The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is participating in the National Forest Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM), a nationwide survey being conducted on National Forests and Grasslands.

The NVUM was developed to provide statistically reliable estimates of visitor use to assist with local and national land management planning decisions.

It also provides important information for Congress and other external customers.

The visitor survey began in October of 2002 and will continue through September 30 of 2003, on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, according to Dan Ermovick, forest recreation Planner. Forest employees and contractors are conducting the local survey at key locations along Forest roads, and developed recreation sites such as trailheads, campgrounds, picnic areas, and winter recreation sites.

The forest visitor survey gathers anonymous visitor information and all responses are confidential. The basic interview lasts about six minutes. Every other visitor is asked additional questions which may take 5 minutes longer. Questions include: number of visitors in the group, length of stay, sites visited, customer satisfaction with services and facilities, recreation activities, user demographics, outdoor recreation expenditure, etc.

"For easy identification survey crews are wearing bright orange vests," Ermovick said. "Signs indicating survey sites are also posted to advise the public."

Although the survey is entirely voluntary, the Forest Service asks forest visitors to stop at survey points and spend the few minutes necessary to answer all the questions, since it is important for the results of the survey that all forest visitors are represented at each location.

"So far, most forest visitors have been willing to spend the 15 minutes in the interview," Ermovick added. "We encourage recreationists to participate in the survey and appreciate their time and patience."

Detailed information about the visitor surveys on the 61 national forests being sampled is available in separate reports on the Internet at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum.

For additional information about the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest survey, call Dan Ermovick at 541-523-1250.

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