This paper explores the influence of the behavior of the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management on effective public policy toward the national forests. It shows that fluctuations in stumpage sales from such forests have been large. Furthermore, those fluctuations could well have a significant impact on the price elasticity of harvest even with large stocks of uncut volume under contract. System analysis of harvest and sale patterns in nine regions during the period 1951-1992 shows that stumpage sales displayed little correlation with prices during the period; the positive price elasticity of harvest seems to have been induced largely by the behavior of logging firms. However, it finds a positive link between National Forest budgets and annual sales. If budget appropriations had been negatively correlated with stumpage prices, the price elasticity of harvest from federal forests could have been severely damped.