Protecting and Restoring Forests
The United States is home to more than 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. They give Americans access to some of the most spectacular places in the world. Our national forests provide unparalleled, diverse habitat for many of our most treasured wildlife, and they include wild places and open spaces where Americans hike, camp, hunt and fish, and where we seek solace and solitude.
National forest lands are the single largest source of drinking water in the nation. According to the Forest Service, about 124 million Americans rely on national forests and grasslands as the primary source of clean drinking water. Thousands of towns and cities depend on national forests for their water supply. In addition to serving as giant water filters, national forests also clean up the air we breathe.
America's national forests and grasslands are the single largest source of outdoor recreation opportunities in the United States. Recreational activities on national forests and grasslands contribute billions of dollars annually to the U.S. economy, according to the Forest Service. Millions of visitors support thousands of jobs in rural communities each year. About 85 percent of the revenue generated from national forests comes from recreational activities -- more than five times the amount generated by logging.
Today, healthy forests are more important than ever. Yet logging, dirty energy development, and road-building continue to threaten them from within, even as climate disruption changes them from the outside. We must manage our national forests as a gift to future generations, maintaining and working toward whole and healthy natural systems -- and not give our forests away to extractive industries.