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