White River to survey visitors | AspenTimes.com

White River to survey visitors

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Visitors to the White River National Forest may encounter more than nature this summer.

U.S. Forest Service employees wearing neon-orange vests will be stationed at developed recreation sites and flagging down visitors to ask their opinions on the forest as part of a voluntary survey program. The White River National Forest surrounds Aspen/Snowmass and much of the Roaring Fork Valley; its headquarters is in Glenwood Springs.

The surveys will solicit information on such topics as: how people recreate on federal lands; what activities they engage in; and how satisfied people are with their visit. Responses are anonymous; in fact, a respondent’s name won’t be written anywhere on the survey form, according to the Forest Service. The basic interview lasts about eight minutes, and every other visitor is asked a few additional questions. About 25 percent of visitors will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.

“The Forest Service wants to improve on the services provided for the visitors to federal lands,” said Forest Supervisor Maribeth Gustafson in a press release. “The more that is known about the visitors, especially their satisfaction and desires, the better land managers can plan for the future.”

This visitor study is not a new concept for the White River National Forest. The first visitor survey was conducted between October 2002 and September 2003. Surveys are to be repeated every five years as part of a national effort to gain a more accurate understanding of recreation use on each national forest. Winter surveys already have been completed on the White River National Forest; there are slightly more than 200 surveys left to complete this summer.

For more information about the study, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/ or call Tim Lamb, White River National Forest forestry technician, at (970) 945-3316.

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