From our friends at the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests:
For the next several months, visitors to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests may encounter employees and contractors conducting National Visitor Use Monitoring in Forest Service recreation areas. Well-trained interviewers wearing bright orange vests are stationed at some trailheads and roadsides near signs signaling that visitor and traffic surveys are underway.
Visitor use surveys are a planning tool used by forest managers and local, state, and national officials to better provide for the needs of the public. Public participation is essential to get an accurate account of the number of visitors, their recreational activities, and satisfaction with facilities and services. Therefore, visitors are asked to stop and talk with interviewers about their experience on the forest.
Surveys are voluntary and collect basic information about a visitor’s trip including areas visited, number of people in party, length of stay, and satisfaction. Respondents are anonymous. Interviews last from 8 to 13 minutes. About a third of visitors will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending. Both local and out-of-town visitors are encouraged to participate so that all types of visitors will be represented in the results. Repeat visitors or those traveling within multiple survey areas of the forest may be asked to participate more than once.
This on-going survey is conducted every five years. This year’s results will be compared with the previous survey to identify recreation trends over time. Results are also used to estimate the effects of tourism on local economies.
For more information, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/.