SITKA, ALASKA The US Forest Service is midway through a multi-year study to determine how many people visit the nation’s forest, and what they do once they get there.
On the Tongass, the nation’s largest forest, this seemingly straightforward work is complicated by the fact that there is not a single turnstile or ticket booth on any of its seventeen million acres.
In the Sitka and Hoonah Ranger districts, recreation planners instead are relying on statistical modeling – and old-fashioned legwork – to find and interview visitors on any of two-hundred bays, lakes, cabins, and trails.
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