Rainfall total up, but so is number of campers

Rainfall may be slightly above average for the region, but it’s not stopping campers from visiting the Allegheny National Forest.

Ed Prince of Allegheny Site Management (ASM), the concessionaire for the Allegheny National Forest, said the summer season has seen rainy weekdays and busy weekends.

“It’s been decent, it’s pretty normal traffic. We’ve been lucky to not get the rain on the weekend for the most part,” he said. “All and all it’s been a pretty good season so far.”

Overall rainfall to this point in the year is slightly above average, Elyse Colbert, a meterologist with the National Weather Service in State College, said,. Total precipitation in June was 7.37 inches, above the average 4.95 inches of precipitation. In July, 4.67 inches of precipitation fell, slightly below the average of 4.85 inches.

While campers are hitting the ANF on the weekends, maintenance during the week has been a little difficult with getting equipment through wet fields and woods, Prince said.

“It’s not a significant difference, but I did notice it was a little bit down,” he said. “It’s all about the weather.”

And last year the weather was great with an earlier start to the camping season. Right now ASM is entering the busiest part of the year..

“Everybody is getting the last vacations in. We hope to finish with a strong summer,” Prince said.

The recreation season for ASM slows down after Labor Day and Columbus Day is typically the last busy weekend they’ll have, he said. However, “leaf peepers” can extend the season a little bit.

While ASM doesn’t keep track of all the ou-of-state visitors, Prince said many people come from New York, Pittsburgh and Ohio.

“All the surrounding major cities,” he said. “We do get quite a bit outside traffic, plus a lot of local traffic.”

Areas like Buckaloons see more local traffic since they’re not on the reservoir and are a little more secluded than the Red Bridge area that attracts out-of-town campers, many of whom bring boats with them.

“I’d say at least 40 percent of the people that come in and camp have a boat with them,” he said.

Even with sweatshirt weather in July and slightly above average rainfall, “Everybody’s pretty happy,” Prince said.