Interest Group Influence and Use Allocation Policies
Local officers of the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) steadfastly maintained they took the interests of their clients into account when making decisions. As noted earlier, local officers' decisions can be analytically divided into front-end decisions allocating lands to certain uses or levels of use and back-end decisions on the administration of those uses. Participants in local public lands politics generally believed interest group politics primarily affected the service's and bureau's back-end use administration policies (see chapter 7, especially pages 222-226. Essentially, the historical change in local public lands constituencies during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when environmentalists emerged as a counterbalance to traditional economic users, resulted in increased restrictions on use administration. It is difficult, however, to ascribe changes over time in use administration restrictions solely to environmentalist influence. Environmentalists were certainly sympathetic with, and sometimes even explicitly called for, increased controls on uses to protect land resources, but the controls were so consistent with long-standing agency methods of operation that local administrators appeared to be using environmentalist and recreationalist pressures to achieve agency goals.
Despite local participants' preoccupation with use-administration policies, front-end decisions about levels of goods and services provided by