When asked why a history of the Eastern Region needed to be written, Regional Forester Larry Henson answered simply, "Because it is important to know where we have been, and because where we have been has a lot to do with what we are today." Henson, who was Deputy Chief of the Forest Service in 1985, also wanted the history of the Region to show how it has changed over the years and how its historic role in "re-establishing" forests has differed from the primary task of conservation done by the Forest Service in the West.
The National Forests of the Eastern Region, although they are important today, have been relatively less important to the general economy of the Region than the National Forests of the West are to theirs. Timber companies and their interests are today less dominant in the general economy of the Eastern Region than such companies are in the West. Indeed, when most of the Eastern Region National Forests were established, the logging companies had abandoned them because the timber had been harvested with no attempt at reforestation.
Under the management of the Forest Service, the ravaged forests of the East have been reclaimed. Logging has come back. Once-threatened wildlife and plant species have returned. The recreational use and scientific study of the National Forests have increased dramatically.
This history of the Eastern Region will endeavor to tell the story of the return of the forests to the Region and what that has meant to the people and the economy of the area.
Last Updated: 28-Jan-2008