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Data Series 754

National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Survey 2012: Individual Refuge Results

By Alia M. Dietsch, Natalie R. Sexton, Lynne M. Koontz, and Shannon J. Conk

Abstract

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 560 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts nationwide, encompassing more than 150 million acres. The Refuge System attracts nearly 45 million visitors annually, including 34.8 million people who observe and photograph wildlife, 9.6 million who hunt and fish, and nearly 675,000 teachers and students who use refuges as outdoor classrooms. Understanding visitor perceptions of refuges and characterizing their experiences on 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 purpose of the survey was to better understand visitor experiences and trip characteristics, to gauge visitors’ levels of satisfaction with existing recreational opportunities, and to garner feedback to inform the design of programs and facilities. The survey results will inform performance, planning, budget, and communications goals. Results will also inform Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCPs), visitor services, and transportation planning processes.

This Data Series consists of 25 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:
   o Visitor and trip characteristics
   o Visitor spending in the local communities
   o Visitors opinions about the refuge
   o Visitor opinions about National Wildlife Refuge System topics
Conclusion
References Cited
Survey Frequencies (Appendix A): The survey instrument with frequency results for the refuge.
Visitor Comments (Appendix B): The verbatim responses to the open-ended survey questions for the refuge.

Individual-refuge results for the 53 participating refuges in the 2010-2011 national effort are available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/643/ as part of USGS Data Series 643.

Combined results for the 53 participating refuges in the 2010-2011 national effort are available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/685/ as part of USGS Data Series 685.

First posted June 25, 2013

For additional information contact:
Alia Dietsch, Fort Collins Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. C
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8118
http://www.fort.usgs.gov/

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.


Suggested citation:

Dietsch, A.M., Sexton, N.R., Koontz, L.M., and Conk, S.J., 2013, National wildlife refuge visitor survey 2012—Individual refuge results: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 754, http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/754/.

 



Data files for individual refuge results listed alphabetically by Service region

Pacific Region (R1)

Ridgefield NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Southwest Region (R2)

Balcones Canyonlands NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Hagerman NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Kofa NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Santa Ana NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Tishomingo NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region (R3)

La Crosse District, Upper Mississippi River NWFR - NWR visitor survey 2012

Minnesota Valley NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Southeast Region (R4)

Crystal River NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Eufaula NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Felsenthal NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Lacassine NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

National Key Deer Refuge – NWR visitor survey 2012

Savannah NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Northeast Region (R5)

Assabet River NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Back Bay NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Chincoteague NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Edwin B. Forsythe NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Rachel Carson NWR – NWR visitor survey 20121

Mountain-Prairie Region (R6)

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge – NWR visitor survey 2012

Lee Metcalf NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

National Bison Range – NWR visitor survey 2012

Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

Alaska Region (R7)

California and Nevada Region (R8)

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

San Luis NWR – NWR visitor survey 2012

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