Custer Gallatin Forest National Visitor Use Monitoring Surveys Begin Oct 1, 2022
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: September 28, 2022

Bozeman, MT (September 27, 2022) … The National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) survey is being conducted on the Custer Gallatin National Forest from October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023. This survey year is focused on the Beartooth, Ashland, and Sioux Ranger Districts. Surveys on the Gardiner, Yellowstone, Bozeman and Hebgen Lake Ranger Districts will occur the following year.

Fall 2022 kicks off the fourth round of NVUM surveys conducted on the Forest, the last was conducted on these Ranger Districts in 2018/2019. This five-year follow-up will update information previously gathered and identify recreation trends over time. The information collected provides National Forest managers with an estimate of how many people recreate on the National Forest. Other important information includes visitors’ satisfaction with their experiences and the economic impact of recreational visits on the local economy.

The survey gathers basic visitor information and is confidential.  There are no names are collected. The basic interview lasts about ten minutes. The questions visitors will be asked include where they recreated on the forest, what activities they participated in, 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. Approximately one-third of visitors will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreational spending during their trip.

“Although the survey is entirely voluntary, participation is extremely important so we can assess visitor experiences on the Forest,” said Mary Erickson, Forest Supervisor. “We know we have experienced big shifts in visitation over the past couple of years. This study helps us understand how much visitor use has increased and what types of activities people are coming to the Forest to do.  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.”

Some recreation sites and roads on the Beartooth Ranger District have been impacted by this summer’s flooding event and access may be closed during this survey cycle. Survey locations have been adjusted to ensure the safety of our employees and visitors, while still providing the same number of survey days to collect valuable information. For more information on NVUM surveys and the program please visit National Visitor Use Monitoring Program | US Forest Service (usda.gov).