Acts & Legislation

Organic, NEPA, ESA, NFMA

There multiple acts and approved legislation that govern the National Forests and that the National Forest Foundation refers to in the performance of day-to-day work. They follow:

  • 1891 - The Forest Reserve Act authorized the set-aside of public lands as forest reserves.
  • 1897 - The Forest Management Act created the U.S. Forest Service as managers of the National Forests.
  • 1905 - The Transfer Act moved the National Forests and the Forest Service from the U.S. Department of Interior to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • 1911 - The Weeks Act gave the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to purchase forested, cut-over, and denuded lands for the regulation of navigable streams and opened up the possibility of creating National Forests in the eastern United States.
  • 1924 - The Clark-McNary Act established cooperative assistance programs to assist private forest owners in the management of their lands.
  • 1928 - McSweeney-McNary Act officially recognized the research program of the U.S. Forest Service.
  • 1944 - Sustained Yield Management Act authorized the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to establish cooperative sustained yield units encompassing both public and private lands.
  • 1960 - Multiple Use - Sustained Yield Act provided a mandate for management priorities on the National Forests to include all resource uses.
  • 1964 - The Wilderness Act created a system of wilderness reserves and specific management guidance for wilderness areas designated by Congress. Today there are 107.5 million acres of designated wilderness on federal lands and more than 35 million acres of that wilderness is on the National Forests.
  • 1969 - The National Environmental Policy Act established a U.S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment and also established the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). NEPA also established procedural requirements for all federal government agencies to prepare Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs). EAs and EISs contain statements of the environmental effects of proposed federal agency actions.[2] NEPA’s procedural requirements apply to all federal agencies in the executive branch.
  • 1973 - The Endangered Species Act is to protect species and also "the ecosystems upon which they depend." It encompasses plants and invertebrates as well as vertebrates.
  • 1974 - The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act authorizes long-range planning by the US Forest Service to ensure the future supply of forest resources while maintaining a quality environment. RPA requires that a renewable resource assessment and a Forest Service plan be prepared every ten and five years, respectively, to plan and prepare for the future of natural resources.
  • 1976 - National Forest Management Act is the primary statute governing the administration of national forests and was an amendment to the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, which called for the management of renewable resources on national forest lands. The 1976 legislation reorganized and expanded the 1974 Act, requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to assess forest lands, and develop and implement a resource management plan for each unit of the National Forest System.