UTAH – From April 21-30, ten individuals from six countries in Eurasia traveled to Utah and Nevada to study recreation infrastructure. During the study tour, participants visited a variety of sites, including Dixie National Forest and Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, to view different infrastructure examples and learn about various recreation programs. The study tour was designed to facilitate discussion and idea sharing among participants and to spark ideas and inspire customized implementation of recreation elements in participants’ home countries. Nancy Brunswick, regional landscape architect, and Kevin Wright, Public Service Staff officer, Dixie National Forest, were instrumental in planning and hosting the study tour.
The study tour began with a visit to the Regional Office in Ogden, Utah, where Regional Office staff provided an overview of recreation infrastructure in the USDA. Forest Service. During the visit to Dixie National Forest, including both Pine Valley Recreation Area and Red Canyon, topics of discussion included wilderness areas, trail design and maintenance, visitor centers, partnerships, accessibility, campgrounds, reservation systems and interpretation. From the Forest Service, district ranger Nick, forest engineer Jake Dodds, recreation specialist Del Orme, and visitor center manager Dierdre Apple spent time with the group sharing about their work.
At Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, the group discussed high development campgrounds, interpretive planning and the role of partnerships in site management. The group also visited sites managed by other agencies and organizations, including the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Ogden, Utah, Antelope Island State Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park.
Participants hailed from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The study tour was organized and hosted by the International Programs office. In recent years, the International Programs office has hosted many recreation-focused activities for the participants’ countries, including study tours and workshops, and built technical cooperation programs on recreation in several countries. In 2018, the USDA Forest Service organized bilateral activities on recreation in Georgia, Uzbekistan and Belarus, and held a wilderness ranger training for participants from Bosnia, Georgia, Ukraine, Albania and Russia.