ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The National Visitor Use Monitoring surveys, which take place every five years, will be conducted on the National Forests in North Carolina starting October 1 and will run through September 30, 2023. These surveys will be conducted by a team from the University of Tennessee. 

The information gathered provides National Forest managers with an estimate of how many visitors recreate on the National Forests, 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.

These voluntary surveys will be conducted in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service roads. The surveyors will be out in all types of weather conditions, wearing bright vests and be near a sign that says, “Traffic Survey Ahead.” They gather basic visitor information, and all responses are confidential; no names are captured in the surveys.

Interviews last about 10 minutes and include questions such as where visitors recreated on the Forest, 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.

Information about the National Visitor Use Monitoring program can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/nvum