To the Editor:

This land is our land: Streams, rivers, rock outcrops, wildlife, and a magnificent forest that span an area that all visitors are free to enjoy and marvel at the scenes and wisdom that God gave Mother Earth to create. It is located in the Ozark and Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois. This forest comprises of 265,616 acres located in parts of Pope, Jackson, Union, Hardin, Alexander, Saline, Gallatin, Johnson, and Massac counties. The nearest city to the Shawnee Forest is Harrisburg, and the city claims to be the gateway to the Shawnee National Forest.

Mankind decided it needed to be managed and established the right to do so in 1933 under the direction of an act by President Roosevelt & Congress. Unfortunately the present day administrators of our Shawnee Forest, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, wants to impose fees upon people to enjoy and supposedly improve it. Those poor folks say that $449 million of our tax money is not enough — they need $5.2 million. Therefore, imposing user fees should be a very reasonable solution.

With that said, mathematics indicates $4.49 per square foot is what is needed to manage the Shawnee National Forest. We know that buildings are needed for various offices, equipment and office supplies, forest service uniforms and travel costs, vehicles, road and trail repair, access roads and boundary line surveys, markers and signage, soil and timber studies, soil erosion control and the list goes on.

However the enormous cost of personnel is the point of the arrowhead of the Shawnee. There are so many supervisors that supervise others whom supervise the non supervisors that $104.49 per each foot on them would not cover a good days work.

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This fee structure is very unreasonable and should not be imposed. The real solution is to dissolve useless management positions in the Harrisburg Shawnee National Forest Supervisor's Office and the District Office in Wisconsin. How many pieces of one pie can it take before the whole pie crumbles?

Comments can be mailed or submitted by by hand to: Shawnee National Forest Supervisor's Office, 40 Highway 145 South, Harrisburg, IL 62946. Comments can be emailed to: Mailroom_r9_shawnee@fs.fed.us. Please forward all your comments to hope to overcome this needless expense.

Michael L. Duncan


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