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Generic interagency visitor survey planned for all federal lands

A new system-wide visitor survey in in the works for all federal land agencies. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is taking the lead in developing it but the National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Geological Survey also plan to use it. So does the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Announcement of the plan came on Wednesday, Feb. 12. You can read it at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-02-12/html/2014-02980.htm.

USFS is taking public comments until April 14.

The proposed form is officially known as the Interagency Generic Clearance for Federal Land Management Agencies Collaborative Visitor Feedback Surveys on Recreation and Transportation Related Programs and Systems.

Land management agencies and research stations plan to use the form periodically to ask visitors about everything from “services, facilities, road and/or travel systems, needs, programs (and) demographics” to land management and more.

Why have one generic form? To make it easier and less costly if more than one agency in the same area wants feedback –- people would only have to fill out one form. A uniform document would also save the time and expense of designing multiple forms and getting them approved by the Office of Management & Budget.

The agencies would use the form to survey visitors, potential visitors, residents and neighbors of federal lands about their experiences on everything from safety to how they liked transportation to how much time they spend on the public land to their perception of noise levels.

Participation among individuals would be voluntary. USFS estimates about 72,000 people a year would be asked to complete the survey and it would take about 25 minutes.