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Visitor Use Surveys Conducted on the Black Hills National Forest

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Scott Jacobson, Public Affairs Officer

Custer, S.D., May 24, 2024 – The National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) survey is being conducted on the Black Hills National Forest. The public can expect to see contract employees wearing bright vests, working in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along forest service roads near signs that say, “Traffic Survey Ahead.”

The survey gathers basic information from the public that is useful for forest planning as well as local community tourism planning. It provides National Forest managers with an estimate of how many people recreate on the Forest, what activities they engage in while there, and how satisfied people were with their visit. Economic impact to the local economy is also captured in the survey.

Surveys are voluntary and all responses are confidential; names are not included. Interviews last about 10 minutes. Survey questions include; did you recreate on the Forest and if so, where, how many people traveled with you, how long you were on the Forest, what other recreation sites you visited while on the Forest, and how satisfied you are with the facilities and services provided. About a third of the visitors will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.

“Although the survey is entirely voluntary, participation is extremely important so we can assess visitor experiences on the Forest and strive to make it a better place to visit,” said Bradley Block, Forest Recreation Program Manager. “We would appreciate it if visitors would pull over and answer a few questions. It’s important for interviewers to visit with both local and out-of-area visitors to ensure all users are represented in the study.” Information about the National Visitor Use Monitoring program can be found at

NVUM surveys are conducted every 5 years. The 2024 NVUM survey on the Black Hills National Forest began on October 1, 2023 and will conclude on September 30, 2024.


For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit


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