Forest Service Wilderness Management Funding

T-RCED-91-11: Published: Feb 26, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 1991.

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GAO discussed the Forest Service's funding for managing wilderness areas. GAO noted that: (1) the Service reprogrammed funds Congress designated for wilderness management to other programs without the appropriate congressional approval; (2) of the $44.9 million Congress designated for wilderness management in fiscal years (FY) 1988 through 1990, the Service only spent $28.3 million on wilderness activities; (3) from FY 1989 through 1990, Service wilderness management expenditures decreased by 4 percent despite a 20-percent increase in funds designated for such purposes; (4) the Service could not specifically identify the activities for which it used most of the reprogrammed funds; (5) as of January 31, 1991, the Service planned to expend only $9.7 million of the $22.6 million designated for wilderness management; (6) in FY 1988 through 1990, the Service spent $17.8 million on such activities as measuring and controlling recreational use, constructing and maintaining signs and facilities, overseeing livestock grazing, and administering outfitter and permit programs; (7) in FY 1988 through 1990, the Service spent $10.5 million for headquarters oversight, regional office planning, and forest supervision; and (8) Service district offices spent substantially less on wilderness management in 1990 than in 1989.

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