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USDA Forest Service Recreation Program Contributes to Local Economies, Promotes Healthy Lifestyles

The USDA Forest Service has released an updated report today that documents how national forests provide economic, health and recreational benefits.

The National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) Report states that recreation activities on national forests and grasslands have helped to sustain an estimated 223,000 jobs in rural areas and have contributed approximately $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

“Recreation visitors are important contributors to the economic vitality of rural and forest-dependent communities,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Recreation activities have helped to sustain thousands of jobs in rural areas, many of which are struggling through a down economy. In addition, millions of Americans enjoy a healthier lifestyle by engaging in physical activities on our forests, which often instills a lifetime appreciation for the great outdoors.”

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative challenges kids to get physically active while promoting healthy lifestyles.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day. Let’s Move increases opportunities for kids to be physically active, both in and out of school, while creating new opportunities for families to be moving together.

For more information on how the Forest Service Recreation Program provides economic, health and recreational benefits, visit the NVUM Report at:

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