Hiker registrations provide Pulaski Tunnel Trail data

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Hiker registrations provide Pulaski Tunnel Trail data

The Pulaski Tunnel Trail attracted hikers from across the nation and foreign countries last year.

A register for hikers was installed on the trail in June 2010. Since then, 19 months of registration data have been collected. 2011 was the first for which a full 12 months of data were available.

"The Pulaski Trail is one of the best recreational attractions we have on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, and we're especially proud that it attracts visitors from far and wide to enjoy the Silver Valley," said Forest Service Deputy District Ranger Kimberly Johnson.

In 2011, 2,169 hikers, providing 723 registrations (sometimes representing a single hiker, other times groups of hikers), visited the trail. July recorded the highest trail use, at 533 hikers in 189 registrations. June followed with 412 hikers, followed in turn by August with 368. The lowest frequency of visits occurred in January, with seven hikers in three registrations followed by March with eight hikers.

The summer of 2010 was the celebrated centennial year of the Great Fire of 1910. August 2010 saw the largest number of hikers ever recorded, at 1,033 in 351 groups - about 34 registered hikers per day. July 2010 saw 717 hikers in 266 registrations.

Hikers came from all parts of the United States and beyond. In 2011, Western states contributed most of them: Idaho (264), Washington (199), Montana (40), Oregon (32) and California (29).

Yet visitors from these states represented only about a quarter of total trail use. The remaining three-quarters of trail users came from a great variety of other states and foreign countries.

Winter users sometimes snowshoe the trail.

In 2011, total hikers numbered 18 in February, 34 in November and 30 in December. Winter snowshoe-using hikers compact the trail's snow cover making it possible for foot hikers to use it as well. Winter trail use treats hikers with the season's special beauty and memorable ice formations along West Fork Placer Creek.

Fifty hikers make reference to reading Tim Egan's The Big Burn or otherwise indicated their historical or educational interest in the Pulaski Tunnel Trail.

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