Every five years the Forest Service surveys visitors to the National Forests to determine how many people visit and what they enjoy doing on the Forest. Forest employees will begin conducting the surveys Oct. 1 on the Manti-La Sal National Forest and continue throughout the year.
Those using the Forest roads, trails, and camping areas may see an area where they are asked to pull off roads or trails and participate in a voluntary survey. The surveys vary in length, but should not take more than 20 minutes. Surveyors may not depart from the survey script, but those being surveyed may make additional comments. Visitors will be surveyed as they exit the Forest.
The information collected from visitors helps the Forest Service respond to visitor interests and needs. It will be used to help the Forest understand who its visitors are, why they come to the national forest, how satisfied they are with the facilities and services provided, and how much they spend on their visit.
"We hope visitors being surveyed realize that the information we receive from them helps us understand what amenities they want and need when visiting," explained Ann King, public services staff officer for the Forest. "We can do a better job for them when we have this data,"
The survey also provides information about how all people use the national forest road systems and facilities. This includes people commuting to work on forest service roads, commercial traffic, and people just passing through. The data helps managers understand all the uses occurring on the forest.
In addition to surveys, information will be obtained from traffic counters on roads and trails. Fee payment envelopes in campgrounds will be used to collect information about the numbers of campers in developed sites. Campers are encouraged to take the time to fill out the information requested on the fee envelope regarding the number of vehicles and people camped at their site.
The visitor use surveys and data collection process has been developed and improved over the years in order to provide forest managers with an accurate picture of visitor uses on the Forest. Accurate information helps managers make more confident decisions about managing forest resources.