National Visitor Use Monitoring Results

 

 

June 2004

 

USDA Forest Service

Region 1

 

 

GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared by:

 

Susan M. Kocis

Donald B.K. English

Stanley J. Zarnoch

Ross Arnold

Larry Warren

Catherine Ruka

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

INTRODUCTION.. 1

Scope and purpose of the National Visitor Use Monitoring project 1

Definition of Terms. 2

CHAPTER 1:  SAMPLE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION.. 3

The NVUM Process and Definition of Terms. 3

Constraints on Uses of the Results. 4

The Forest Stratification Results. 5

Table 1.  Population of available site days for sampling and percentage of days sampled by stratum.. 5

CHAPTER 2:  VISITATION ESTIMATES. 6

Visitor Use Estimates. 6

Table 2.  Annual Gallatin National Forest recreation use estimate. 6

Table 3.  Number of last-exiting recreation visitors by site type and form type 1/ 7

Description of Visitors. 7

Table 4.  Gender distribution of Gallatin NF recreation visitors. 7

Table 5.  Age distribution of Gallatin NF recreation visitors. 7

Table 6.  Race/ethnicity of Gallatin NF recreation visitors. 8

Table 7.  Most common zip codes of Gallatin NF recreation visitors. 8

Average number of people per vehicle and average axle count per vehicle in survey. 9

CHAPTER 3:  WILDERNESS VISITORS. 10

Table 8.  Age distribution of Gallatin NF Wilderness visitors. 10

Table 9.  Race/ethnicity of Gallatin NF Wilderness visitors. 10

Table 10.  Most common zip codes of Gallatin NF Wilderness visitors. 11

Table 11.  Satisfaction of Gallatin NF Wilderness Visitors. 12

CHAPTER 4:  DESCRIPTION OF THE VISIT. 13

Table 12.  Site visit length of stay (in hours) by site/type on Gallatin NF. 13

Table 13.  Gallatin NF activity participation and primary activity. 14

Use of constructed facilities and designated areas. 15

Table 14.  Percentage use of facilities and specially designated areas on Gallatin NF. 15

Economic Information. 16

This trip away from home. 16

Table 15.  Substitute behavior choices of recreation visitors. 16

Average annual outdoor recreation activity. 16

Table 16.  Annual recreation spending for visitors to the Gallatin NF. 17

Visitor Satisfaction Information. 18

Table 17.  Satisfaction of Gallatin NF recreation visitors at Developed Day Use sites. 19

Table 18.  Satisfaction of Gallatin NF recreation visitors at Developed Overnight sites. 20

Table 19.  Satisfaction of Gallatin NF recreation visitors in General Forest Areas. 21

Crowding. 22

Table 20.  Perception of crowding by Gallatin NF recreation visitors by site type (percent site visits) 22

Other comments from visitors. 23

Table 21.  List of comments received from Gallatin NF recreation visitors. 23


INTRODUCTION             

Scope and purpose of the National Visitor Use Monitoring project

 

The National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) project was implemented as a response to the need to better understand the use and importance of and satisfaction with national forest system recreation opportunities.  This level of understanding is required by national forest plans, Executive Order 12862 (Setting Customer Service Standards), and implementation of the National Recreation Agenda.  To improve public service, the agency’s Strategic and Annual Performance Plans require measuring trends in user satisfaction and use levels.  It will assist Congress, Forest Service leaders, and program managers in making sound decisions that best serve the public and protect valuable natural resources by providing science based, reliable information about the type, quantity, quality and location of recreation use on public lands.  The information collected is also important to external customers including state agencies and private industry.  NVUM methodology and analysis is explained in detail in the research paper entitled: Forest Service National Visitor Use Monitoring Process: Research Method Documentation; English, Kocis, Zarnoch, and Arnold; Southern Research Station; May 2002 (http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum).

 

In conjunction with guidelines and recommendations from the Outdoor Recreation Review Commission, the USDA-Forest Service has estimated recreation use and maintained records since the 1950s.  Many publications on preferred techniques for estimating recreation use at developed and dispersed recreation sites were sponsored by Forest Service Research Stations and Universities.  Implementation of these recommended methodologies takes specific skills, a dedicated work force, and strict adherence to an appropriate sampling plan.  The earliest estimates were designed to estimate use at developed fee recreation facilities such as campgrounds.  These estimates have always been fairly reliable because they are based upon readily observable, objective counts of items such as a fee envelope. 

 

Prior to the mid-1990s, the Forest Service used its Recreation Information Management (RIM) system to store and analyze recreation use information.  Forest managers often found they lacked the resources to simultaneously manage the recreation facilities and monitor visitor use following the established protocols.  In 1996, the RIM monitoring protocols were no longer required to be used. 

 

In 1998 a group of research and forest staff were appointed to investigate and pilot a recreation sampling system that would be cost effective and provide statistical recreation use information at the forest, regional, and national level.  Since that time, a permanent sampling system (NVUM) has been developed.  Several Forest Service staff areas including Recreation, Wilderness, Ecosystem Management, Research and Strategic Planning and Resource Assessment are involved in implementing the program.  A four-year timeframe of data collection was established for the first sampling cycle, and a five-year timeframe for succeeding cycles.  The first sampling cycle was completed in September 2003.  The second sampling cycle begins October 2004.  This ongoing monitoring effort will provide quality recreation information needed for improving citizen centered recreation services.


 

This data can be very useful for forest planning and decision making.  The information provided can be used in economic efficiency analysis that requires providing a value per National Forest Visit.  This can then be compared to other resource values.  The description of visitor characteristics (age, race, zip code, activity participation) can help the forest identify the type of recreation niche they fill.  The satisfaction information can help management decide where best to place limited resources that would result in improved visitor satisfaction.  The economic expenditure information can help forests show local communities the employment and income effects of tourism from forest visitors.  In addition, the credible use statistics can be helpful in considering visitor capacity issues.

Definition of Terms

 

NVUM has standardized definitions of visitor use measurement to ensure that all national forest visitor measurements are comparable.  These definitions are basically the same as established by the Forest Service since the 1970s, however the application of the definition is stricter.  Visitors must pursue a recreation activity physically located “on” Forest Service managed land in order to be counted.  They cannot be passing through; viewing from non-Forest Service managed roads, or just using restroom facilities.  The NVUM basic use measurements are national forest visits and site visits.   Along with these use measurements basic statistics, which indicate the precision of the estimate, are given.  These statistics include the error rate and associated confidence intervals at the 80 percent confidence level.   The definitions of these terms follow.

 

 National forest visit - the entry of one person upon a national forest to participate in recreation activities for an unspecified period of time.  A national forest visit can be composed of multiple site visits.

 

Site visit - the entry of one person onto a national forest site or area to participate in recreation activities for an unspecified period of time.

 

Recreation trip the duration of time beginning when the visitor left their home and ending when they got back to their home.

 

Confidence level  -- defines the degree of certainty that a range of values contains the true value of what is being estimated.  For example, an 80% confidence level refers to the range of values within which the true value will fall 80% of the time.  Higher confidence levels necessarily cover a larger range of values.

 

Confidence interval width (also called error rate) - these terms define the reliability of the visit estimates.  The confidence level defines the desired level of certainty.  The size of the interval that is needed to reach that level of certainty is the confidence interval width.  The confidence interval width is expressed as a percent of the estimate and defines the upper and lower bounds of the confidence interval.  The smaller the confidence interval, the more precise is the estimate.  An 80 percent confidence level is very acceptable for social science applications at a broad national or forest scale.    For example:  There are 205 million national forest visits plus or minus 3 percent at the 80 percent confidence level.  In other words we are 80 percent certain that the true number of national forest visits lies between 198.85 million and 211.15 million.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

CHAPTER 1:  SAMPLE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION

The NVUM Process and Definition of Terms

 

To participate in the NVUM process, forests first categorized all recreation sites and areas into five basic categories called “site types”:  Day Use Developed Sites (DUDS), Overnight Use Developed Sites (OUDS), Wilderness, General Forest Areas (GFA), and View Corridors (VC).  Only the first four categories are considered “true” national forest visits and were included in the estimate provided.  Within these broad categories (called site types) every open day of the year for each site/area was rated as high, medium or low last exiting recreation use.  Sites/areas that are scheduled to be closed or would have “0” use were also identified.  Each day on which a site or area is open is called a site day and is the basic sampling unit for the survey.  Results of this forest categorization are shown in Table 1.  

 

A map showing all General Forest Exit locations and View Corridors was prepared and archived with the NVUM data for use in future sample years.  NVUM also provided training materials, equipment, survey forms, funding, and the protocol necessary for the forest to gather visitor use information.

 

NVUM terms used in the site categorization framework are defined below:

 

Site day - a day that a recreation site or area is open to the public for recreation purposes.

 

Site types -- stratification of a forest recreation site or area into one of five broad categories as defined in the paper: Forest Service National Visitor Use Monitoring Process: Research Method Documentation, May 2002, English et al.  The categories are Day Use Developed sites (DUDS), Overnight Use Developed Sites (OUDS), General Forest Areas (GFA), Wilderness (WILD), and View Corridors (VC).  Another category called Off-Forest Recreation Activities (OFRA) was categorized but not sampled. 

 

Proxy – information collected at a recreation site or area that is related to the amount of recreation visitation received.  The proxy information must pertain to all users of the site, it must be an exact tally of use and it must be one of the proxy types allowed in the NVUM pre-work directions (fee receipts, fee envelopes, mandatory permits, permanent traffic counters, ticket sales, and daily use records).

 

Nonproxy – a recreation site or area that does not have proxy information.  At these sites a 24-hour traffic count is taken to measure total use for one site day at the sample site.

 

Use level strata - for either proxy or nonproxy sites, each day that a recreation site or area was open for recreation, the site day was categorized as either high, medium or low last exiting recreation traffic, or closed.  Closed was defined as either administratively closed or “0” use.  For example Sabino Picnic Area (a DUDS nonproxy site) is closed for 120 days, has high last exiting recreation use on open weekends (70 days) and medium last exiting recreation use on open midweek days (175 days).  This accounts for all 365 days of the year at Sabino Picnic area.  This process was repeated for every developed site and area on the forest.   

 

 

Constraints on Uses of the Results

 

The information presented here is valid and applicable at the forest level.  It is not designed to be accurate at the district or site level.  The quality of the visitation estimate is dependent on the preliminary sample design development, sampling unit selection, sample size and variability, and survey implementation.  First, preliminary work conducted by forests to classify sites consistently according to the type and amount of visitation influences the quality of the estimate.  Second, visitors sampled must be representative of the population of all visitors.  Third, the number of visitors sampled must be large enough to adequately control variability.  Finally, the success of the forest in accomplishing its assigned sample days, correctly filling out the interview forms, and following the sample protocol influence the error rate.  The error rate will reflect all these factors.  The smaller the error rate, the better the estimate.  Interviewer error in asking the questions is not necessarily reflected in this error rate.

 

Large error rates (i.e. high variability) in the national forest visit (NFV), site visit (SV) and Wilderness visit estimates is primarily caused by a small sample size in a given stratum (for example General Forest Area low use days) where the use observed was beyond that stratum’s normal range.  For example, on the Clearwater National Forest in the General Forest Area low stratum, there were 14 sample days.  Of these 14 sample days, 13 days had visitation estimates between 0-20.  One observation had a visitation estimate of 440.  Therefore, the stratum mean was about 37 with a standard error of 116.  The 80% confidence interval width is then 400% of the mean, a very high error rate (variability).   Whether these types of odd observations are due to unusual weather, malfunctioning traffic counters, or a misclassification of the day (a sampled low use day that should have been categorized as a high use day) is unknown.  Eliminating the unusual observation from data analyis could reduce the error rate.  However, the NVUM team had no reason to suspect the data was incorrect and did not eliminate these unusual cases.  

 

The descriptive information about national forest visitors is based upon only those visitors that were interviewed.  If a forest has distinct seasonal use patterns and activities that vary greatly by season, these patterns may or may not be adequately captured in this study.  This study was designed to estimate total number of people during a year.  Sample days were distributed based upon high, medium, and low exiting use days, not seasons.  When applying these results in forest analysis, items such as activity participation should be carefully scrutinized.  For example, although the Routt National Forest had over 1 million skier visits, no sample days occurred during the main ski season; they occurred at the ski area but during their high use summer season.  Therefore, activity participation based upon interviews did not adequately capture downhill skiers.  This particular issue was adjusted.  However, the same issue- seasonal use patterns- may still occur to a lesser degree on other forests.   Future sample design will attempt to incorporate seasonal variation in use. 

Some forest visitors were counted and included in the total forest use estimate but were not surveyed.  This included visitors to recreation special events and organization camps. 

 


The Forest Stratification Results

 

The results of the recreation site/area stratification and sample days accomplished by this forest are displayed in Table 1.  This table describes the population of available site days open for sampling based on forest pre-work completed prior to the actual surveys.  Every site and area on the forest was categorized as high, medium, low, or closed last exiting recreation use.  This stratification was then used to randomly select sampling days for this forest.  The project methods paper listed on page one describes the sampling process and sample allocation formulas in detail.  Basically, at least eight sample days per stratum are randomly selected for sampling and more days are added if the stratum is very large.  Also displayed on the table is the percentage of sample days per stratum accomplished by the forest. 

 

Table 1.  Population of available site days for sampling and percentage of days sampled by stratum

 

Site type

TYPE

SAMPLING STRATUM

# DAYS SAMPLED

# DAYS IN POPULATION

SAMPLING RATE

DUDS

NONPROXY

HIGH

11

252

4.37

DUDS

NONPROXY

MEDIUM

12

402

2.99

DUDS

NONPROXY

LOW

10

1,609

0.62

DUDS

PROXY

PTC1

4

114

3.51

DUDS

PROXY

SV1

4

114

3.51

GFA

NONPROXY

HIGH

10

81

12.35

GFA

NONPROXY

MEDIUM

41

3,197

1.28

GFA

NONPROXY

LOW

30

21,529

0.14

GFA

PROXY

PTC1

4

336

1.19

OUDS

NONPROXY

HIGH

0

111

0.00

OUDS

NONPROXY

MEDIUM

7

810

0.86

OUDS

NONPROXY

LOW

9

10,466

0.09

OUDS

PROXY

DUR4

8

1,872

0.43

OUDS

PROXY

RE1

3

523

0.57

OUDS

PROXY

SUP4

8

8,047

0.10

WILDERNESS

NONPROXY

HIGH

14

288

4.86

WILDERNESS

NONPROXY

MEDIUM

19

1,031

1.84

WILDERNESS

NONPROXY

LOW

13

4,682

0.28


CHAPTER 2:  VISITATION ESTIMATES

Visitor Use Estimates

 

Visitor use estimates are available at the national, regional, and forest level.  Only forest level data is provided here.  For national and regional reports visit the following web site: (http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum).

 

                               Table 2.  Annual Gallatin National Forest recreation use estimate

 

VISIT TYPE

VISITS

80 % CONFIDENCE INTERVAL

SITE VISITS

2,263,562

11.9

NATL FOREST VISITS

1,980,548

11.8

WILDERNESS VISITS

57,711

20.1

 

 

The Gallatin National Forest participated in the National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) project from October 2002 through September 2003.  The forest coordinator was Kimberly Schlenker.  She reported an atypical weather pattern for most of the sampled year.    Typically, snow sports season begins in November, but snow did not arrive until January.  The forest also experienced an unusually hot and dry summer, with numerous wildfires in August and September.  Many areas of the Forest were under “area closures” between August and early September.  A large portion of the Abaroka Beartooth Wilderness was closed during that time.  The unusually hot dry summer, extreme fire season and Stage II fire restrictions generally discouraged visitors from using the forest during that time. 

 

Recreation use on the forest for fiscal year 2003 was 1,980,548 national forest visits.  The 80 percent confidence interval width was +/- 11.8 percent.  There were 2,263,562 site visits, an average of 1.11 site visits per national forest visit.  Included in the site visit estimate are 57,711 Wilderness visits.

 

A total of 2,033 visitors were contacted on the forest during the sample year.  Of these, 10.7 percent refused to be interviewed.  Of the 1,816 people who agreed to be interviewed, about 14.2 percent were not recreating, including 1 percent who just stopped to use the bathroom, 2.9 percent were working, 7.1 percent were just passing through, and 3.2 percent had some other reason to be there.  About 85.8 percent of those interviewed said their primary purpose on the forest was recreation and 92 percent of them were exiting for the last time.  Of the visitors leaving the forest agreeing to be interviewed, about 86 percent were last exiting recreation visitors (the target interview population).  Table 3 displays the number of last-exiting recreation visitors interviewed at each site type and the type of interview form they answered.

 


 

Table 3.  Number of last-exiting recreation visitors by site type and form type 1/

 

 

FORM TYPE

DEVELOPED DAY USE

DEVELOPED OVERNIGHT

GENERAL FOREST AREA

WILDERNESS

BASIC

135

24

297

52

ECON

122

22

283

47

SATIS

119

24

271

39

 

1/  Form type means the type of interview form administered to the visitor.  The basic form did not ask either economic or satisfaction questions.  The Satisfaction form did not ask economic questions and the economic form did not ask satisfaction questions. 

      Description of Visitors

 

Descriptions of forest visitors were developed based upon the characteristics of interviewed visitors and expanding to the national forest visitor population.  Tables 4 and 5 display the gender and age distributions for national forest visits.

 

                Table 4.  Gender distribution of Gallatin NF recreation visitors

 

MALE

FEMALE

61.4

38.6

 

                 Table 5.  Age distribution of Gallatin NF recreation visitors

 

AGECLASS

PERCENT

UNDER 16

11.78

16 TO 19

2.74

20 TO 29

21.05

30 TO 39

19.51

40 TO 49

20.52

50 TO 59

17.52

60 TO 69

4.68

70 PLUS

2.20

 

 

Visitors categorized themselves into one of seven race/ethnicity categories.  Table 6 gives a detailed breakout by category.

 


 

                   Table 6.  Race/ethnicity of Gallatin NF recreation visitors

 

WHITE

HISPANIC OR LATINO

NATIVE AMERICAN

AFRICAN AMERICAN

ASIAN

PACIFIC ISLANDER

OTHER

97.2

1.2

0.8

0.1

1

0

0.1

 

 

Less than one percent (0.9%) of forest visitors were from another country.  The survey did not collect country affiliation.  The most common zip codes are shown in Table 7.  Additional zip code information was collected and is available by request.  This information can help define the primary visitor market for the forest. 

 

 

    Table 7.  Most common zip codes of Gallatin NF recreation visitors

 

ZIPCODE

COUNT

PERCENT

59715

336

28.8412

59718

96

8.2403

59758

61

5.2361

59047

58

4.9785

59714

50

4.2918

59716

18

1.5451

59011

11

0.9442

59730

9

0.7725

59601

7

0.6009

59741

7

0.6009

59044

6

0.5150

59101

6

0.5150

82414

6

0.5150

59027

5

0.4292

59030

5

0.4292

59102

5

0.4292

59771

5

0.4292

83429

5

0.4292

59019

4

0.3433

83401

4

0.3433

84098

4

0.3433

 

 

 

Average number of people per vehicle and average axle count per vehicle in survey

 

There was an average of 2.52 people per vehicle with an average of 2.17 axles per vehicle.  This information in conjunction with traffic counts was used to expand observations from individual interviews to the full forest population of recreation visitors.  This information may be useful to forest engineers and others who use vehicle counters to conduct traffic studies. 


CHAPTER 3:  WILDERNESS VISITORS

 

Several questions on the NVUM survey form dealt directly with use of designated Wilderness.  Wilderness was sampled 46 days on the forest, and 138 interviews were obtained.  There were 52.6 percent male and 47.4 percent female visitors to Wilderness on the forest.  Tables 8 and 9 display the age distribution and race/ethnicity of Wilderness visitors.  

 

                  Table 8.  Age distribution of Gallatin NF Wilderness visitors

 


AGECLASS

PERCENT

UNDER 16

15.61

16 TO 19

1.84

20 TO 29

24.16

30 TO 39

14.24

40 TO 49

16.88

50 TO 59

15.07

60 TO 69

11.20

70 PLUS

1.00

 

 

                    Table 9.  Race/ethnicity of Gallatin NF Wilderness visitors

 

WHITE

HISPANIC OR LATINO

NATIVE AMERICAN

AFRICAN AMERICAN

ASIAN

PACIFIC ISLANDER

OTHER

98.2

0.4

1.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

 

 

The Wilderness visitors were from a wide variety of zip codes.  The most common Wilderness visitor zip codes are shown in Table 10.  Additional zip code information is available upon request.


          Table 10.  Most common zip codes of Gallatin NF Wilderness visitors

 

WLDZIP

COUNT

PERCENT

59047

35

25.3623

59715

32

23.1884

59718

12

8.6957

59716

6

4.3478

59027

3

2.1739

59030

3

2.1739

59105

2

1.4493

59714

2

1.4493

02129

1

0.7246

06820

1

0.7246

22308

1

0.7246

29550

1

0.7246

30327

1

0.7246

32080

1

0.7246

32176

1

0.7246

33143

1

0.7246

35124

1

0.7246

40503

1

0.7246

 

The average length of stay in Wilderness on the forest was 6.5 hours.  In addition, all visitors were asked on how many different days they entered into designated Wilderness during their national forest visit even if we interviewed them at a developed recreation site or general forest area. Of those visitors who did enter designated Wilderness, they entered 1.2 different days.

 

None of those interviewed in Wilderness said they used the services of a commercial guide. 

 

Table 11 gives detailed information about how the Wilderness visitors rated various aspects of the area.  A general example of how to interpret this information: If the visitors had rated the importance of the adequacy of signage a 5.0 (very important) and they rated their satisfaction with the adequacy of signage a 3.0 (somewhat satisfied) then the forest might be able to increase visitor satisfaction.  Perhaps twenty-nine percent of visitors said the adequacy of signage was poor.  The forest could target improving this sector of visitors for increased satisfaction by improving the signage for Wilderness. 

 

Wilderness visitors on the average rated their visit 4.0 (on a scale from 1 to 10) concerning crowding, meaning they felt there were few people there.   2.4 percent said the area they visited was overcrowded (a 10 on the scale) and 54.4 percent said there was hardly anyone there (a 1 on the scale).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 11.  Satisfaction of Gallatin NF Wilderness Visitors.

 

ITEM

Poor

Fair

Average

Good

Very Good

Average Rating

*

Mean Importance

**

N obs

Restroom cleanliness

13.8

0.0

0.0

44.8

41.4

4.0

4.0

13

Developed facility condition

0.0

2.4

5.9

21.4

70.3

4.6

3.6

20

Condition of environment

0.0

0.0

2.9

8.9

88.2

4.9

4.9

39

Employee helpfulness

0.0

0.0

0.0

12.7

87.3

4.9

4.3

17

Interpretive display

0.0

0.0

30.0

26.7

43.3

4.1

3.0

12

Parking availability

0.0

0.0

0.0

16.0

84.0

4.8

2.7

39

Parking lot condition

0.0

0.0

3.0

18.2

78.8

4.8

2.6

37

Rec. info. available

0.0

3.6

7.9

49.7

38.9

4.2

3.8

27

Road condition

0.0

4.5

43.7

26.3

25.5

3.7

3.3

27

Feeling of safety

0.0

0.0

6.6

24.5

68.9

4.6

3.2

38

Scenery

0.0

0.0

0.0

7.7

92.3

4.9

4.6

39

Signage adequacy

0.0

0.0

21.0

35.8

43.2

4.2

3.6

37

Trail condition

1.2

1.2

3.7

47.5

46.4

4.4

4.2

38

Value for fee paid

0.0

0.0

0.0

7.7

92.3

4.9

3.6

17

*Scale is: Poor = 1   Fair = 2   Average = 3   Good = 4   Very Good = 5

** Scale is: 1= not important   2= somewhat important   3=moderately important   4= important    5 = very important

N obs means the number of visitors who responded to this item.  

Note: For items with less than 10 responses the data was not reported

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER 4:  DESCRIPTION OF THE VISIT

 

A description of visitor activity during their national forest visit was developed.  This basic information includes participation in various recreation activities, length of stay on the national forest and at recreation sites, visitor satisfaction with national forest facilities and services, and economic expenditures. 

 

The average length of stay on this forest for a national forest visit was 14.0 hours.  Over 16 percent (16.89%) of visitors stayed overnight on the forest.  

 

In addition, visitors reported how much time they spent on the specific recreation site at which they were interviewed.   Average time spent varied considerably by site and is displayed in Table 12.   

 

Table 12.  Site visit length of stay (in hours) by site/type on Gallatin NF

 

Site Visit Average

Developed Day Use

Developed Overnight Use

General Forest Area

Wilderness

National Forest Visit

11.3

2.8

25.8

9.0

6.5

14.0

 

The average recreation visitor went to 1.11 sites during their national forest visit.  Forest visitors sometimes go to just one national forest site or area during their visit.  For example, downhill skiers may just go the ski area and nowhere else.  About 93.1 percent of visitors went only to the site at which they were interviewed.

 

During their visit to the forest, the top five recreation activities of the visitors were viewing wildlife, hiking/walking, viewing natural features, relaxing, and driving for pleasure (see Table 13).  Each visitor also picked one of these activities as their primary activity for their current recreation visit to the forest.  The top primary activities were hiking/walking, relaxing, hunting, downhill skiing, and snowmobile (see Table 13).   Please note that the results of the NVUM activity analysis DO NOT identify the types of activities visitors would like to have offered on the national forests.  It also does not tell us about displaced forest visitors, those who no longer visit the forest because the activities they desire are not offered. 


 

                 Table 13.  Gallatin NF activity participation and primary activity

 

Activity

% Participating

% as Main Activity

Developed Camping

12.66

4.53

Primitive Camping

7.20

1.80

Backpacking

2.64

0.19

Resort Use

1.34

0.21

Picnicking

10.34

1.15

Viewing Natural Features

70.72

3.76

Visiting Historic Sites

4.55

0.30

Nature Center Activities

5.43

0.96

Nature Study

9.56

0.03

Relaxing

55.83

10.62

Fishing

12.67

6.63

Hunting

9.90

9.22

OHV Use

4.03

1.39

Driving for Pleasure

20.74

1.94

Snowmobiling

9.03

7.82

Motorized Water Activities

0.91

0.12

Other Motorized Activity

0.69

0.09

Hiking / Walking

57.64

29.10

Horesback Riding

2.37

1.17

Bicycling

2.52

1.44

Non-motorized Water

5.74

3.18

Downhill Skiing

9.64

8.25

Cross-country Skiing

4.02

2.95

Other Non-motorized

4.67

0.86

Gathering Forest Products

5.12

2.04

Viewing Wildlife

59.97

2.89

                 Note: this column may total more than 100% because some visitors chose more than one primary activity.


Use of constructed facilities and designated areas

 

One-third of the last exiting recreation visitors interviewed were asked about the types of constructed facilities and special designated areas they used during their visit.  The five most used facilities/areas were:  forest trails, forest roads, developed campground, downhill ski areas, and wilderness. Table 14 provides a summary of reported facility and special area use. 

 

 

 

Table 14.  Percentage use of facilities and specially designated areas on Gallatin NF.

 

FACILITY

PERCENT

Developed Campground

13.46

Developed Swimming Site

1.62

Forest Trails

47.44

Scenic Byway

4.23

Wilderness

7.09

Museum

2.85

Picnic Area

6.49

Boat Launch

1.62

Designated OHV Area

1.62

Forest Roads

19.27

Interpretive Displays

1.39

Information Sites

1.56

Organization Camps

0.24

Developed Fishing Site

3.26

Snowmobile Area/Trails

7.62

Downhill Ski Area

8.08

Nordic Trails

1.80

FS Lodge

0.41

FS Fire Lookout

0.81

Snowplay Area

3.36

Motorized Trails

4.99

Recreation Residence

0.35

 

 


 

Economic Information

 

About one-third of visitors interviewed were asked a series of questions that enabled economic analyses.  Several questions focused on the trip away from home that included their visit to the national forest, and others about their annual visits to the forest and annual spending on all outdoor recreation.

 

This trip away from home

 

While away from home, some people just go to the forest, while others incorporate a national forest visit as part of a larger trip away from home. On this forest, 84.08 percent said that recreating on this forest was their primary trip destination.  Visitors were asked to select one of several substitute choices, if for some reason they were unable to visit this national forest.  Their responses are shown in Table 15.  Forty-six percent of forest visitors indicated their trip would include at least one night away from home.  The average number of nights away for those staying away overnight was 7.9.  About 43 percent indicated they would be staying overnight within 50 miles of this forest, and for them, the average number of nights in the local area was 4.3.   Visitors estimated the amount of money spent during their trip within 50 miles of the recreation site at which they were interviewed (the trip may include multiple national forest visits, as well as visits to other forests or parks).  This information will be available in a separate report and data file that can be used to estimate the local jobs and income that are generated by recreation visits to this forest.

 

 

Table 15.  Substitute behavior choices of recreation visitors

 

Substitute response

Percent who would have:

Come back another time

14.2

Stayed at Home

8.4

Gone elsewhere for the Same activity

63.0

Gone elsewhere for a Different activity

10.9

Gone to Work

2.8

Had some other substitute

1.1

 

Average annual outdoor recreation activity

 

In the 12 months prior to the interview the typical visitor had come to this forest 42.4 times for all activities, including 25.8 times to participate in their identified main activity.  Visitors were also asked about the amount of money they spent in a typical year on all outdoor recreation activities including equipment, recreation trips, memberships, and licenses. About 17% said they spent less than $500 per year, and a little more than 7% said they spent over $10,000 per year (Table 16). 

 

 

 

 

Table 16.  Annual recreation spending for visitors to the Gallatin NF

 

 

$$ spent each year on outdoor recreation

Percent of Total

UNDER 500

17.37

500 -  999

20.00

1000 - 1999

15.26

2000 - 2999

14.21

3000 - 3999

7.11

4000 - 4999

5.53

5000 - 9999

12.89

OVER 10000

7.63

 

 

 


Visitor Satisfaction Information

 

About one-third of visitors interviewed on the forest rated their satisfaction with the recreation facilities and services provided.  Although their satisfaction ratings pertain to conditions at the specific site or area they visited, this information is not valid at the site-specific level.  The survey design does not usually have enough responses for every individual site or area on the forest to draw these conclusions.  Rather, the information is generalized to overall satisfaction with facilities and services on the forest as a whole. 

 

Visitors’ site-specific answers may be colored by a particular condition on a particular day at a particular site.  For example, a visitor camping in a developed campground when all the forest personnel are off firefighting and the site has not been cleaned.  Perhaps the garbage had not been emptied or the toilets cleaned during their stay, although the site usually receives excellent maintenance.  The visitor may have been very unsatisfied with the cleanliness of restrooms. 

 

In addition to how satisfied visitors were with facilities and services they were asked how important that particular facility or service was to the quality of their recreation experience.  The importance of these elements to the visitors’ recreation experience is then analyzed in relation to their satisfaction.  Those elements that were extremely important to a visitor’s overall recreation experience and the visitor rated as poor quality are those elements needing most attention by the forest.  Those elements that were rated not important to the visitors’ recreation experience need the least attention.

 

Tables 17 through 19 summarize visitor satisfaction with the forest facilities and services at Day Use Developed sites, Overnight Developed sites and General Forest areas.  Wilderness satisfaction is reported in Table 11.  To interpret this information for possible management action, one must look at both the importance and satisfaction ratings.  If visitors rated an element a 1 or 2 they are telling management that particular element is not very important to the overall quality of their recreation experience.  Even if the visitors rated that element as poor or fair, improving this element may not necessarily increase visitor satisfaction because the element was not that important to them.  On the other hand, if visitors rated an element as a 5 or 4 they are saying this element is very important to the quality of their recreation experience.  If their overall satisfaction with that element is not very good, management action here can increase visitor satisfaction. 


 

Table 17.  Satisfaction of Gallatin NF recreation visitors at Developed Day Use sites

 

ITEM

Poor

Fair

Average

Good

Very Good

Average Rating

*

Mean Importance

**

N obs

Restroom cleanliness

0.0

3.3

12.4

41.1

43.2

4.2

4.0

72

Developed facility condition

0.0

0.4

12.1

35.4

52.0

4.4

3.9

99

Condition of environment

0.0

1.6

3.3

30.1

65.0

4.6

4.5

115

Employee helpfulness

0.0

1.8

2.3

31.5

64.3

4.6

4.2

86

Interpretive display

1.0

6.4

7.5

45.0

40.1

4.2

4.1

59

Parking availability

0.2

7.9

2.9

38.0

51.1

4.3

3.5

111

Parking lot condition

1.7

5.9

14.7

39.2

38.5

4.1

3.2

108

Rec. info. available

2.2

0.0

17.8

39.2

40.7

4.2

3.5

98

Road condition

0.0

0.0

12.3

58.6

29.1

4.2

3.5

66

Feeling of safety

0.0

0.7

11.5

40.7

47.0

4.3

3.8

115

Scenery

0.2

0.0

1.8

14.1

83.9

4.8

4.4

115

Signage adequacy

0.2

2.7

14.5

42.5

40.1

4.2

3.7

113

Trail condition

0.0

0.0

7.1

60.1

32.8

4.3

3.8

72

Value for fee paid

0.0

1.7

7.0

32.8

58.5

4.5

4.3

94

*Scale is:  Poor = 1   Fair = 2   Average = 3   Good = 4   Very good = 5

** Scale is: 1= not important   2= somewhat important   3=moderately important   4= important    5 = very important

N obs means the number of visitors who responded to this item.

        Note: For items with less than 10 responses the data was not reported


 

 

Table 18.  Satisfaction of Gallatin NF recreation visitors at Developed Overnight sites

 

ITEM

Poor

Fair

Average

Good

Very Good

Average Rating

*

Mean Importance

**

N obs

Restroom cleanliness

0.0

0.0

32.9

18.1

48.9

4.2

4.7

22

Developed facility condition

0.0

0.0

14.4

16.6

69.0

4.5

4.4

22

Condition of environment

0.0

0.0

0.0

16.7

83.3

4.8

4.8

24

Employee helpfulness

0.0

0.0

0.0

5.6

94.4

4.9

4.3

18

Interpretive display

0.0

0.0

43.6

27.0

29.4

3.9

3.4

11

Parking availability

0.0

0.0

12.8

40.2

47.0

4.3

4.2

23

Parking lot condition

0.0

0.0

12.9

39.8

47.3

4.3

3.6

22

Rec. info. available

0.0

1.9

1.9

61.3

34.8

4.3

4.0

16

Road condition

1.0

12.1

41.6

28.5

16.7

3.5

3.7

21

Feeling of safety

0.0

0.0

0.9

16.3

82.8

4.8

3.9

23

Scenery

0.0

0.0

0.0

2.8

97.2

5.0

4.7

24

Signage adequacy

0.0

0.0

25.2

30.3

44.5

4.2

4.0

24

Trail condition

0.0

0.0

1.4

37.5

61.1

4.6

4.4

14

Value for fee paid

0.0

0.0

1.3

1.3

97.4

5.0

4.6

20

*Scale is:  Poor = 1   Fair = 2   Average = 3   Good = 4   Very good = 5

** Scale is: 1= not important   2= somewhat important   3=moderately important   4= important    5 = very important

N obs means the number of visitors who responded to this item.

Note: For items with less than 10 responses the data was not reported

 


 

 

Table 19.  Satisfaction of Gallatin NF recreation visitors in General Forest Areas

 

ITEM

Poor

Fair

Average

Good

Very Good

Average Rating

*

Mean Importance

**

N obs

Restroom cleanliness

4.5

4.5

7.6

56.0

27.3

4.0

3.9

77

Developed facility c

0.0

8.3