At times during the next year, you will be asked to help with a survey at Bitterroot National Forest recreation areas and along some of the forest roads. Tod McKay of the Bitterroot Forest said that a regularly scheduled National Visitor Use Monitoring Program conducts a survey every five years and from October 1st this year to September 30, 2022 is the next survey period.

McKay said the forest surveyors will be wearing bright orange vests and they will be near "Traffic Survey Ahead" signs in the recreation areas and along wide spots on the backcountry roads. He said it's a voluntary survey and if you participate all the information is confidential.

How do they use the information? They consider the survey results in planning sessions and also helps determine how tourism can be helped. For instance, Lake Como's recreation area has often been one of the most popular Forest Service sites in the Northern Region. The surveys can help officials determine how to make it even more attractive. The surveys will not be a constant thing, but will happen at different times in all seasons to determine uses during the usual summer vacations, but also in the winter with the various snow activities on the forest.

The survey takes about 10 minutes and the questions are the usual thing - where you visited, how long you stayed and how satisfied you were with your stay. There is an added section on some of the surveys about your recreation costs. If you need more information about the surveys, call Bitterroot National Forest Recreation Manager Erica Stayer at 406 821-3913. You can also check the Monitoring Program website.

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