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Daily Newscasts

Former Forest Service Chief Questions Federal Budget Moves

February 28, 2011

CASPER, Wyo. - Camping, hunting and hiking experiences in Wyoming would likely change if Forest Service budget cuts under the U.S. House Republican budget proposal became final, according to former Forest Service chief Dale Bosworth. He's questioning the decisions, because he says the programs targeted for cuts are associated with things well-loved and appreciated by the public.

"That means clean water - 50 percent of drinking water come off National Forest land - road maintenance, trail maintenance, campgrounds, habitat improvement for things like elk and deer."

Bosworth adds that Idaho does have a champion in Congress on forest issues.

"The Chairman of the Interior Subcommittee, Mike Simpson, has done a lot to try to keep the Forest Service cuts from getting any worse than they are, and I appreciate that."

Bosworth points out that cuts to the Forest Service have been part of a long-term trend, and are hamstringing the agency from doing its job to keep forests healthy and accessible.

"What I'm really concerned about on this is that the Forest Service has been so underfunded for so long, and now, looking at more reductions, they're just not going to be able to meet the expectations of people."

He's hopeful however that the U.S. Senate will find ways to reverse the budget squeeze on National Forests, and bolster programs that promote collaboration in problem-solving, forest restoration work, and rural jobs.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY