Patterns of the Fifties Repeated in the Sixties
Without skipping a beat, the trends in national forest management set between 1945 and 1960 extended into the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. To be sure, some controversies increased in tempo while others moved into the background, but the fundamental political and economic context remained the same. No resolution of any major conflicts or lasting change in management emphases marked these later decades. The public debate over the meaning of multiple use, over management priorities, and over the concept of zoning continued. Except for greater attention to recreation, which was a trend of the 1950s anyway, nonmarket resources and values continued to be neglected in the funding process and, to a lesser degree, in management planning. Although a growing cross-section of the public -- including ecologists, philosophers, and environmentalists -- challenged traditional forest management practices and assumptions, a commodities management approach to the national forests coupled with a commitment to "full utilization" continued to enjoy ideological hegemony in the forestry profession and the agency until the late 1980s.
The rise of the modern "environmental movement" intensified demands for recreation development, which were accommodated in large part when not in conflict with resource extraction objectives. Environmentalists also made wilderness preservation nearly as American as apple pie (in small doses, of course), and successfully promoted a number of legislative constraints on Forest Service management discretion. These constraints, however, had only a minor impact on forest management. Congress, the Forest Service, and commodity interest groups held tenaciously to the belief that