Regional News

Public surveys to occur on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Sep 27, 2019

The public will encounter contractors, students and employees of the University of Washington, working on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service roads. They will be out in all types of weather conditions, wearing bright orange vests and be near a sign that says “Traffic Survey Ahead”.

The National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) survey is being conducted on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest starting October 1, 2019 and will go through September 30, 2020. The information gathered is useful for forest planning as well as local community tourism planning. It provides national forest managers with an estimate of how many people actually recreate on the national forest, what activities they engage in while there, and how satisfied people were 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. Questions asked include where you recreated on the forest, how many people traveled with you, how long you were on the forest, what other recreation sites you visited while on the forest, and how satisfied you are with the facilities and services provided. About a third of the visitors will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.

“The survey is entirely voluntary,” said Forest Recreation Program Manager Suzanne Cable. “It is extremely important for people to participate so we can assess visitor experiences on the national forest and strive to make it a better place to visit. We really appreciate all those who are willing to 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 are represented in the study.”

In addition to the traffic survey, visitor use information will also be gathered via a self-service QR code posted at different recreation sites across the forest.

“People can go to the QR code where they will be asked a few short questions about their visit and their trailhead observations,” Cable said. “If you don’t have a chance to participate in the NVUM surveys, providing information about your visit using the QR code is another way to be involved."

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