JACKSON — U.S. Forest Service officials are recommending against merging the management of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in northwestern Wyoming and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest in southeastern Idaho.
Acting Regional Forester Marlene Finley has concurred with the recommendation from the supervisors of both forests who said consolidation wasn’t in the public’s best interests, agency officials said Tuesday.
Former Regional Forester Harv Forsgren last year had asked the forest supervisors to examine whether consolidation could reduce fixed costs, saying options would need to save at least $1 million annually to be viable.
Bridger-Teton spokeswoman Mary Cernicek said Tuesday that agency officials didn’t see enough cost savings to warrant a merger, and there wasn’t enough overlap of the issues of each forest for a merger to make sense. They also found that consolidation would hurt the services the forests offer the public.
Both forests had already been examining workforce realignments. Cernicek says the forests will go ahead with implementing those plans.
Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., released a written statement saying she was pleased with the decision against “a very bad idea.” She had previously questioned whether administering a combined forest across state lines would work.