1975: Secretary Butz Speech

"It would be sad indeed if on some future day Americans had no such wilderness area they could visit and get such a feeling. That's why our forefathers established a heritage of conservation and land preservation we still carry on today... We have also set aside over 12 million acres of Wilderness Areas -- 94 percent of which are in our National Forests.

For some people, these efforts are not enough. They look to the large acreages in the National Forests and want to stop virtually all alternate uses except backpacking and nature hikes.

This attitude is as unreasonable as the one that would ruthlessly exploit our national forestlands until every log, rock, mineral deposit, animal, fish, hidden trail, and clear stream would be endangered. One extreme plan is as unworkable as the other.

It is a legitimate concern to want a healthy, well-balanced environment, a place to take a physical and spiritual breather from the crowded life of the cities. But that desire has to be balanced against reality. Against the growing need for farmlands and grazing land for growing food. Against the need to unearth more mineral resources. Against the need to cut more timber and to turn out more wood products each year.

The pressures on our National Forests will increase with every passing year. They will increase as long as we want comfortable homes, outdoor recreation, maple dining room sets, walnut furniture in our living rooms, plywood sheeting on our walls and roofs, or newsprint for our morning paper...

America's needs are changing. The day of the log cabin, or the homestead for every family is gone, but the day of needing timber and National Forests will always be with us. Our forests are a vital, national trust and we must work to perpetuate them, assuring both preservation and balanced utilization."


"Our Nation's Forests,"address by Secretary of Agriculture Earl L. Butz, before the 6th American Forest Congress, Washington, D.C., October 6, 1975.