Land Management:

Forest Planning Costs at the Boise and Clearwater National Forests in Idaho

RCED-87-28FS: Published: Oct 31, 1986. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on forest planning costs for fiscal years (FY) 1981 through 1985 for the Boise and Clearwater National Forests in Idaho, and allocated the costs to the pertinent federal laws and regulations governing the planning process.

The Forest Service accounting system does not show the actual total cost of preparing land management plans because it: (1) does not include the cost of staff outside the land management planning unit who are directly involved in developing the plan; and (2) includes the cost of some staff who perform non-forest-plan activities. GAO estimated the costs and found that: (1) the Boise National Forest used $2.5 million out of its total FY 1981 through 1985 expenditures of $82.2 million to develop its forest plan; (2) the Clearwater National Forest spent $2.1 million out of a total of $93.7 million in the same time period for plan development; (3) the Boise and the Clearwater National Forest staffs estimated that 75 percent and 86 percent, respectively, of their planning costs were attributable to the National Forest Management Act of 1976 and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969; and (4) the Clearwater draft plan is now under revision and is scheduled for completion by the end of 1986, while the Boise plan is still under development.

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