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Report highlights Forest's local economic impact
A survey of the impact of National Forest recreation visits on the local economy found that about 820,000 visitors spend nearly $38 million annually in the Sequoia National Forest, including the Giant Sequoia National Monument.
The 2006 survey is part of a National Visitor Use Monitoring report released Aug. 9 by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. The report is described as a snapshot of the most current visitation patterns and activities on National Forest land.
The survey also found that non-local visitors spent more than $33 million, significantly more than local visitor spending. Survey data also showed that both local and non-local visitors spent $9.9 million on lodging, $9 million on gas and oil, $6.8 million on groceries, $5.5 million in restaurants, and $3.2 million on souvenirs.
“Viewing natural features” was the preferred activity among 83% of visitors, followed by “relaxing” by 52%, and “hiking/walking” by 47% of visitors.
Forty-five percent of forest visitors indicated using the forest’s scenic byways, while 44% indicated none of the forest’s facilities would be used during their visit.
Data showed that 72% of those surveyed reported visiting the forest one to five times annually, with 6.5% of Sequoia National Forest visitors being of European origin, .5% of Canadian origin, and .3% of Asian origin.
According to the report, the event with the most visitor draw to the forest was the Lake Isabella Fishing Derby, attracting 20,000 visitors, followed by the Fireworks/KRV Chamber, attracting 10,000 visitors, and lastly the Quaker Meadow Camp at 1,700.
Nationwide, national forests attracted 170.8 million recreational visitors and sustained approximately 223,000 jobs in rural communities this past year.
“This data shows once again just what a boon our forests are to local economies,” Tidwell said in a statement. “Because of forest activities, thousands of jobs are supported in hundreds of rural communities. We are proud of helping to put a paycheck into the pockets of so many hardworking Americans.”
To view the full report, visit http://apps.fs.usda.gov/nrm/nvum/results/.