Of outdoor recreation, Aldo Leopold once wrote, “ Barring love and war few enterprises are undertaken with such abandon, or by such diverse individuals, or with so paradoxical a mixture of appetite and altruism, as that group of avocations known as outdoor recreation.” 1 Writing in the 1940s, Leopold was plainly dismayed by what he then saw in the exodus from the cities of motorized recreationists seeking an ever-diminishing “ ration of peace, solitude, wildlife and scenery.” Dismayed then, Leopold would be stunned today: more people driving faster cars, hauling bigger trailers, and pushing farther and farther into the remotest corners of the countryside. In the fifteen years between 1956 and 1970, visits to the major federal recreation lands-the national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges-more than tripled. Even Leopold, with no fondness for statistical measurements in such matters, would doubtless be impressed (and depressed) by the fact that over 188 million visitor-days were spent within the national forest lands in 1973.2 Every indication is that the demand will continue to increase as will the problems of meeting it. But before we discuss that we need to take a closer

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look at outdoor recreation and at the role of the federal government-more particularly that of the Forest Service.