ANF seeking input on future of rec sites

Times Observer file photo The U.S. Forest Service is embarking on an analysis that will shape how recreation dollars are spent on the Allegheny National Forest. Federal officials are looking to hear from the public about its recreation priorities.

Federal officials are trying to develop a five-year plan for how to spend recreation dollars that come to the Allegheny National Forest.

They want your help.

It’s called a Recreation Site Analysis and will review a total of 63 sites — campgrounds, picnic areas, trailheads, boat launches, beaches and interpretive sites.

Those sites, according to a statement from the ANF, “are under review by our staff to determine the sites’ value in contributing to public recreation demand and preferences, environmental integrity, and the economic vitality of the forest and its communities.”

“This really is an opportunity for the public to be heard and make sure as decisions are made their thoughts are taken into account,” Public Affairs Officer Christopher Leeser said.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service This QR code will take people to a commenting tool for a recreation site analysis underway on recreation sites on the Allegheny National Forest.

He said a QR code “will connect folks to the online mapping tool” where feedback can be provided.

The end result of the effort is a “five year program of work that will help shift the Forest’s recreation program to a more sustainable path given today’s recreation trends and available funds.”

“Citizen engagement is an essential part of informing the Recreation Site Analysis and we welcome everyone’s input,” Forest Supervisor Jamie Davidson said. “We want to understand which sites and amenities are important to our visitors and to our regional economy. Decisions based on the analysis will influence how current and future generations connect with and hopefully enjoy all the Forest has to offer.”

The analysis process will result in decisions about what sites to maintain, which need improvement as well as sites that should be scaled back, removed or returned to “undeveloped forest habitat.”

“We plan to implement solutions by determining the most sustainable activities, investments, and locations for developed recreation opportunities,” a statement expressed.

Comments can be offered through the commenting tool at https://bit.ly/3hmBVRw, or by scanning the QR code as well as in writing or over the phone.


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