Service First agreement marks anniversary

Farm Forum

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK – In the year since local public land management agencies agreed to work closer together as part of a “Service First” agreement, shared resources have resulted in shorter construction times and lower costs.

“This agreement has allowed us to share staff expertise and surplus equipment with the Forest Service,” said Wind Cave National Park Superintendent Vidal Dávila. “For example, we saved money on our new airlock at the Walk-In Entrance by using the expertise of an archeologist from the Forest Service to monitor ground disturbance during construction.”

The “Service First” agreement between the Forest Service and the National Park Service, based on a law passed in 2012, allows the Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to exchange resources and share equipment across jurisdictional boundaries. Recent changes now allow all Department of Interior and United States Department of Agriculture agencies to participate.

Projects that have benefited from this agreement include: wildlife and plant surveys conducted by National Park Service employees on Forest Service land, a Department of Agriculture Job Corps crew who dug a trench for a new fiber line at Jewel Cave National Monument, and the sharing of excess equipment such as picnic tables from Wind Cave National Park to the Forest Service.

“Sharing services and equipment benefits everyone,” said Hell Canyon District Ranger Sherri Schwenke. “We can be more efficient in our use of supplies and keep our personnel costs down. When government keeps its costs down, the taxpayer benefits. While “service” is part of each agencies name, under “Service First”, the service shines.”

Participating in this agreement is the Hell Canyon Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest, the Fall River Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands, Jewel Cave National Monument, and Wind Cave National Park.