Magazine article American Forests

From Conquest to Conservation; Our Public Lands Legacy

Magazine article American Forests

From Conquest to Conservation; Our Public Lands Legacy

Article excerpt

From Conquest to Conservation; Our Public Lands Legacy, by Michael P. Dombeck, Christopher Wood, and Jack E. Williams.

$22.50, Island Press 2003.

Written by Mike Dombeck, former chief of the U.S. Forest Service and director of the Bureau of Land Management, and two other former high-level Forest Service officers, this book offers the rich insights of participants in the recent history of these public agencies and the lands they manage.

The story they tell is not an apologetic one. It is the saga of the American experience with public land management with all its successes and failures. For the most part, it is the untold story of the tumultuous times since WWII, when public agencies became embroiled in controversy, and the often-negative impacts of the policies that guided their management programs. While the authors are critical of these policies' results, they insist their goal "is to propose options to maintain and restore public lands and waters. . . to provide present and future generations with social and environmental benefits."

The first chapter summarizes the origins of the public domain and the federal land management agencies, followed by four chapters that chronicle the decline of public land and water resources. …

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