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S.C. Addison -- Amphibian Design
508 E. Kirkwall Lane
Schaumburg, IL 60193

12 August 1994

USDA Forest Service
Reinvention Team - Rm.910-RPE
P.O. box 96090
Washington, DC 20090-6090

RE: "Architecture for Change..." -- Response to the 6/15 Draft

Greetings Again:

As a participant in the April 30 Town Hall in St. Paul, I received a copy of the "...Interim Report of the Forest Service Reinvention Team" several weeks ago. As a formal draft report on public inputs, it has to be taken seriously: Its completeness, accuracy, and comprehension are critical, for on the basis of what it acknowledges or ignores, the shape of future policy will be determined.

In response I call to attention to glaring omissions in the Report, affecting hard issues presented in Town Hall 'discussion groups' -- and carried personally to Chief Thomas:
* General objections toward Forest Service policies on public access and assembly in the National Forests, the historic abuses of police power infringing on Constitutional protections, and the specter of military priority on Public Land.

The Draft gives much discussion to the "organizational culture" of the Agency, yet says nothing of its law enforcement functions and interagency actions. The "Incident Command" hierarchy and mentality is a thing apart from the benign, landcaring posture that the Forest Service would now assume. By appearances, it is the ruling force in USFS policy toward First Amendment exercises in the National Forests: We have seen it "move in" on peaceful situations and militarize them, taking control on bureaucratic whim and preempting all other interactions between Citizens and Rangers.

This is antithetical to the Town Hall agenda, and it is unacceptable that this issue has been ignored. And if there is some notion that matters of 'National [Forest] Security & Police' are above public scrutiny, let that bad idea die right now.
* Positive ideas on Public Stewardship in the National Forests, with prospects for direct Citizen action on the land, to work large-scale remedies in damaged forest and range ecosystems, and reaffirm the bond of the Public and the Land.

The document takes the overall posture of a 'management study', still assuming the Government's sole authority over public land. It pays lipservice to ideas on public involvement in National Forest affairs, and spends much of its focus on delivering benefits and amenities to taxpaying Consumers. Somehow it avoids the implications of the founding mandates -- i.e., that Citizen's hold proprietary rights on public land and primary responsibilities for its wellbeing. Ironically there is precedent in current law: The Boy Scouts hold special dispensation to act in this capacity.

In its proper trustee role, the job of the Forest Service is not to keep the Public off its own land -- it is to serve and facilitate Public Stewardship. This is not just a vague nice idea... it is a reality demonstrated at the Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming on July 3, when thousands rallied with bucket brigades, shovels and bare hands to put out a serious fire of suspicious origin, and saved Bridger National Forest from major devastation. Citizen capacities are evolving for other such protective and restorative efforts on the Land; USFS policies must open to these potentials, not impede them.
* Specific opposition to proposed rulemakings on 'Group Use' [36 CFR * 251/261] and 'Law Enforcement' [36 CFR * 261/262], which would legitimize such abuses and pose an explicit threat to 1st & 4th Amendment rights -- in effect, nazifying the Federal Code.

Technically both rules are under review... Since the close of the comment period, the revised 'Group Use' rules have been held off for over a year in the face of public and Congressional scrutiny. Perhaps the rulemakers have bumped into the real legal quandary of their own making, which no fanciful language can cure -- that Public Assembly cannot be arbitrarily defined as a 'special use' to justify regulation, and that Citizens do not need permission from the Government to exercise Constitutional rights. Yet the Forest Service has not disclaimed the proposal of May 1993 (Fed.Reg, 58:86, 26940-46); presumably the same policies remain to be faced, if the revised rules come out in Fall '94 as expected.

The 'Law Enforcement' proposal of February 1994 (Fed.Reg, 59:32, 7880-92) did not make past the overwhelming opposition in the comment record. As it closed on May 18, Chief Thomas "...decided not to proceed to a final rule. Instead a new proposal will be developed...", with publication also expected in the Fall. Yet the Chief's apology to the American People did not address the most serious issues -- arbitrary and extreme discretions in enforcement, altered criminal codes to undermine jury trial rights, fast-track prosecution/revenue scams, official bribery for incriminating information, draconian drug control authorities, and a vast new National Police apparatus, empowered to lock down public lands by administrative fiat.

Again, the policy challenge remains on the table. In both cases Forest Service lawyers have blithely stated a "need" for new regulations, but no compelling interest has been shown; they merely assert their administrative authority to make rules. This posture in itself is unconstitutional, and I've said it before: "If such rules ever take effect, the "Reinvention of the Forest Service" would be a pointless exercise."

With such severe impacts on the Bill of Rights at stake, both rulemakings should be stopped and public hearings convened on responsible, cooperative policy alternatives.

These concerns are addressed in detail in a package I submitted in followup on the Town Hall in St. Paul. In addition to the standard "Comments" and "Summary Request", two documents were appended: A brochure summarizing the issues, and the "...Legal & Land Use Review" on the Group Use rules, a serious policy study that went to Congress, Agency officials, and the White House. That package should be considered as part of this Response, by reference; a copy of the 5/24 cover letter and the updated brochure are enclosed for your convenience.

Further, I am sending a copy of my 5/10 comment letter on the Law Enforcement amendments as presented in the Federal Register. With the Chief's action to abandon that proposal, USFS staff indicated that this entire formal record may be scrapped. In this light it is fitting and necessary that these comments be included here as well.

The focus here is deliberately narrow; I have much broader interests in issues of multi-use management and carrying capacity, which the Interim Report touches only in broad principle. Understand that I strongly support the "Reinvention" initiative, and hope that these observations help to foster deeper inquiry, and more thorough change.

Thanks for your attention...

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