Pull over and answer a few questions about using the forest


By Esther Godson
San Juan National Forest

The public will encounter contract employees working on the San Juan National Forest in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service roads starting this October. They will be out in all types of weather conditions, wearing bright orange vests and be near a sign that says, “Traffic Survey Ahead.” 

The National Visitor Use Monitoring survey is being conducted on the San Juan National Forest beginning October 2020 and through September 2021. The information gathered is useful for forest planning as well as local community tourism planning. It provides national forest 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.

The survey gathers basic visitor information. Surveys are voluntary and all responses are confidential; names are not included. Interviews last about 10 minutes. Questions asked include: where you recreated on the forest, how many people traveled with you, how long you were on the forest, what other recreation sites you visited while on the forest, and how satisfied you are with the 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 Pam Novitzky, forest recreation program manager on the San Juan National Forest. “We would appreciate it if visitors would pull over and answer a few questions. It’s important for interviewers 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.”

 Information about the National Visitor Use Monitoring program can be found at https://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/. 

All offices on the San Juan National Forest are conducting business and providing visitor services virtually. For information on the San Juan National Forest, call 247-4874.