Around the country every site on National Forests has its own history, and each site has had different uses not necessarily related to restoration and conservation. There have been several impacts on ecosystems that had been evaluated and managed by the US Forest Service according to its ideology “The greatest good, for the biggest number, for the longest run” since the implementation of the National Forest System. Unfortunately, before the protection of federal land there were irreversible effects on nature, for example the introduction of European beach grass on the Oregon Dunes or a curious thing I recently read about with regards to the Oregon Caves National Monument in Southern Oregon. There was quite a bit of damage that people caused at the caves in the 19th century when they blew up parts of the cave changing the air flux between chambers; affecting the natural formation of the cave.
It is important to consider that appropriate management efforts have evolved according to science development; many implementations taken by the Forest Service in the past weren’t appropriately accurate and have changed over time. For example, mistakenly the Forest Service used to remove logs from watersheds and rivers; with time it was found that the presence of logs in rivers maintains an adequate water temperature and keeps oxygen levels balanced for species like chinook and coho salmon. Nowadays the Forest Service contracts helicopters to drop logs on important rivers for these species to maintain optimal conditions for their reproduction, especially because these species are commercially important.
The Forest Service is a fine line between excessive exploitation and conservation. A sustainable use of natural places is crucial to keep natural monuments preserved for future generations. In order to conserve, it is important to respect people’s way of living so they can help the Forest Service to protect natural resources that represents a financial benefit, and that would help people to appreciate and love the natural monuments they have in their country.