National Forest Service

Rebecca Huntington / Wyoming Public Radio

During a visit Thursday to the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the federal government should not surrender its role managing public lands. That's despite renewed efforts by several Western states to get federally-owned public lands transferred to state control.

"This is an extraordinary treasure, and it is indeed a national treasure. And I think it is incumbent upon the federal government to understand its partnership responsibility, not to abdicate it, not to give it up, not to surrender it."

Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN) introduced a bill Wednesday to address the backlog of trail maintenance in the National Forest Trail system.

One year ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released the results of a study showing that just one-fourth of Forest Service trails were maintained to the agency’s standards, and that the trail maintenance backlog exceeded $314 million—plus $210 million in annual maintenance.

Wyoming Republican John Barrasso is leading a fight in the U.S. Senate to change regulations on timber harvesting in national forests. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that environmentalists and foresters are suspicious of his idea.

TheU.S. Forest Service has proposed a new national planning rule, which would govern how individual forests around the country draw up land management plans.

Under the current rule, forests draw up new management plans every 15 years. With the new system, they would re-assess and tweak their plans on an ongoing basis.