U.S. Forest Service

The only federal agency with a brown bear as its spokesperson, the US Forest Service (USFS) is one of the lead agencies tasked with natural resource conservation and protection.

While Smokey is its most recognizable employee, the USFS has 30,000 employees working to protect some 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. And although “Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires” is its best-known slogan, the agency’s official motto is actually: “Caring for the Land and Serving People.” What does that mean exactly? Forest Rangers do everything from rangeland management research to working with private land owners to promote good forestry.

Put simply, the US Forest Service is a custodian of our National Forests. It aims to ensure a sustainable yield of all the renewable resources that forests can provide: clean water, forage, wildlife habitat, timber, and recreation. That also means balancing the needs and wants of different groups—the forest industry wants lumber, conservationists and environmentalists want wildlife preservation, and adventure-seekers want recreational opportunities.

Although they’re known for their progressive ideals, the Forest Service doesn’t always side with Bambi. Recently, the agency decided to bolster its lumber output, from 2.4 billion board feet in 2011 to over 3 billion board feet by 2014. That’s a lot of wood.

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