Archived Outdoors

Visitor survey starting in the Pisgah-Nantahala

A survey site is set up along a U.S. Forest Service road. USDA photo A survey site is set up along a U.S. Forest Service road. USDA photo

Every five years, the National Forests in North Carolina surveys its visitors to glean a wide range of information, and the process will begin in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests Saturday, Oct. 1. 

The surveys will be conducted by a team from the University of Tennessee, with the survey period running for a full year, through Sept. 30, 2023. Surveys will take place in developed and dispersed recreation sites along Forest Service roads. Surveyors will be out in all types of weather conditions wearing bright vests and standing near a sign that says, “Traffic Survey Ahead.”

All responses will remain confidential, with no names captured in the surveys. Interviews last for about 10 minutes and include questions such as where visitors recreated, how far they traveled, their party size and their satisfaction with the recreation facilities and services provided. About a third of the visitors will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.

“Although the survey is entirely voluntary, participation is extremely important so we can assess visitor experiences on the Forest and strive to make it a better place to visit.” said Logan Free, Developed Recreation Program Manager on the National Forests in North Carolina

The information gathered provides forest managers with an estimate of how many people visit the forest, what activities they engage in, how satisfied they were with their visit, and the economic impact of recreation visitation to local communities. This information will help forest managers determine where to focus their efforts and how recreation facilities can be improved to ensure all forest visitors have a clean, safe and high-quality experience.

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