National forest visitor numbers drop |

National forest visitor numbers drop

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

CORTEZ, Colo. ” The U.S. Forest Service says visitor numbers at the nation’s forests have declined 13 percent since 2004.

Forest Service officials say they’re analyzing the numbers and plan to discuss the reasons for the decline later.

Dave Baker, a recreational wilderness program leader for the San Juan National Forest in southwest Colorado, says weather is a big factor in visitor numbers. He says San Juan visits plummeted in 2002, when wildfires were plentiful.

The Oregon-Washington region had the biggest decline since 2004, at 27 percent, followed by the northeastern U.S. at 24 percent.

The Rocky Mountain region, which includes Colorado, saw a 5 percent decrease.

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