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Wayne National Forest announces 2012 fee waiver dates

NELSONVILE — Wayne National Forest will offer four recreation fee wavier weekends during the summer and fall of 2012.

“We hope the public will take advantage of these Fee free days as a way to experience the great outdoors, promote healthy living and create lasting memories with family and friends,” Forest Supervisor Anne Carey said.

The forest will recognize National Trails Day, Friday June 1 and Saturday June 2. This applies to trails only. The forest will recognize National Get Outdoors Day, Friday June 8 and Saturday June 9. This applies to all recreation sites and trails. The forest will recognize National Public Lands Day, Friday Sept. 28 and Saturday Sept. 29. This applies to all recreation sites and trails. The forest will recognize Veterans Day Weekend, Saturday Nov.10 through Monday Nov. 12. This applies to trails only.

“We want to highlight those special days,” Chad Wilberger, recreation program manager, said. “Most people are off, while they are off, they can come to their national forest.”

Recreation sites include campgrounds, picnic shelters and swim areas, including sites that may be reserved through the National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS). A $9 reservation fee remains in effect for those reserving recreation sites online. The forest service fee wavier does not include any fees required by state law.

“I see this as an annual event, especially on those dates,” Wilberger said.

Every year, more than 40,000 visitors come to the forest to experience over 360 miles of multiple-use trails. These include horse, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), off-highway motorcycle (OHM), mountain bike and hiking trails.

“We want to encourage people to come outside and exercise,” Wilberger said. “We want to promote healthy living.”

The 241,000-acre Wayne National Forest offers a variety of recreation opportunities, including the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area located in Lawrence County and Leith Run Recreation Area in Washington County.

The fee wavier is a national initiative. The USDA Forest Service recognizes these dates. Wayne National Forest accepted the fee waiver request from the forest service and expanded on the requested dates, Gary Chancey, public affairs staff officer, said.

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forest and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Recreational activities on the forest service lands contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

For more information, visit the forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/wayne. Follow the Wayne National Forest on Twitter: @waynenationalfs

 

Follow Chris Slone on Twitter: @Slone_Tribune