Visitors to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the next year might be asked to complete a survey.
The U.S. Forest Service is conducting a forest recreation survey for the next 12 months, and will be randomly interviewing visitors. Interviewers will wear bright orange vests and will be stationed near a sign reading “Recreation Survey Ahead.”
“How was your visit to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest? We want to know,” said Heather Ibsen, spokesperson for the national forest.
The survey gathers basic visitor information, and all responses are voluntary and confidential. Ibsen said names will not be written on the survey.
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The basic interview lasts 8-12 minutes. Visitors will be asked about sites they visited, how they used the forest, and what they liked and didn’t like about their time in the forest. About a third of the visitors will be asked to complete an additional survey on recreation spending.
The same survey is conducted on every national forest every five years.
The information will be used for forest and local tourism planning. It provides forest staff with an estimate of how many people visit the forest and what they do while there.
The survey results will show levels of visitor satisfaction and the economic impact forest visitors have on the local economy.
The more managers learn about visitor expectations of national forest facilities and recreation opportunities, the better they can understand and consider visitor needs in future planning, Ibsen said.
“Although the survey is entirely voluntary, we depend on visitor feedback to help plan our work, so please spare a few minutes for our interviewers,” she said. “It is important for the surveyors to talk with local people using the forest as well as out-of-area visitors so all types of visitors are represented in the study.”
The forest covers more than 1.36 million acres from the southern edge of Mount Rainier National Park to the Columbia River. It includes the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
For more information on this national program, go to fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum.