Background Resources - Forest Service


Forest Service Resources

U.S. Forest Service
Established in 1905, the Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service manages public lands in national forests and grasslands. Gifford Pinchot, the 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." National forests and grasslands encompass 193 million acres of land, which is an area equivalent to the size of Texas.

Find A National Forest
There are 153 National Forests, and 20 National Grasslands -- and there's one probably within a day's drive of where you live! Go the the home page of the Forest Service to locate a nearby National Forest or Grassland. Each National Forest and Grassland has it's own Web site, chocked full of information about its special resources.  Have fun exploring and learning!

National Grasslands
These wind-swept seas of grass and wildflowers - four million acres in all - have witnessed the pageant of the frontier, the Dust Bowl, and the dramatic recovery into a great national treasure. Visit these Web resources to learn about the 20 publicly-owned National Grasslands administered by the US Forest Service.

State & Private Forestry
The State and Private Forestry (S&PF) organization of the USDA Forest Service reaches across the boundaries of National Forests to States, Tribes, communities and non-industrial private landowners. S&PF is the federal leader in providing technical and financial assistance to landowners and resource managers to help sustain the Nation’s forests and protect communities and the environment from wildland fires.

State and Private Forestry programs bring forest management assistance and expertise to a diversity of landowners, including small woodlot, tribal, state, and federal, through cost-effective, non-regulatory partnerships.

Research & Development
The research and development (R&D) arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service works at the forefront of science to improve the health and use of our Nation's forests and grasslands. Research has been part of the Forest Service mission since the agency's inception in 1905. Today, some 500-plus Forest Service researchers work in a range of biological, physical, and social science fields to promote sustainable management of Nation's diverse forests and rangelands.

International Programs
The US Forest Service International Programs promotes sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation internationally. By linking the skills of the field-based staff of the USDA Forest Service with partners overseas to address the most critical forestry issues and concerns. International Programs regularly taps into the agency's wide range of expertise. Visit their excellent Web site to learn more about their far-reaching programs and initiatives.

Smokey Bear Home Page
Smokey Bear is the national icon for fire safety and prevention. Join Smokey Bear for some forest and campfire fun! And, along the way, discover Smokey's rules for forest fire safety and prevention.

Education Themes

The American tradition of conservation dates to the 19th century. For more than a hundred years, the Forest Service, as an agency of the US Department of Agriculture, has build on that tradition by caring for the land and serving people. Over time, the challenges we face have changed. Today, three great challengs cut across the conservation work we do. The Forest Service is acting on a national scale to meet these challenges. As educators, we invite you to join us.