The Kaibab National Forest will begin surveying forest visitors on all three of its ranger districts Oct. 1 in an effort to better understand what sites and facilities they use, how long they stay, and how satisfied they are with their experience.
Kaibab National Forest employees will conduct the visitor use surveys near developed and dispersed recreation sites and along forest roads beginning Oct. 1 and continuing through the fiscal year, which will end Sept. 30, 2015. They will be wearing bright orange vests and be near “Traffic Survey Ahead” signs.
The Kaibab National Forest surveys are part of the Forest Service National Visitor Use Monitoring program, which provides reliable information about recreation visitors to National Forest System managed lands at the national, regional and forest level. Information about the quantity and quality of recreation visits is required for several purposes including forest planning and improving public service. National Visitor Use Monitoring information assists Congress, Forest Service leaders and program managers in making sound decisions that best serve the public and protect valuable natural resources.
The surveys are conducted once every five years and provide forest managers with an estimate of how many people actually recreate on federal lands and what activities they engage in while there. Other important information gathered is how satisfied people were with their visits and the economic impact of recreation visitation on the local economy.
This recreation visitor program gathers basic visitor information. All responses are totally confidential. Names are not included on the survey. The basic interview lasts about eight minutes. Every other visitor is asked a few additional questions, which may require an additional five minutes.
The questions visitors are asked include where they recreated on the forest, how many people were in their party, how long they stayed 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 a third of the visitors participating in the survey will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.
While the survey is voluntary, Kaibab National Forest managers said they hope that everyone asked will agree to be interviewed because the quality and usefulness of the data collected increases as more visitors participate.
“We hope that forest visitors who are approached will agree to give a few minutes of their time to this process,” said Liz Schuppert, public services staff officer for the Kaibab National Forest. “The more we know about our visitors, especially their level of satisfaction and desires for various recreation opportunities, the better we can serve their needs.”
For additional information on the Forest Service National Visitor Use Monitoring program, please visit www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum. For additional information on the Kaibab National Forest, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab.