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Hoosier National Forest Tallies Visitor Use
Updated February 5, 2016 7:59 AM | Filed under: Natural Resources
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(BEDFORD) - In 2014, the Hoosier National Forest completed a comprehensive survey of visitors to the Forest.

The detailed report from the survey is just in. During the one year survey, people made an estimated 293,000 visits to the Hoosier, with 333,000 site visits. Visitors to the Hoosier often come to visit more than one site.

Of those visitors, 63,000 stayed overnight at a campground. The Charles C. Deam Wilderness attracted 31,000 visitors in 2014. The majority of Forest visitors (195,000 people) used the General Forest Area; whereas 44,000 used day use developed sites. These numbers are only a few of those derived from an intensive survey done on the Hoosier called the National Visitor Use Monitoring program.

Several interesting demographic facts about Hoosier NF visitors were noted in the survey:

  • 61% are male
  • 99% are white
  • All ages are well represented with the exception of teens
  • Size of the average visitor group was 2.4 people
  • Most visitors are local; 56% travel 25 miles or less to visit the Forest
  • 19% traveled over 75 miles
  • The average visitor stays for 15 hours, but over half stay 3 hours or less. About 16 percent say they visit more than 50 times a year so short frequent visits seem to be common.
What people do, when they visit the over 203,000 acre forest, is also of interest. More than half of visitors say they enjoy relaxing, hiking/walking and viewing nature. About 19 percent enjoy camping; while other top activities include driving for pleasure, fishing and picnicking. The survey is based on an analysis of data collected at sites throughout the Forest on randomly pre-assigned dates and times.

Nancy Myers, Recreation Planner on the Tell City Ranger District oversaw the survey on the Hoosier. She noted, "We're interested not only in what the numbers tell us about visits to our sites, but also what impacts this might have on the local economy."

Myers reported the survey showed visitors spent an average of $67/visit.

Myers noted the Forest also wants to know that people were happy with the experience they had when they came. The survey showed that 93 percent were satisfied with their visit. Less than three percent expressed any level of dissatisfaction, the other four percent were neutral.

The survey allows the Forest Service to measure trends in user satisfaction and use levels, and assists Congress and Forest Service leaders in making sound decisions that best serve the public and protect valuable natural resources.

View the complete report on the Hoosier website at fs.usda.gov/recmain/hoosier/recreation.



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