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Forests and woodlands around Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, the lothians, Forth Valley and Fife are to be surveyed throughout the year to build up a picture of how many people use them and how often.
Carried out in woodlands managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, the year long survey is part of an-ongoing national monitoring programme which gathers useful information on visitors.
During the year, woodlands at Easterhouse, Larbert, Newbattle, Kilpatrick Hills, Callendar, Wilsontown, Carron Valley, Howwood, Twechar, Kilpatrick Hills, Devilla and Blairadam are amongst others in the Central Belt that will be surveyed.
The data recorded will also find out where people travel from and estimate how much money people will spend in the local area.
Laura Stewart, Marketing Manager with Forestry Commission Scotland said:
“Welcoming visitors to our forests is very important on a number of fronts.
“Our forests are often part and parcel of overall tourism strategies and can be big tourism destinations which support local economies. On the other hand, our woodlands are vital as they are well used by local communities as popular place for walking, cycling or simply taking the dog for a walk.
“To help us find out more about our visitors we will be undertaking this survey throughout the year in a number of forests in the area. The information will help the Commission and other organisations get a better picture of what is happening in our forests and woodlands.”
This year’s survey follows on from a similar one that was carried out across Scotland between 2004 to 2007. The data recorded back then will act as a valuable benchmark for comparison.
Face to face interviews will find out some basic background details of visitors, including their age, reason for visiting and how far and how they travelled. Information on how much money they have spent in the local economy will also be collected.
As well as interviews, data on visitor numbers will be collected from vehicle and people counters.
For more information on the All Forests Survey 2 is available at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-5WCMR4
Notes to news editors.
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
2. For news, events and recreation information log on to www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests. For Twitter: www.twitter.com/fcscotland.
3. Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
4. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0131 314 6508.