Utah National Forests conducting visitor use studies

Oct 3 2011 - 6:19pm

OGDEN - Starting Oct. 1, visitors to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache and Ashley national forests may see and be contacted by Forest Service employees and contractors surveying forest visitor use.

If you encounter a surveyor wearing a bright colored vest near a sign that says "Traffic Survey Ahead," please pull over for a brief interview. These trained interviewers want to know about your visit to the national forest. All information you give is confidential, and the survey is voluntary. The information you provide is useful for forest and local community tourism planning. The more forest managers know about visitors, activities and desires, the better they can provide for their visitors needs.

The U.S. Forest Service's National Visitor Use Monitoring report released in August 2011 shows national forests attracted 170.8 million recreational visitors nationwide. Outdoor recreation activities on Utah's national forests contributed $407 million dollars annually to local economies with over 11 million visitors to the state.

"Outdoor activities are important to Utah residents and to the visitors who use local hotels, restaurants, or buy groceries and gasoline in the communities in and around the national forests," said Liz Close, who is the Intermountain Region director of recreation, heritage, resources and wilderness. "We want to provide quality recreational experiences and real economic and social growth for generations to come."

National Forests in Utah account for 15 percent of national forest recreation nationwide. Forests in Utah offer unique outdoor recreation opportunities such as hiking and biking along the Wasatch Front, boating on Flaming Gorge and riding ATV's through the red rocks of Southern Utah.

According to the U.S. Forest Service's National Visitor Use Monitoring Report for Utah:

* Visitor satisfaction is high, with an overall satisfaction rate of 95 percent.

* Approximately 86 percent of visitors are satisfied or very satisfied with the value received for any fees paid.

* In Utah, the top activities visitors participate in are hiking, downhill skiing, viewing nature and fishing.

* Most visitors (46 percent) spending the night stay in a national forest campground, while 17 percent spent the night in undeveloped areas.

Results of the U. S. Forest Service National Visitor Use Monitoring Report is available at: http://apps.fs.usda.gov/nrm/nvum/results


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