Established by Congress in 1905, the Forest Service is a multi-faceted agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture that manages and protects 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 44 states and Puerto Rico–spanning 193 million acres of land, roughly the size of Texas. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
The National Forests and Grasslands provide the greatest diversity of outdoor recreation opportunities in the world, connecting people with nature in an unmatched variety of settings and activities. Visitors can hike, bike, ride horses, and drive off-road vehicles. They can picnic, camp, hunt, fish, and navigate waterways. They view wildlife and scenery, and explore the past. They glide though powder at world class alpine resorts and challenge themselves on primitive cross-country ski or snowmobile routes. Outdoor recreation on the National Forests and Grasslands is truly a part of the American way of life, and participation in recreational activities is the way that most Americans come to know their National Forests and Grasslands.
The Forest Service has an elite wildland firefighting team and the world’s largest forestry research organization. Their experts provide technical and financial help to state and local government agencies, businesses, private landowners and work government-to-government with tribes to help protect and manage non-federal forest and associated range and watershed lands.
USFS work is augmented through partnerships with public and private agencies that help the Forest Service plant trees, improve trails, educate the public, and improve conditions in wildland/urban interfaces and rural areas, just to name a few. The team also promotes sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation internationally.