The Forest Service also recognized that different recreationists have varying demands and needs, and that by providing a different style and level of service than other recreation agencies, the range of choice available to recreationists could be expanded. Similarly, by locating Forest Service sites and trails in areas where few other recreation opportunities were available (i.e., remote areas away from urban areas and public highways), the range of choice for recreational experiences would be further enhanced.
The unique recreation experience provided by Forest Service recreation sites has proven to be highly popular over the years with residents and non-residents alike.In the early years of the program, summer recreation was the primary focus. As interest in winter recreational pursuits grew, so did the development of winter sites and trails to accommodate activities such as cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Although Forest Service sites and trails were free of charge and generated no revenue of their own, they were nevertheless responsible for generating major economic activity in local communities where recreationists purchased supplies to conduct their outdoor activities.
With the introduction of the new Forest Act and the Ministry of Forests Act in 1978, the Forest Service was restructured. Recreation was established as one of three primary resource management mandates, along with timber and range resources. The new legislation expanded the role of the recreation program to include all aspects of recreation resource management. A Recreation Management Branch was created to manage recreation sites and trails, protect recreation values in provincial forests, implement a recreation inventory system, and address visual landscape management issues.
Recreation management began to shift from an emphasis on recreation use to a balanced consideration of all aspects of recreation resource management within an integrated management framework. The number of recreation staff was increased, and staff were now located at headquarters in Victoria as well as regional and district offices.