To the Editor:
The Forest Service's recent decision to withdraw its revised forest plan, as relieving as it is, sheds light on some fundamental problems within the organization.
What we see in the Forest Service's failure to institute a new plan, after 15 years in the making, is that it isn't in touch with reality. For starters, many things can happen in 15 years. A plan that takes 15 years to complete will be obsolete by the time it's finished. This is something Forest Service decision makers remain incapable of wrapping their heads around.
Also consider the length of the plan itself. At over 5,000 pages, the revised plan was more than four times the length of the average Bible (about 1,200 pages). A 5,000-page plan would be so difficult to navigate that it would essentially be worthless, as the revised plan turned out to be.
What we can glean most of all from this is the glaring lack of accountability demanded of Forest Service leadership. After 15 years, and presumably millions of dollars spent, the Forest Service has nothing to show. If a blunder of this magnitude had occurred in the private sector, people would have lost their jobs. It's doubtful that a single reprimand was issued to those responsible for this massive waste of public resources.
In conclusion, the Forest Service needs to adopt some basic common sense. It needs to join us here in the real world, stop making excuses and begin managing our forests, as it was created to do.