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16 U.S. Code § 1609 - National Forest System

(a) Congressional declaration of constituent elements and purposes; lands etc., included within; return of lands to public domain

Congress declares that the National Forest System consists of units of federally owned forest, range, and related lands throughout the United States and its territories, united into a nationally significant system dedicated to the long-term benefit for present and future generations, and that it is the purpose of this section to include all such areas into one integral system. The “National Forest System” shall include all national forest lands reserved or withdrawn from the public domain of the United States, all national forest lands acquired through purchase, exchange, donation, or other means, the national grasslands and land utilization projects administered under title III of the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act [7 U.S.C. 1010 et seq.], and other lands, waters, or interests therein which are administered by the Forest Service or are designated for administration through the Forest Service as a part of the system. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 473 of this title, no land now or hereafter reserved or withdrawn from the public domain as national forests pursuant to section 471 [1] of this title, or any act supplementary to and amendatory thereof, shall be returned to the public domain except by an act of Congress.

(b) Location of Forest Service offices

The on-the-ground field offices, field supervisory offices, and regional offices of the Forest Service shall be so situated as to provide the optimum level of convenient, useful services to the public, giving priority to the maintenance and location of facilities in rural areas and towns near the national forest and Forest Service program locations in accordance with the standards in section 2204b–1(b) of title 7.

(Pub. L. 93–378, § 11, formerly § 10, Aug. 17, 1974, 88 Stat. 480, renumbered § 11 and amended Pub. L. 94–588, §§ 2, 9, Oct. 22, 1976, 90 Stat. 2949, 2957.)

[1]  See References in Text note below.
Editorial Notes
References in Text

The Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, referred to in subsec. (a), is act July 22, 1937, ch. 517, 50 Stat. 522. Title III of the Bankhead Jones Farm Tenant Act is classified generally to subchapter III (§ 1010 et seq.) of chapter 33 of Title 7, Agriculture. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1000 of Title 7 and Tables.

Section 471 of this title, referred to in subsec. (a), was repealed by Pub. L. 94–579, title VII, § 704(a), Oct. 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2792.)


1976—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 94–588, § 9, prohibited the return to the public domain of land reserved or withdrawn from the public domain as national forests pursuant to section 471 of this title except by an act of Congress.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Land Conveyances Involving Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, Illinois

Pub. L. 104–106, div. B, title XXIX, Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 594, as amended by Pub. L. 106–65, div. B, title XXVIII, § 2842, Oct. 5, 1999, 113 Stat. 863; Pub. L. 113–291, div. B, title XXVIII, § 2838, Dec. 19, 2014, 128 Stat. 3710; Pub. L. 115–232, div. B, title XXVIII, § 2848, Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 2279, provided that title XXIX could be cited as the “Illinois Land Conservation Act of 1995” and provided for conversion of Joliet Army Ammunition Plant to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Illinois, to be managed by the Secretary of Agriculture as part of National Forest System, and for conveyance of certain real property at the Arsenal for a national cemetery, a Will County, Illinois, landfill, and industrial parks to replace all or a part of lost economic activity, with provisions prohibiting construction of title XXIX to restrict or lessen degree of cleanup required to be carried out under environmental laws, and provisions authorizing retention of real property used for environmental cleanup by Secretary of the Army until transfer occurs.

Executive Documents
Transfer of Functions

For transfer of certain enforcement functions of Secretary or other official in Department of Agriculture under this subchapter to Federal Inspector, Office of Federal Inspector for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System, and subsequent transfer to Secretary of Energy, then to Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects, see note set out under section 1601 of this title.