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    The loss of open space was declared one of the “four threats to the health of our nation’s forests” by former USDA Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth in 2004. Since then, the agencywide Open Space Conservation Strategy (OSCS) was released and the “four threats” were incorporated into the agency’s National Strategic Plan. These actions indicate that the OSCS is in the implementation stage of the policy process; however, interviews conducted with line officers and program managers of the National Forest System (NFS) in Washington State revealed a more complex story. This research uses concepts from the policy implementation literature and the OSCS to explore how the NFS branch of the agency is engaging in open space conservation. The results indicate that there may be a lack of awareness of the OSCS, partners are essential to successful implementation, and the role of the NFS is a “neighbor” and “final holder” of open space. Additional findings discuss barriers to the NFS engagement in open space conservation. Where appropriate, recommendations that could improve implementation are suggested and some new resources that aid implementation are shared.

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    Pringle, Richard J.; Cerveny, Lee K.; Bradley, Gordon A. 2015. Implementation of the Forest Service Open Space Conservation Strategy in Washington State: Exploring the Role of the National Forest System. Forest Science. 61(2): 388-396.


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    national forest management, planning, policy, landscape

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