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ANF use survey available beginning in October

Beginning in October, visitors to the Allegheny National Forest may get the opportunity to contribute to a survey about forest use and recreation.

The USDA Forest Service – Allegheny National Forest (ANF) will conduct National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) in various recreation sites and along Forest Service roads from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2020.

NVUM is done every five years to update prior survey results and to compare recreation trends over time.

Visitors may expect to see ANF contracted employees wearing bright orange vests standing near signs that state “Traffic Survey Ahead.” Trained interviewers will work in all weather conditions asking people to take time out to share their experience.

Questions will pertain to the interviewees visit to the national forest. Each interview should take between 8 to 15 minutes. The survey is voluntary. All information provided is confidential.

Data collected from the surveys is useful for forest planning. It provides an estimate of how many people recreate in the forest and what activities they engage in. The data is also useful to local visitors bureaus and community tourism planning in understanding how visitors to the forest impact the local economy.

According to the NVUM National Summary Report including data collected from 2012 through 2016, there were an estimated 148 million recreation visits to national forests nationwide during that four-year time frame.

Survey results indicate people choose to visit national forests for various reasons, but most said they do so to improve their physical, psychological and/or spiritual well being. Their chosen activities vary widely. Some relax as they view natural features or wildlife from the roadside, whereas others pursue solitude as they hike in remote areas. Some engage in off-highway vehicle use. Others enjoy water-based recreation, hunt, or camp.

The two most common primary recreational activities are hiking/walking and downhill skiing. Just over 60 percent of visitors engage in a primary activity that is physically active.

For more information or to view previous survey results go to fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/.

For questions concerning National Visitor Use Monitoring call the ANF Supervisors Office at 814-723-5150.

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