The USDA Forest Service yesterday announced its plan to assist rural communities in and around Forest Service lands in managing natural resources, while strengthening their economic health and vitality.
The plan, “Working Together for Rural America: 2000 and Beyond,” calls for community and Forest Service policy-makers to effectively integrate rural economic, social and ecological concerns. The plan was announced during the national Rural Community Assistance conference in Burlington, Vt.
Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck said, “Thousands of rural communities all across the country, including those in and around the 155 national forests and 21 grasslands will benefit from effective community-based partnerships. This builds on the Forest Service’s long-standing commitment to strengthen rural America through sustainable approaches and collaboration,” he said.
The plan is the outcome of 11 multi-state workshops, conducted all over the United States, involving businesses, interest groups, economic development councils, citizens’ groups, elected officials, individuals and state and federal agencies. Dombeck said, “The plan was developed to reconcile increasing public demand for natural resources in a manner that sustains land health and water quality.”
Adela Backiel, USDA director of sustainable development, said, “The Strategy helps USDA fulfill its commitments to a sustainable America.”
The plan is available on the Cooperative Forestry websitehttp://www.fs.fed.us/spf/coop. Copies may be obtained by contacting your local Forest Service office, or the headquarters office in Washington, DC, at 202/401-7784. Communities may apply for assistance by contacting their local Forest Service office.