The United States Forest Service (USFS) is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture that administers the nation’s 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands, which encompass 193 million acres.
Major divisions of the agency include the National Forest System, State and Private Forestry, and the Research and Development branch. The mission of the Forest Service is “To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.”
The everyday work of the Forest Service includes managing 193,000,000 acres of national forest and grasslands, including 59,000,000 acres of roadless areas; 14,077 recreation sites; 143,346 miles of trails; 374,883 miles of roads; and the harvesting of 1.5 billion trees per year. Further, the Forest Service has fought fires on 2,996,000 acres of land. The Forest Service organization includes ranger districts, national forests, regions, research stations and research work units and the Northeastern Area Office for State and Private Forestry.
There are nine regions in the USDA Forest Service, which are numbered 1 through 10. The Forest Service has more than 600 ranger districts. Each district has a staff of 10 to 100 people under the direction of a district ranger, a line officer who reports to a forest supervisor. The districts vary in size from 50,000 acres to more than 1 million acres. Most on-the-ground activities occur on ranger districts, including trail construction and maintenance, operation of campgrounds, and management of vegetation and wildlife habitat.