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Washington’s National Forests Provide Significant Economic and Recreation Benefits to Local Communities

The US Department of Agriculture has released new statistics highlighting the significant positive impact of recreation on our state’s National Forests to local communities. Every year there are roughly 6.3 million visits to our national forest lands that result in over 2,000 jobs in many rural communities and $290 million spent in local gateway communities around these national forest lands!

Courtesy of USFS

Washington State has 9 different National Forests which total more than 9 million acres. This is more than our National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and Bureau of Land Management lands in Washington combined! Our National Forests include special places like ancient rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula, snowcapped peaks of Mt.Baker, Mt. St. Helens and Glacier Peak, pine forests of the Columbia highlands, and the forested slopes of Lake Chelan. The Forest Service manages these lands collaboratively with partners and local communities to provide recreation opportunities to people and communities of Washington which result in countless health & economic benefits.

These forests represent 9,000 miles of trails in Washington, including popular destinations such as Park Butte Lookout, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie, Granite Mountain, Mt. Dickerman, and Artist Point. 

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, over 72% of Washingtonians participate in outdoor recreation each year. Washington residents are more likely to participate in camping and hiking than the average American and more jobs in Washington depend on outdoor recreation than the aerospace industry! Our National Forests represent a large part of the outdoor recreation economy in Washington and Washington Wild will continue to advocate for the defense of these special places and the addition of new recreation opportunities on our National Forest lands.