Visits to Flagstaff still on par despite forest closures
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Flagstaff has seen little impact on its number of visitors despite the recent closure of six large areas in the Coconino National Forest.
Local recreation-oriented businesses said they haven’t taken a major hit since many local trails and campsites were closed to the public May 23 because of dry conditions and the danger of wildfires, The Arizona Daily Sun reported .
Michelle Koechle, group reservation specialist at Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course at Fort Tuthill, said total business traffic is about on par with years past.
At first, the attraction saw an increase in groups canceling their reservations because they had intended to camp at now-closed sites before or after their visit to the ropes course, Koechle said. Soon after that, though, the adventure course saw many Boy Scout troops and other groups make last-minute reservations because they couldn’t carry out their other plans on the forest.
“It’s kind of like we lost some and we’ve gained it back,” Koechle said. Everything seems to be last-minute, though, because people are scrambling, she added.
Most of the hotels in town said it’s business as usual despite the forest closures.
Lori Pappas, the marketing and media relations manager at the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau, said her group hasn’t noticed a drop or increase in visitors this year. “It’s about the same as last year, but we are putting out more information about being fire-wise,” she said.
Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce President Julie Pastrick said she also hasn’t heard of any dip or increase in visits from chamber members.
Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/