National Visitor Use Monitoring

Photo of a Forest Service employee conducting a visitor use survey




To help us provide the best possible service regarding recreation opportunities and experiences, Forest Service employees will gather basic information from people visiting the Bighorn National Forest. National Visitor Use Monitoring data will be gathered on the Bighorn for 12 months beginning October 2017.


What is National Visitor Use Monitoring?

Once every five years, each national forest and grassland collects visitor data over a 12-month period through voluntary surveys. The National Visitor Use Monitoring program provides reliable information about recreation visitors to National Forest System lands at the national, regional, and forest levels.

What is the information used for?

The ultimate aim for the information is to help the Forest Service provide the best customer service possible. 

Basically, it helps managers identify what visitors want. Polling people about visitor satisfaction wtih facilities and services helps managers understand recreation use patterns and uses of facilities. This helps them plan workforce and facility needs. Satisfaction information helps managers decide where to invest and allocate resources more efficiently toward improving customer satisfaction. 

Data are also used to estimate the economic and non-economic effects of national forest recreation on local economies. Forest managers are very interested in the economic impacts of national forest recreation visits. As commodity production of timber and other resources has declined, local communities look increasingly to tourism to support their communities.

Data are also important to state agencies and private industry. The information is used by Congress as the data provide science-based, reliable information about the types, quantity, quality, and locations of recreation uses on public lands.

What questions are asked for the survey? How long will it take?

Participation in the survey is entirely voluntary. All responses are totally confidential; in fact, a person's name is never requested and is never written anywhere on the survey. The basic interview lasts about 10 minutes. Some visitors will be asked a few additional questions that may take an additional five minutes.

The questions include where they recreated, how many people they traveled with, how much time they spent in the Bighorn, and what other recreation sites they visited. Some will be asked questions about how satisfied they were with the facilities and services provided and about one-third will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their visit.

Thank you

We appreciate your participation in the survey. The more accurate information we have about your visit to the Bighorn National Forest, the more successfully we can provide for your needs.

For more information

Contact Dave McKee, recreation program manager, at 307.674.2636 or

Data from past surveys on the Bighorn National Forest: