Forests For Our Future

Tongass National Forest.

Photo Slideshow

Explore the diversity of our National Forests and Grasslands.  View slideshow.
Tongass National Forest.

Interactive Map

Learn about the nine regional areas managed by the Forest Service.  View map.
Forests For Our Future

More than a century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt created the U.S. Forest Service and named the first National Forests. So began our nation’s reverence for its own outdoor legacy, the waters that sustain it, and the diverse wildlife it harbors.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service has unveiled a proposed final Forest Planning Rule to govern the long-term plans that guide the management of each unit of our National Forest System.

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Learn More: Spotlight on Region 9

The U.S. Forest Service operates nine regions throughout the country. Learn about each of the regions and their National Forests and Grasslands.

Superior National Forest.

Region 9: Stretching from Minnesota to Delaware, Maine to Missouri, Region 9 contains more than 962,000 acres of lakes (43% of the National Forest System's total) and over 15,000 miles of streams that provide clean drinking water for communities and healthy habitat for fish and wildlife.

Also known as the Eastern Region, Region 9's National Forest system totals 12 million acres and provides critical habitat for much of the wildlife in the eastern United States. Half the U.S. population now lives within a day's drive of one or more this region's National Forests. (Photo: Superior National Forest, in Region 9.)

Learn about all the U.S. Forest Service regions.

Learn More: National Forests = National Parks?

President Richard M. Nixon signs the Clean Air Act on Dec. 31, 1970.

The United States is home to 155 National Forests and 20 National Grasslands covering 193 million acres combined. (View map.) These areas are administered by the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Although National Forests and National Parks are both focused on conservation, they differ in key ways.

National forests are managed with the goal of having the best combination of uses to benefit the American people, while ensuring the productivity of the land and protecting the quality of the environment. In the words of Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service: "To provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run.”

National parks emphasize strict preservation of resources "unimpaired for future generations," and are administered by the National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior.

Many national forests are located directly adjacent to national parks. As they are governed by different rules and regulations, it can be important to know if you’re on forest or park land!

Featured Stories

National Forests and their critical watersheds have been damaged by industrial activities. It is past time for a new planning rule that is strong and smart enough to protect our National Forests and life-giving waters within them, now and well into the future.
An interactive guide to our National Forests and Grasslands, illustrating the treasured forests, sensitive wildlife and essential waters that could be at stake if the proposed forest rule is not strengthened to protect our forests and waters.
President Obama's draft plan for national forests and grasslands is well-intentioned, but lacks real protective measures that will guarantee accountability.
Take Action! Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is considered to be the crown jewel of the national forest system. But old-growth logging still takes place. Help transition the Tongass away from this destructive practice.