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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

Report on National Forest Visitor Use Shows Increase

San Bernardino, CA, October 26, 2010 – A recent, comprehensive visitor use survey across the San Bernardino National Forest indicates a significant increase in recreational use on the Forest, up 25% since data last taken in 2003.

Results of the one-year visitor survey, called the National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) report, estimates the San Bernardino National Forest hosts 2,442,800 total national forest visits annually, up from 1,953,634 in 2003.The latest survey was conducted from October 2008 to September 2009 in partnership with California State University, San Marcos.

“The increase in visitor use demonstrates the importance of open space and providing recreational opportunities to the residents of southern California,” said Forest Supervisor Tom Gillett.  “We always strive to assure a quality experience in the great outdoors.”

Some key report findings for the San Bernardino National Forest include:

·         The estimate for recreation visits to the national forest in 2009 is 2,442,800.

·         Over 53 percent of the visitors live within 50 miles of the forest.

·         29 percent of the visitors stayed overnight in a US Forest Service campground.

·         More than 76 percent of visits to National Forest System lands are done primarily for physical activity, such as hiking, biking, and skiing.

Additionally, the report provides data on visitation patterns, visitor activities, visitor satisfaction and future expectations of recreation users on National Forest System lands.

The report shows the economic importance of the national forest to communities across southern California. Recreation activities on the national forest sustain jobs in communities within 50 miles of the forest, where visitors purchase goods and services for their recreational activities, including services of alpine and Nordic ski areas, and lodging as well as supplies from local businesses such as groceries, fishing tackle, and bicycle rentals.

The NVUM format is a statistical visitor sampling system developed for all Federal land management agencies to measure visitor activities and use within Federal lands by quality, consistent methods.  This year-long study, performed every four to five years, has been summarized and published along with other national forests. The information is used by Congress, agency planners and those who study national visitor and recreation trends. It may also be used as part of the basis for allocating appropriated funding to recreation programs of each forest.

The full report is available at: www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum

The San Bernardino National Forest serves as southern California's outdoor year-around recreation destination, as well as providing valuable watershed protection.  Drive the scenic Rim of the World Scenic Byway and Palms to Pines Scenic Byways to discover your local National Forest.  The San Bernardino National Forest spans 676,666 acres in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

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