The Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests are participating in a one-year visitor survey called the National Visitor Use Monitoring. The survey will be conducted from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014.

Interviewers will be stationed at key forest roads or exits from recreation areas. They will ask national forest visitors what activities they participated in that day and how much time they devoted to each form of recreation.

Also, the number of people per vehicle will be counted to tally the total number of visitors in each party sampled.

Only activities and zip codes are requested. No names or personal information are collected. The questions asked are very basic.

Examples include “What activities did you participate in? How long did you stay? How satisfied are you with the facilities? Where are you from?”

This year-long study, which is performed every four to five years, will be summarized and published along with results from other national forests.

Congress, agency planners and those who study national visitor and recreation trends use this data. It may also be used as part of the basis for allocating appropriated funding to the recreation programs of each forest.

In 2008, after the last sampling period for the SBNF, some key report findings were total recreation visits to the Forest were 2,442,800.

More than 53 percent of those visitors lived within 50 miles of the forest.

Nearly 29 percent of the visitors stayed overnight in a U.S. Forest Service campground. More than 76 percent of visits to National Forest System lands are done primarily for physical activity, such as hiking, biking, and skiing.

The NVUM format is a statistical visitor sampling system developed for all Federal land management agencies to measure visitor activities and use within Federal lands by using consistent methods. Sample sites will be safely located along low-speed Forest roads or near recreation sites. They will have large florescent signs stating “Traffic survey ahead — please stop”.

Surveyors will have identification and orange vests. Forest visitors are not obligated to stop or participate in the survey, however sharing constructive feedback from their experience will enable the forests to address deficiencies and improve customer service.

This survey process is done in partnership with California State University San Marcos.