Starting this week, some trail users in the upper Roaring Fork Valley will be asked to carry a GPS unit that tracks their route, and then participate in a survey to assess their experiences in the great outdoors.
This is the second year of an effort to collect survey data that will help local land managers better understand visitor experiences and perceptions on various popular trails in Pitkin County. Throughout this month, doctoral students from Utah State University’s Recreation Ecology and Management program will be stationed periodically at 10 different trailheads to conduct the survey work, with the goal of connecting with up to 1,000 visitors. The locations provide access to adjacent public lands – either on open space or in the national forest. Last summer, five entirely different sites were selected for the survey effort.
The survey teams will intercept visitors, who will be asked to voluntarily carry a GPS unit that records their route. Upon their return, participants will respond to questions that explore social conditions and their experience during that visit.
The visitor survey data and additional research findings will be compiled into a baseline report that describes existing ecological information, use patterns and visitor expectations and experiences.
Partners that initiated the project include Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, City of Aspen, and towns of Snowmass Village and Basalt. The entities have formed the Roaring Fork Outdoor Coalition, which has chosen Design Workshop to facilitate the Coalition’s goal of setting collaborative priorities for recreation management and natural resource conservation within the upper Roaring Fork Watershed. An online, community survey is also planned this summer and fall.
Contact: Carly O’Connell, Open Space and Trails planner and landscape architect | 970.379.4840 | firstname.lastname@example.org