New data for Boundary Waters shows decline in young visitors

ELY, Minn. - New data from the U.S. Forest Service shows a recent increase in the number of people visiting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But overall, visitor numbers have been on a downward trend in recent years, and the average age of those visitors has gotten much older.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the agency issued permits to more than 143,000 people in 2015, about 10,000 more than the previous year. But data shows that there's been a slow and steady decline in visitors since 2010, especially among the young.

The Forest Service's last demographic study shows the average age of visitors increased from 26 in 1969, to 36 in 1991, to 45 in 2007.

Agency officials say they are partnering with several groups to try to reach a younger audience.


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