United States Forest Service (USFS)

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A organizational summary by the ENVS 560/L Watershed Systems class at CSUMB.

This page is an introduction to the United States Forest Service (USFS) with specific emphasis on the Central Coast of California.


The Forest Service was established by an act of Congress in 1905, during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency. [1] The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is responsible for managing public lands in the nation’s 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands that cover more than 193 million acres of public land. The agency also oversees 80 experimental forests and ranges, five research and development stations, and 18 job corps centers. The USFS maintains and cultivates these lands for public use and national interests through various activities ranging from scientific research and development to firefighting, recreation maintenance, wilderness and wildlife protection, ecosystem management, and timber production. [2]

Mission Statement

"Sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations." [3]


The Service was created on the principle of managing the Nation’s natural resources “for the greatest good, for the greatest number, for the longest time." [3]

The mission focuses on balancing the short and long-term needs of people and nature by:

  • Working with communities and USFS partners
  • Providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality
  • Connecting people to the land and one another

Legal Status / Authority

  • Regulations that govern how the Forest Service manages public lands:
    • The U.S. Code and the Code of Federal Regulations: Title 16 U.S. Code CHAPTER 36—Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning.
  • Governing Laws:
    • Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937
    • Clean Air Act of 1970
    • Clean Water Act of 1972
    • Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980
    • Endangered Species Act of 1973
    • Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960
    • National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
    • National Forest Management Act of 1976
    • National Historic Preservation Act of 1966
    • Native American Graves Repatriation Act of 1990
    • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act 1976
    • Weeks Act of 1911
    • Wilderness Act of 1964


USFS is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Organizational Structure

The Agency is divided into four levels:

  • Headquarters: The Chief reports to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Region: Withing headquarters, Region includes 9 geographic regions where regional forester oversees forest supervisors.
  • National forests and grasslands: Within the Regions, 154 national forests and 20 grasslands where Forest supervisors direct the work of district rangers.
  • Ranger districts: Within the National forests and grasslands, more than 600 ranger districts, each with a staff of 10 to 100 people.

USFS Regional Territories

  • Within the USFS California Central Coast territory lies the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF). The Forest encompases approximately 1.75 million acres of central California land. To the South of the Forest lies the Angeles National Forest and to the East lies the Sequoia National Forest and the Sierra National Forest.

Related links


  1. U.S.Forest Service https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1602.html#:~:text=The%20Forest%20Service%20was%20established,height%20of%20the%20Progressive%20Movement.&text=On%20February%201%2C%201905%2C%20the,within%20the%20Department%20of%20Agriculture.
  2. AllGov United States Forest Service http://www.allgov.com/departments/department-of-agriculture/united-states-forest-service?agencyid=7277#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20Forest%20Service%20(USFS,and%2018%20job%20corps%20centers.
  3. 3.0 3.1 US Forest Service https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency


This page may contain students's work completed as part of assigned coursework. It may not be accurate. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of CSUMB, its staff, or students.