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National forest surveys are coming your way



usfs-logo-282x300-8186205-9375365SPARKS — Forest Service employees will begin surveying willing visitors later this week in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service roads throughout Nevada and the Eastern Sierra.  Sporting bright orange vests and standing next to a sign that says “Traffic Survey Ahead,” the employees may request a survey from you, even during inclement weather.  Please do consider pulling your vehicle to a safe spot and providing responses.  These well-trained interviewers want to know about your visit to your National Forest.  All information provided is confidential.

This on-going survey has already been conducted once on every National Forest in the country.  We are now returning five years later to update the information previously gathered, as well as to look at recreation trends over time.  The information is useful for forest planning and even local community tourism planning.  It provides National Forest managers with an estimate of how many people actually recreate on federal lands and what their activities are.  Forest and tourism planners also want to know how satisfied people were with their visit, and the economic impact of your recreation visit on the local economy.  So many small towns are struggling, and they hope that tourism may help strengthen their communities.  This is one way to estimate the effects.

This recreation visitor program gathers basic visitor information.  All responses are totally confidential; in fact, a person’s name is never written anywhere on the survey.  The basic interview lasts about eight minutes.  Every other visitor is asked a few additional questions, which may take an additional five minutes.  The questions visitors are asked include:  where they recreated on the forest, how many people they traveled with, how long they were on the forest, what other recreation sites they visited while on the forest, and how satisfied they were with the facilities and services provided.  About 33 percent of the visitors will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.

Information collected in this national study will be used in local forest planning, at the state planning level, and even by Congress.  The more they know about the visitors, especially their satisfaction and desires, the better managers can provide for their needs.  It’s especially important for the interviewers to talk with local people using the forest, as well as out-of-area visitors, to ensure that all types of visitors are represented in the study.  Even if you answered the survey questions once already, we would like to talk to you about each of your National Forest visits, so if you see us out there again, please stop for another interview.

Learn more about this program or the above release by visiting the Forest Service web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/, or contact David Reis, Forest Landscape Architect, at the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Sparks, Nevada, at 775-352-1267.

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