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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 16, 1998




Our Nation has been blessed with abundant natural resources, and among the most precious of these are our forests. Because forests cover about one-third of the land area of the United States, their splendor is not limited to one region, but is shared by our entire country. All Americans can experience the variety and beauty of our forests, parks, and woodlands and share the joys of hiking, camping, bird watching, and other recreational activities. Likewise, all Americans benefit from the essentials for life that forests provide: clean water, clean air, soil stability, pollution reduction, and a rich habitat for plants and animals. Forests also supply us with products vital to our society and economy, from building materials to paper products to medicines.

Maintaining the health of our Nation's forests is an important and delicate task. As we continue to grow, both in terms of population and in land developed, we put increased pressure on our forests and woodland areas. In the past, such growth occurred without regard to its impact and often threatened the very existence of our forests and the diverse wildlife they support. Learning from our mistakes, today we use wise forest management strategies and careful stewardship to ensure that our forests will remain both healthy and productive.

Such management requires strong cooperation among private citizens, government agencies, and the forestry industry. Half of our Nation's forestlands belong to private landowners, the Federal Government and State governments own 40 percent, and the forest products industry owns the remaining 10 percent. All three groups have been working together to ensure the sustainable development of our forests and woodlands. State Foresters and Cooperative State Extension Agents, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, play a vital role in this endeavor, helping private landowners properly manage their forestlands through technical assistance, educational programs, and voluntary incentives. Working in partnership, government, industry, and private citizens are making progress in the vital task of preserving the health of America's forests and woodlands while providing essential products to the American people.

To recognize the importance of our forests in ensuring the long-term 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 has authorized 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 October 18 through October 24, 1998, as National Forest Products Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this 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-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.


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