Activists cite lack of funding for lack of protection by Forest Service
The nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation released a report saying the U.S. Forest Service lacks a clear legal mandate and the financial ability to protect thousands of historic sites and buildings on national forest lands from development, vandalism and other threats.
Only 1,936 of 325,000 U.S. Forest Service sites identified as historically or culturally significant are on the National Register of Historic Places. Only 27 are designated National Historic Landmarks.
About 80 percent of the 193 million acres the agency manages in 44 states and Puerto Rico haven't been surveyed for cultural and historic sites.
Heritage programs account for less than 1 percent of the Forest Service's $4.4 billion budget.
The Forest Service has two architectural historians. It manages roughly 40,000 older and historic buildings.
The trust recommends doubling the Forest Service's $14.5 million annual budget for heritage programs.
The trust says statutes should be amended to explicitly recognize the Forest Service's responsibility for historic and cultural resources on the lands it manages.
In related news, the Bush administration continues to advocate tax cuts for the rich while pouring money down the drain in Iraq.
Allowing someone to harm these sites is a tragedy and a travesty, if you ask me.