Superior National Forest Survey Planned

The in-depth survey that National Forests undertake every five years to track visitor numbers and recreation trends is about to commence in the Superior National Forest.

Forest Service officials announced recently that data collection for the National Visitor Use Monitoring program (NVUM) would begin shortly. Trained interviewers will be asking Superior National Forest visitors eight to 13-minutes worth of questions about their activities on the National Forest. The survey is voluntary and all answers are confidential, officials say.

Visitors will be asked: where they recreated; how many people they traveled with; how long they were on the Forest; what other sites they visited while on the Forest; and how satisfied they were with the facilities and services provided. About a third of the visitors surveyed will be asked to take a few minutes more to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.

The SNF’s media release on the program, HERE, said the survey “provides national forest managers with an estimate of how many people recreate on federal lands, what activities they engage in while there, and recreation trends over time. Another important piece of information for national forest managers and tourism planners is an indication of how satisfied people were with their visit and an indication of the impact of recreation visits on the local economy.”

In a Wilderness News story published this spring — and reprinted online HERE — Superior National Forest officials cited NVUM statistics to push back against the idea, supported by other more recent data, that visitation to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a part of the Superior National Forest, was experiencing a decline.

An NVUM survey will also take place this fall in Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest.

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