ELKINS, W.Va., Aug. 22, 2023 – Visitors to Monongahela National Forest may have the opportunity to participate in the National Visitor Use Monitoring survey, which will be conducted from Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024. This official survey is conducted on each national forest every five years. The last survey for Monongahela National Forest was done in Fiscal Year 2019.
The survey will be carried out by Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area employees at both developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service Roads. They will be out in all types of weather conditions, wearing high visibility vests, and be near a sign that says “Traffic Survey Ahead”.
“Participation from a variety of forest visitors is important,” said W.J. Cober, Forest Recreation Program Manager. “Interviewers need 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 survey gathers basic visitor information. Surveys are voluntary and all responses are confidential; names are not included. Interviews last about 10 minutes. The survey includes questions like where did you recreate, how many people traveled with you, how long were you on the Forest, what other recreation sites did you visit while on the Forest, and how satisfied you are with the facilities and services provided? About a third of the participants will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.
The information gathered is useful for forest planning as well as local community tourism planning. It provides managers with an estimate of how many people 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.