Fiddlin' Foresters axed from federal web domain


The Fiddlin’ Foresters may live on, but their web site’s apparently defunct.

Monday morning, the U.S. Forest Service string band found itself in the unenviable position of being panned by President Obama. Not for its music, but for a web site that Obama held up as an example of a taxpayer-funded Internet presence in urgent need of pruning.

“Did you know that the federal government pays for a web site devoted to a folk music ensemble made up of forest rangers?” Obama asked in a video posted on the White House’s own site. The video then features a screen shot of the group’s site, accompanied by what is presumably a sample of the band’s playing.

“I’ll put their music on my iPod, but I’m not paying for their web site,” Obama continued. “And there are hundreds of similar sites that we should consolidate or just get rid of.”


A Google search quickly turned up, but the url had vanished from a government server.  A cached version described the four-member ensemble as “the official ‘old-time string band'” of the Forest Service, adding that “we are proud to bring conservation and stewardship messages alive through story and song to all who value natural and cultural resource conservation on America’s public lands.”

The site was up as recently as Friday, the cached version indicated. Asked today whether it has since been shut down because of Obama’s criticism, the Forest Service bounced the question to its parent agency, the U.S. Agriculture Department, where Press Secretary Matt Herrick had no answer Monday afternoon.


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  1. I think it’s absurd for Obama to pick on this group – it’s a shame, and it’s foolish, considering how much good they probably do with their playing and their message. As well, most of the 60s people who supported Obama were folkies. He’s certainly undercutting his support.

  2. What do “60’s people” have to do with it? You make no sense! I think it’s a good idea to do a clean-up of the government-run websites. Theres a lot of time and money involved in operating/updating websites. Is that something you as a taxpayer want to keep paying for? He’s not picking on them – he’s just trying prioritize. Foolish? Wow, if you think this is foolish, I’d hate to think of what you think of all the other ways he is going to try to cut spending…

  3. I am surprised that this group was able to have a ‘government sponsored’ website. If their mission was so important to the U.S. Forest Service, they should have had a ‘page’ on the official site. – I think shutting them down was proper.

  4. Talk about a totally silly,completly token way to reduce government spending! How about what we pee away on SSI and Social Security to people that never paid into the system? How about all the free medical care that we are now providing to illegals? How about all the illegals working under the table and paying NO taxes… If employers were SEVERELY! Penalized for employing anyone without legitamate documents,if banks couldn’t handle accounts,landlords couldn’t rent to anyone without legal residency status. How many Americans could find jobs,and how much more tax revenue would come in with folks having LEGIT jobs??? How much did we save by messing with the Forest Rangers? 10 bucks a month???

  5. Obama is a fool and looking more foolish each time he opens his mouth. This site required a minimum of maintenance and updating – likely costing no more than $50/yr. Our bean-headed president shows his ignorance once again. Go after the big dogs if you want to save money. Keep your paws off of something like the Fiddlin Foresters’ website that provides an excellent service and is a wonderful promoter of land stewardship and the history of conservation.

  6. Thanks for looking out for our finances, Mr. President. How about the millions and billions in aid for the middle east countries, who are raping the citizens of OUR country, on the price of crude oil? Wake up, it’s no longer business as usual in D.C.When the working people can’t afford to drive to work, the unemplyment numbers will climb so high, you won’t be able to print enough bills to cover the bailouts. You had your term in office and I don’t care who runs against you, they have my vote.

  7. It’s a start… I guess. Now try hitting up the military and start with the USAF. Paying hundreds of thousands to contractors to conduct fitness tests? Paying millions annually for (pay attention now) “pre-inspections for the pre-inspection to the inspection”. The traveling military bands who annually cost tens of millions. All these are true examples of the incredible thievery that goes on in the DoD everyday.

  8. Oh, don’t worry. Military Bands are being attacked too. We must let our lawmakers know that their thoughts are not our thoughts. Cutting these tiny programs while increasing overall spending in every other sector is the kind of financial ignorance that has been plaguing our economy for over a decade- and it’s only getting worse. Last time I checked, the entire Forest Service, the Department of Education, the EPA, military bands don’t come even close to 1% of spending we do on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Health “reform.” Congress and the White House are actually planning on INCREASING the Defense budget- and are still looking at hitting military bands really hard with nearly a 40% cut; I guess in a vain attempt to look fiscally responsible. Ridiculous! How is it possible for lawmakers and leaders to be so out of touch?

  9. Dave Satterfield on

    This incident looks so bizarre as to defy classification, but a little thought does come up with an explanation.

    First, although I have had a long, low key interest in the Mann Gulch and I have read all I can find about it, I never opened up my mind to the larger issues of wildfires in the West until I heard the Mann Gulch Tribute with vocals and music by the Fiddlin’ Foresters. Since that time I have kept up a personal investigation of these fire, how they affect people and how they are fought by very brave men and women. Recently the information so gathered had a real benefit as my son who has recently moved to Boulder Colorado, became concerned with a fire raging only a few miles to his west (the Flagstaff fire for those keeping track) and I was able to give him both information and advice.

    So, I can say, the official band of the Forest Service has served me well and I will bet it has served others too. If it were just an ad lib hobby of some forest rangers, I might appreciate the axing of their website, but knowing what I do, I cannot condone it. But why did it happen?

    To that, I would ask one to look back at at least a half dozen instances where the present administration has rushed to judgement and taken positions that turned out to be foolish. OK, maybe it does not make a federal case when it comes to music but I worry that next time, it might involve a matter of life and death for a great number of people.

    AI think we all ought be worried about the possibilities.

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