Throughout my Forest Service career, my coworkers and I took very seriously the responsibility of managing the public’s natural resources. Caring for our forests and grasslands, water, and wildlife populations is a sacred trust that the American people place in the hands of public employees.
With this honor comes challenges. Every action a public resource manager takes is open for critique in the public forum. It is often said, tongue-in-cheek, that the only problem with a democracy is that everyone gets a vote. The public can weigh in on every action affecting public resources, using an agency review and comment process, the news media, the courts, or social media. Sometimes the comments are deceitful, mean-spirited and self-serving, but public employees by the nature of their employment have limited ability to respond.