National Forest visitor monitoring begins |

National Forest visitor monitoring begins

The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland began a yearlong effort on Oct. 4 to gain a better understanding of how many visitors recreate in the national forest.

This process, known as National Visitor Use Monitoring, is geared toward collecting data on what types of recreational activities visitors engage in and how satisfied they are with the facilities and services provided.

Similar surveys are conducted every five years. The last survey conducted in 2010 estimated 5.4 million annual visits to the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland. Downhill skiing was found to be the most popular activity. Hiking or walking was the second most popular activity.

Visitor participation in these surveys is voluntary. Forest managers hope visitors will choose to participate so they can collect accurate data. Interviews can last from three to 13 minutes. The questions visitors are asked include where they recreated on the forest; how many people they traveled with; how long they were on the forest; what other recreation sites they visited while there; and how satisfied they were with the facilities and services provided. About a third of the visitors will also be asked to complete a confidential and voluntary survey about recreation spending during their trip. Frequent visitors may be asked to participate more than once during the course of the year.

The information gathered is used primarily for forest planning and can be useful to local community tourism planning. Surveys will be conducted through a contractor. National Visitor Use monitoring data collection will utilize road counters, trail counters and interviews conducted at recreation sites such as campgrounds, picnic areas, trails, roadsides and other locations. Survey sites will be clearly marked with large orange signs and cones.

For more information about the survey visit

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