Published on : Tuesday, November 14, 2017
In order to grow visitor number in Alaska, tourism leaders, as part of a plan have represented an open letter to the members of the Congress requesting for growth in the recreation funding of United States Forest Service.
As per Associated Press, the tourism leaders who proposed the plan and the letter represent 49 businesses in Southeast Alaska that believe cuts in budget to the Forest Service are influencing the tourist number visiting each year.
Officials exposed in the letter that the budget of the Forest Service has decreased by around 50 percent in terms of funding for recreation in the Tongass and Chugach national forests being slashed by 46 percent from 2004-2014.
The businesses effected claim they relied on the Forest Service staff to issue permits and maintenance of cabins and trails. Numerous companies have stated that the permits they require to operate tours in Juneau have been issued late because of the Forest Service being “overburdened.”
“In southeast Alaska, nature-based tourism is one of the big opportunities on public lands,” Pack Creek Bear Tours manager Dan Kirkwood told The AP. “The goal here is to say that investment in our public lands and investment in the Tongass is a real economic driver. We’re talking about recreation, but this is serious business.”
Also, the letter asks for members of Congress to “reverse the decline and appropriate funding for Tongass recreation programs that reflects their relative importance in terms of economic influence in the region.”
This year, over a million travelers visited Juneau, making the tourism sector the largest private-sector employer in the entire southeast Alaska in regards to jobs and wages, as per the Rain Coast Data economic research firm.
Tags: Alaska tourism