Organizational Values and Political Power
The Forest Service Versus the Olympic National Park
AUTHOR: Twight, Ben W.
PUBLISHER: Pennsylvania State University Press
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This is a study of how tenacious adherence to a value orientation by a bureaucracy, the U.S. Forest Service, guided that agency's political decisions over a 29-year period to its ultimate loss of jurisdiction over almost a million acres of public forest. The study focuses on the contest between the Forest Service and the National Park Service, as well as their clienteles, for Washington State's Olympic Mountains. Both the external pressures for change and the internal commitment of the Foresters to their traditional values are depicted by drawing on hundreds of letters and documents in the archives of the Forest Service.
The study has three parts: I, a brief history of the national forest idea and the evolution of a Forest Service ideology, together with a hypothesis explaining the Foresters' inflexibility; II, a history of the bureaucratic struggle from 1909, when President Theodore Roosevelt established the Mt. Olympus National Monument under Forest Service control, until 1938, when President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill to establish the Olympic National Park under Park Service control; III, a defense of the value orientation hypothesis against alternative explanations. (A brief appendix discusses the concept of value orientation as viewed by social science theorists.)
When concern about the rape of natural resources developed in the 1800s, there was little conflict between "utilitarian conservationists" and "recreation-minded aesthetic preservationists." Both opposed the prevailing "cut (or dig) and move on" attitude. During the Progressive Era, however, a split developed as the conservationists became enamored with the "doctrine of efficiency" while the preservationists waxed eloquent about the "call of the wild." John Muir epitomized the preservationist view, which the conservationist Gifford Pinchot disparaged as "sentimentalism and philanthropic forest protection." The Pinchot attitude toward forests--as the source of a crop to be harvested prudently--prevailed in the Forest Service, although some members of this elite corps urged concessions to preservationist-recreationists. Establishment of the Olympic National Park was a stunning defeat for the Forest Service and its value orientation.
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/1/1990
CATEGORY: Political Science, Technology & Engineering, Travel