Salvage Sale Fund's Deposits and Outlays

RCED-96-240R: Published: Aug 22, 1996. Publicly Released: Aug 22, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the uses, status, and management of the Forest Service's Salvage Sale Fund. GAO noted that: (1) at the beginning of fiscal year (FY) 1996, the fund had an unobligated balance of $210 million; (2) from FY 1991 through FY 1995, the Service deposited $833.3 million in the fund from salvaged timber sales and expended $719.4 million to administer such sales; (3) under specific congressional authorization, the Forest Service spent $58 million of the fund for purposes unrelated to salvage sales; (4) Congress authorized the Forest Service to spend another $70.6 million to prepare additional timber sales to replace those sales lost because of fire or other causes; (5) fund deposits exceeded outlays in 4 of the 5 years reviewed; (6) the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Regions accounted for 63 percent of total fund deposits and outlays; (7) the fund's deposit and outlay data do not represent all salvage sale transactions or the outlays and deposits from a single salvage sale occurring in different fiscal years; and (8) the Forest Service rarely tracks salvage and regular timber sales separately for accounting purposes.

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