National wildlife refuge visitor survey: individual refuge results
Product Type:Data Series
Author(s):Sexton, N.R., A.M. Dietsch, A.W. Don Carlos, L. Koontz, A.N. Solomon, and H.M. Miller
Suggested Citation:Sexton, N.R., A.M. Dietsch, A.W. Don Carlos, L. Koontz, A.N. Solomon, and H.M. Miller. 2012. National wildlife refuge visitor survey: individual refuge results. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 643.
The National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System), established in 1903 and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), is the leading network of protected lands and waters in the world dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife and their habitats. There are 556 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts nationwide, encompassing more than 150 million acres. The Refuge System attracts more than 45 million visitors annually, including 25 million people per year to observe and photograph wildlife, over 9 million to hunt and fish, and more than 10 million to participate in educational and interpretation programs. Understanding visitors and characterizing their experiences on national wildlife refuges are critical elements of managing these lands and meeting the goals of the Refuge System.
The Service collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a national survey of visitors regarding their experiences on national wildlife refuges. The survey was conducted to better understand visitor needs and experiences and to design programs and facilities that respond to those needs. The survey results will inform Service performance planning, budget, and communications goals. Results will also inform Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCPs), Visitor Services, and Transportation Planning processes.
This data series consists of 53 separate data files. Each file describes the results of the survey for an individual refuge and contains the following information:
- Introduction: An overview of the Refuge System and the goals of the national surveying effort.
- Methods: The procedures for the national surveying effort, including selecting refuges, developing the survey instrument, contacting visitors, and guidance for interpreting the results.
- Refuge Description: A brief description of the refuge location, acreage, purpose, recreational activities, and visitation statistics, including a map (where available) and refuge website link.
- Sampling at This Refuge: The sampling periods, locations, and response rate for the refuge.
- Selected Survey Results: Key findings for the refuge, including:
- Visitor and Trip Characteristics
- Visitor Spending in the Local Communities
- Visitors Opinions about This Refuge
- Visitor Opinions about National Wildlife Refuge System Topics
- Survey Frequencies (Appendix A): The survey instrument with the frequency results for this refuge.
- Visitor Comments (Appendix B): The verbatim responses to the open-ended survey questions for this refuge.
Combined results for the 53 participating refuges are available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/685/ as part of USGS Data Series 685.