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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 16, 1993




Our National Forests are a priceless heritage, a gift that we hold in trust for future generations. As stewards of this inheritance, we have the obligation of preserving the capacity of these lands to sustain, not only themselves, but also the species that depend on them. Even as we strive to fulfill this obligation, the American people are asking fundamental questions about how our National Forests are managed and about how best to ensure a healthy and productive land.

Much has already been done to protect our forests. Of the 191 million acres of National Forest, 34 million have been set aside as part of the wilderness preservation system, a system that safeguards wilderness for future use and enjoyment. National Forests include more than 4,300 miles of designated segments of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Systems. These rivers are maintained in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of this and future generations.

Much more remains to be done, and we are only beginning to fathom, however incompletely, the complexities of the ecosystems of which our National Forests are composed. We know that over 250 threatened and endangered species of fish, animals, and plants inhabit National Forests and are dependent on them for survival. We also know that the key to protecting these and other species is to maintain healthy ecosystems through effective management of National Forests. In addition, we now understand that our forests are only one part of a global mosaic of forest ecosystems and that, if we are to be a world leader in environmental conservation, our stewardship must set standards for the world to emulate.

Our National Forests are also vital to our physical and spiritual well-being. National Forests are the single largest provider of outdoor recreation in the United States, providing 288 million visitor days at Forest Service campgrounds, picnic areas, and other recreation attractions in the past year. Products generated from national forests support jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers, most located in rural America. People whose livelihoods are dependent on forest products industries must be considered as we reexamine the role of National Forests in promoting the welfare of all Americans.

Clearly, we are moving toward a new era in the stewardship of public lands. This new era is one in which we must blend environmental values with the needs of people in such a way that the National Forests represent diverse, healthy, productive, and sustainable ecosystems. Ecosystem management must be grounded on sound science and on compliance with existing law.

In recognition of the central role our forests play in enhancing the welfare of our Nation, the Congress, by Public Law 86-753 (36 U.S.C. 163), has designated the week beginning on the third Sunday in October of each year as "National Forest Products Week" and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning October 17, 1993, as National Forest Products Week and call upon all Americans to observe that week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.


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