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21 June 2012

Articles for this issue

  1. Happenings Around Corps Lakes!
  2. Visitor Surveys
  3. LAKE URLS available for Corps Lakes Gateway
  5. VERS Modernization - Meter Issues and More!
  6. Corps Lakes Graphics

Happenings Around Corps Lakes!

Are you looking for a way to inform visitors about the great events taking place at your lake? Corps Lakes has added a new section for promoting local events.

Check it out at and submit events at

The front page of Corps Lakes will list events for the week as well as a link to all upcoming events. These events will also be listed on the associated lake pages.

These events will also be included on website and possibly be highlighted on that front page.

Visitor Surveys

The Corps of Engineers lakes hosts millions of fishermen, sailors, bicyclists, hikers and birdwatchers -- nature lovers all. We also know that the number of visitors changes from year to year, as do the activities. Who could have predicted that there would be a surge in the number of visitors who come to our parks to ride our new mountain bike trails, or that there would be an increase in the number of walkers who come to the lake to exercise?

To answer these questions, the Corps is undertaking a new, modernized and scientific survey of visitors who come to our lakes. The surveys are being conducted at selected parks at more than 30 lakes in seven regions of the country.

The Corps has partnered with the Student Conservation Association to conduct the survey. Their interns will be at over 100 parks over a 14-week period during the 2012 recreation season. They will be clearly identified and will set up signs to alert drivers of their presence.

Visitors will be asked by the surveyors to complete a voluntary two-minute survey. We hope that each time they return visitors will let us conduct the survey again, since each separate visit counts, and visitors may engage in different activities and stay for different amounts of time on each visit. If they do participate, visitors will be asked to complete an online survey and to provide an e-mail address. The online survey focuses on the spending behavior of the trip.

Results of the survey will help us gain a better understanding of our visitors and their needs. Since we will continue conducting these surveys, the 2012 results will serve as an important benchmark for usage trends.

The onsite and online surveys will be used along with traffic counts and National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS) transaction data to estimate the use and economic impacts of visitors to Corps lakes. Survey results will also provide a window onto the possible efficiency rating of each park.

For more information on the surveys visit: or contact

LAKE URLS available for Corps Lakes Gateway

As the recreation season gets underway, your Gateway team wants to remind you of some user-friendly URLs that will help you simplify your lakes branding. One provides quick access to your lake through the Corps Lakes Gateway lake name here).

The benefits of utilizing this URL?

  • Your customers will find you more easily on the web.
  • This address wont change.
  • You market not only your lakes, but those of the entire agency.
  • It is easier to say over the phone and links directly to your website.

All marketing materials, documents, e-mail signatures and other electronic or printed materials can use the simplified URLs.

Dont remember your URL name?
Please check these URLs, which can be found at: http://corpslakes.u

This navigation tool never changes and there is a direct link in the center each of these pages to your lakes website. If you are on the phone with a customer or printing flyers for your lake, this URL will help simplify your message. You can use it in your signature block as well. Using this shortened URL also helps the visitor find out about other Corps of Engineer resources across the country.

Remember the Corps Lakes Gateway sends information about your lake directly to Help us keep the Corps Lakes Gateway and current.

If you are modifying your website in any way, please let us know  especially if your address has changed  so that we can ensure the Gateway and other Corps websites correctly point to your website. To notify us, just send an e-mail to the Gateway webmaster (


For the first time, Corps Recreation is developing a complete press kit for the Gateway, providing detailed information on the Corps history, the original purposes for developing Corps lakes, and the ways those lakes are being used now.

We want to

  • flesh out the press kit and bring it to life by providing some anecdotal information about the kinds of activities our visitors like to engage in at our lakes. What we need are the basic details regarding these activities.

  • create a dedicated section for activities in which writers describe the many ways visitors can engage in vigorous activities and exercise at the lakes. Stories about hiking, bicycling, swimming all help support that Corps lakes serve as a great environment to help Americans get into better shape.

  • portray Corps lakes as gathering places for groups. Events taking place around Corps lakes and hosted by Scouts, civic groups, religious groups, and other organizations help convey to the public that Corps lakes are also important hubs of social activity.

  • tell stories about the environmental interaction programs hosted by Corps rangers.

Please dont worry about the grammar or punctuation of anything written you may want to send us; our crack editor will help whip everything into shape. And please remember to include photographs that show people engaged in activities. We dont need photos of groups of people looking at the camera; we want photos that show people actually doing something. Dont forget to get photograph waivers from folks (http://ww

Think of some of the most interesting activities you have hosted at your lake: fishing tournaments, mountain bike races, sailing regattas, wildlife identification programs, conservation activities. Tell us about them in a brief note along with your contact information, and please remember to send photographs!

Please send your information to: Be sure to include your contact information. The person who sends the best photo will win a box of Leche Quemada candy from Kathy Perales!

VERS Modernization - Meter Issues and More!

As you are aware, the Visitor Surveys are only one piece of the Visitation Estimation and Reporting System (VERS) modernization puzzle.

Why is VERS modernization taking so long to complete?
Lots of reasons! In addition to the Visitor Surveys, there are several other pieces: VERS workbooks, maps, meters, OMBIL PSAs, GIS implementation, NRRS and other non-metered both Corps- and non-Corps-managed areas.

One at a time:
From the VERS workbooks and maps, we now have a GIS-based system that identifies our recreation areas and meter (or proposed meter) locations. It is not yet complete for all projects and areas. We will release it to the field when all the baseline components have been added. It will be a living document that will have to be changed as meter locations are changed.

The OMBIL working group has been doing the heavy lifting in identifying recreation project site areas (PSAs), or what could be termed official recreation areas. Not all recreation areas are created equal.

The new PSA definitions for what constitutes a recreation area can be found at: t-FinalReportAdoptedRecommendations.pdf. Once weve identified all the PSAs, we can organize the VERS reporting system.

The future VERS reporting system will identify PSAs according to whether they are Corps managed or non-Corps managed. Areas that are completely in the NRRS and do not allow day users can use transaction data to estimate visitation and can look forward to removing traffic counters in these areas.

The next priority for 2012 is to get traffic meters on the right roadways and in the right places with a target completion date of October 1, 2012. Accomplishing this would ensure that meter readings for FY 2013 were taken at the right places. If you have an official recreation PSA that is not on the NRRS system but is in RecBest, you should have meters installed on all roadways into the area.

Webcasts that train Corps staff where the meters should be placed are planned for the week of July 23rd.

If you have additional GIS lake boundary files, let us know. Stay tuned for more information. Contact or

Corps Lakes Graphics

If you would like to add graphics to your flyers, use the Corps Lakes Gateway graphics. Visit .mil/visitors/graphics.cfm

There are a number of companies that maintain Corps Logos. Lands End has the graphic for on file.

If you have set up graphics through other vendors, send the list to us at so we can share it with the rest of the NRM community.

If you are interested in QR codes, contact

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