Shawnee Forest Taking Visitor Surveys in October
By WestKyStar Staff
HARRISBURG, IL - The U.S. Forest Service wants to hear from those who visit Shawnee National Forest.
You may soon see Forest Service employees and volunteers working in developed and dispersed recreation sites, and along roads, wearing brightly colored orange vests near signs that state, “Traffic Survey Ahead.” Whether under sunny skies or in colder, wintry conditions, these team members will be waiting to talk with you and garner your feedback as the Shawnee National Forest will be participating in the National Visitor Use Survey program during the coming year. All information given is confidential, and the survey is voluntary.
This on-going national forest survey has already been conducted once on every National Forest in the country. Now returning five years later, the Shawnee NF will seek to update the information previously gathered as well as to look at recreation trends over time. The data collected is useful for forest planning across all program areas, including community tourism. It also provides the National Forest managers with an estimate of how many people actually recreate on federal lands and what activities they engage in while there. Other important information forest and tourism planners need includes how satisfied people were with their visit coupled with the economic impact of recreation visits on the local economy, and such info will also be encompassed in the interview results.
The interview lasts less than 15 minutes, and the questions visitors are asked include the following: 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 on the Forest, and how satisfied they were with the facilities and services provided. About one third of the visitors will also be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.
Information collected in this national study will be used in local Forest planning, at the state planning level, and even by Congress. The more known about the visitors’ experiences, especially their satisfaction and desires, the better managers can provide for their needs.
Even if you answered the survey questions once already, interviewers ask that you please stop again to talk about each of your national forest visits. To ensure a broad representation as well, the survey will hope to meet with local and out-of-state visitors. If you have any questions about this program, please visit the program website: http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/
Administered by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the Shawnee National Forest is one of 155 national forests nationwide. As the only national forest in Illinois, the Shawnee offers numerous avenues for connecting with the natural world through its 280,000 acres of varied landscape. Whether your interests lie more in outdoor recreational activities or include learning about the unique natural and cultural heritage of southern Illinois, the fields, forests and streams of the Shawnee welcome you. To discover more about the Shawnee National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/shawnee and follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/shawnee. National information about the U.S. Forest Service can be found at: http://www.fs.fed.us/.