The loss of Gloria Flora ["Forest Chief in Nevada Resigns," news story, Nov. 12] is a wake-up call for the American people. The national forest she manages is part of a 23-million-acre mosaic of lands that each of us inherits simply by virtue of being a citizen of the United States.

Serving as a forest supervisor is a difficult job anywhere in the country. As has so clearly been shown by Supervisor Flora's resignation, supervising a national forest in Nevada is next to impossible because of openly hostile, anti-federal government zealots.

As The Post's Thomas Kenworthy notes, this is "a state that gave rise to the Sagebrush Rebellion, and where federal land managers are regularly vilified and their offices are occasionally bombed." The departing Ms. Flora called mistreatment of federal workers a "state-sanctioned" sport in Nevada.

Sure, the supervisor of any national forest must maintain open lines of communication with local elected officials and the public. Just as certainly, a supervisor should not have to obtain clearance from local officials before making land-management decisions affecting the land under her jurisdiction.

Every American is a trustee of our national parks, forests and other public lands. This acreage is the heart of a national network of wild lands that is essential to the nation's future health--environmental and economic.

The Gloria Floras of the world deserve the support and protection they need to manage our lands in accordance with the law.

JAY THOMAS WATSON

Regional Director

The Wilderness Society

San Francisco