U.S. Forest Service begins survey on why people visit Utah's national forests, puts contribution of forest recreation to state's economy at US$407M/year

OGDEN, Utah , October 3, 2011 () – Forest Service employees are launching a survey to track why 11 million people each year are visiting Utah's national forests.

Rangers over the weekend started pulling cars over to interview visitors at the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache and Ashley National Forests.

Survey data feeds into the U. S. Forest Service's National Visitor Use Monitoring report. The latest edition of the report was released in August and shows national forests attracted 170.8 million recreational visitors nationwide.

The agency says outdoor recreation activities in Utah's national forests contribute about $407 million dollars annually to local economies.

The report also shows Utah destinations account for 15 percent of national forest recreation nationwide.

Officials say the data is useful for tourism planning.

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