Here's the official USFS map online: the dark green line is the declared
outer boundary of the National Forest. When you zoom in, 2 different colors
are shown: the slightly darker green areas are the land owned by the
Federal Government, while lighter areas are privately owned. This is easier
to see if you click on the gears (Tools) and change the base map to "world

Sometimes the privately owned land is right up against the outer boundary,
which makes it difficult to make valid multipolygons if you exclude them.

I advocated for mapping the outer boundary since land ownership is not
something we normally map, but other mappers are saying that the land
ownership is more verifiable than the declared boundary and more
important for actual protection status and access.

– Joseph Eisenberg

On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 8:18 AM Joseph Eisenberg <>

> On the Talk-US mailing list, other mappers from the USA have been
> discussing how National Forest boundaries should be mapped.
> There is now generally consensus that these should be tagged
> boundary=protected_area + protect_class=6 but there are 2 possible lines to
> follow:
> 1) The boundary declared by Congress (the legislature), which includes
> large areas of private land and whole towns in many cases
> 2) The actual land owned by the Federal Government of the United States
> within that declared boundary.
> The argument in favor of the second is that the privately-owned land
> within the boundary has no actual protection against development. For
> example, I lived in a village which was within the declared boundaries of
> the Klamath National Forest, but the development rules were determined by
> the County government and they were mostly the same as if we were not in
> the boundary (I think?)
> In other countries, how are National Park and other protected_area
> boundaries determined? If there are villages or towns within the boundary,
> are they actually protected? Are they excluded from the area?
> – Joseph Eisenberg
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