Department Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) State Forester Ellen Shultzabarger announced Friday that the department is resuming a partnership with Penn State University to survey visitors about their experiences in two state forests.

“This visitor use monitoring project will be instrumental in providing a representative snapshot in two of our 20 state forest districts,” Shultzabarger said. “The insights and understanding these projects provide are always helpful in our management, and they are of even greater importance in developing insight into the use level and user perspective changes since the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Visitors to Gallitzin State Forest in Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, and Somerset counties, and Rothrock State Forest in Huntingdon County, may encounter pairs of Penn State students doing on-site surveys and are encouraged to participate if passing a survey point.

Survey questions will include where the visitors are from, activities pursued, length of stay in the area and spending patterns, and satisfaction with the experience.

Counting the number of vehicles at certain locations also will be included.

The Visitor Use Monitoring Project began in July and will continue through December, with a final report to be prepared in the spring of 2023.

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DCNR and Penn State University’s Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management have partnered on monitoring projects since 2000.