I know, and I largely agree with you, too. But you're comparing the National Forest land with an ideal that it never was in the first place.
The American West was first stolen from native americans, then gifted to the barons of railroads, mining, logging, and ranching, because they owned the government - Federal to a large degree but state to a huge degree. It was an incredible battle for Teddy Roosevelt to establish federal control of the lands and the US Forest Service at all, and would never happen again today, who would even dare try? The land was already being exploited and it took decades to reign it in even to the point where it is now. Setting aside all that land as wilderness was never in the cards. Look at the entrance signs - "Land of Many Uses." It is a compromise. Europe has nothing like it. Don't get me wrong, we should absolutely keep bitching about sweetheard deals and encroachment, but I also run trails in the national forest near my home every morning before breakfast, and I feel very lucky to do so.