agency's social and economic policies. The ideal was that a government agency staffed by professionals can demonstrate how to manage our resources and preserve some of our finest lands for many generations.

Runte traces the evolution of that ideal and its survival. His text is accompanied by an interesting collection of historic photographs and richly reproduced paintings that illustrate various attitudes to forests. The closest he comes to a judgment on the Forest Service is to note that we can argue passionately about its decisions because we still have a lot of forest worth arguing about. That is much more than countries without our ideals can say.

Our arguments also demonstrate that we believe our system has preserved our option to change directions. And the fact that the Forest Service encouraged this honest book suggests that it too is willing to change.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Forests
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Kaufman, Wallace
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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