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21 June 2012

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: www.CorpsLakes.us/VisitorSurvey or contact Kathleen.Perales@usace.army.mil.


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