IDAHO FALLS — Beginning Oct. 2019, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest will begin participating in visitor information surveys to learn how people use their public lands.
During this time the public will encounter both forest and contract employees working in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along forest service roads. Workers will be out in all types of weather conditions, wearing bright orange vests and near a sign reading, “Traffic Survey Ahead.”
The National Visitor Use Monitoring survey program provides a forum for people to give feedback on how they use their public lands. Information from the surveys will be useful in helping the CTNF plan future recreation opportunities. The surveys will begin in October and last through Sept. 30, 2020.
The information gathered is useful for forest and local community tourism planning. It provides National Forest managers with an estimate of how many people recreate on the National Forest, what activities they engaged in while there and how satisfied people are with their visit. Economic impact to the local economy is also captured in the survey.
The survey gathers basic visitor information. Surveys are voluntary and all responses are confidential; names are not included. Interviews last about 10 minutes. About a third of the visitors will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip. Questions asked include: Where you recreated in the forest? How many people traveled with you? How long were you in the forest? What other recreation sites you visited while in the forest? How satisfied are you with the facilities and services provided?
“Although the survey is entirely voluntary, participation is extremely important so we can assess visitor experiences and strive to make it a better place to visit,” said Caribou-Targhee National Forest Recreation Program Manager Kaye Orme. “We would appreciate if visitors would pull over and answer a few questions. It’s important for interviewers to talk with local people using the forest, as well as out-of-area visitors, so all types of visitors are represented in the study.”
Information about the National Visitor Use Monitoring program can be found at https://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/.