Monday, November 22, 2010

Forest officials seek feedback

With more than 800 miles of system trails, the Monongahela National Forest has plenty of opportunities for non-motorized recreation, whether on foot, skis, mountain bike or horseback.
Almost all the trails were originally developed with only foot traffic in mind, so many are not suitable for other uses. Maintaining such a large system is also a challenge, since some trails receive very heavy use and others receive almost no use.
In order to better understand how trails are being used, what types of uses are occurring, and to better prioritize future trail development and maintenance work, Monongahela National Forest recreation staff began working on a trails planning process several years ago. To gain public input the forest has partnered with WVU to develop an interactive website.
By visiting the website at montrailssurvey.blogspot.com, people can view current information regarding trails and provide comments regarding the management objectives for each trail. Interactive features allow visitors to fill out a survey for trails and view supplemental maps.
A pop-up screen is associated with each trail. This screen lists the current trail management objective. Because this information might not be accurate, visitors to the website are strongly encouraged to review the information for all trails of interest and submit a survey for each trail for which they can make recommendations.
A WVU graduate student is managing the website and collating data to share with the Forest Service. Site users may contact the student at ewillia83@gmail.com if they experience problems with the website or survey.

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