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October 25, 2012


In Reply Refer To:
8300 (WO-250/OC-570) P
Information Bulletin No. 2013-004
To:               All State Directors and Assistant Director, NLCS and Community Partnerships
                    Attn: Recreation and National Landscape Conservation System Program Leads
From:           Division Chief, Recreation and Visitor Services

Subject:       Bureau of Land Management 2013 and 2014 Visitor Satisfaction Survey                           DD: 12/07/2012; DD:  02/28/2013
This Information Bulletin (IB) documents the decision to continue the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Visitor Satisfaction Survey through calendar year 2014. This IB requests that each state director in collaboration with their State Recreation Program and National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) Program Leads, select two sites in their respective area of jurisdiction for visitor satisfaction surveying. The Eastern States Office may also participate at their discretion.
The annual visitor survey provides the BLM with both data for reporting results using national performance measures required under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 and information regarding visitors’ satisfaction with value for fees paid. This survey also gives the BLM site managers vital information relative to visitor satisfaction with facilities, interpretation/education programs and materials, road/trail maintenance, staff service, and general recreation management.
Each state is asked to complete the following steps:   
  1. Review the Visitor Survey Instrument (Attachment 1) and the Instructions for On-Site Visitor Survey Administration (Attachment 2).
  1. Select two sites/areas that can be sampled in 2013 within a two-month time period during January 15, 2013 – August 31, 2013 in accordance with survey instructions developed by the University of Idaho. Selected sites can be either fee or non-fee, and may be a NLCS unit. In choosing these two sites/areas, please consider the following requirements: 
  • Select sites that have adequate visitation during the 2-month survey time period. It is necessary to distribute approximately 350-400 survey instruments per site to potential respondents, depending upon annual visitation. Therefore, each state must select an appropriate timeframe and sites with adequate visitation to meet this requirement. 
  • Select sites that either have adequate on-site staffing or can otherwise provide staff to distribute the surveys in accordance with directions from the University of Idaho. Volunteers may be used in this process. 
  • Select sites where the BLM has made an investment to provide recreation opportunities and benefits, since the BLM is asking for survey respondents to report on their satisfaction with the BLM’s recreation management activities. Surveying these types of sites will best allow the BLM to understand how effectively its recreation management is meeting the public’s needs. 
  • Select one site/area, if possible, that provides interpretive programming and/or facilities. It is strongly recommended to choose such a site so that the BLM can meet the Departmental requirement in reporting GPRA information on interpretive efforts. 
  1. Complete a Fiscal Year (FY) 201313 winter/spring/summer Site Profile (Attachment 3) for each of the two sites/areas selected. 
  1. Submit the completed Site Profiles to David Baker, Outdoor Recreation Planner, National Operations Center (NOC) - Division of Resource Services (DRS), at djbaker@blm.gov by December 7, 2012. 
  1. New this year, in response to field staff comments whose high visitation season occurs in the fall, we would like the states to consider selecting sites for a FY 2014 (October –January) survey.  If a state is interested, they should complete the FY 14 fall Site Profile (Attachment 4) by the end of February 2013. Results from these surveys will be available to the BLM in April of 2014, and be included in the comprehensive national report by the end of November 2014. 
Once each state’s site/area nominations have been approved by the National Recreation and Visitor Services (NR&VS) Division, the site selections will be forwarded to the Principal Investigator, Jennifer Hoger Russell at the University of Idaho, who in turn will get in touch with the site contact person named on the site profile, to develop a sampling procedure. The following will then take place: 
  1. The University of Idaho will print the computer scannable surveys with the site name and ship them, along with the locked drop boxes and protocols, directly to the site contact person. The BLM will oversee the administration of the survey on-site during the 2-month sampling period between January 15 and August 31, 2013. It is necessary to distribute approximately 350-400 survey instruments per site to potential respondents. 
  1. Once the sampling is completed, the locked drop boxes containing the returned surveys will be shipped to the University of Idaho. 
  1. The survey data will be entered and analyzed by the University of Idaho, and reports generated and distributed to individual sites. Data relating to BLM national GPRA reporting measures will be available to the BLM by late September 2013. The final and comprehensive national and site specific reports will be delivered to the BLM by the end of November 2013. 
Each state office should submit a completed FY 2013 Site Profile (Attachment 3) for each of their two site selections by December 7, 2012. Each state office has the option to submit an additional Fall FY 2014 Site Profile (Attachment 4) for one or two additional site selections by February 28, 2013.
The BLM Washington Office has a $65,000 contract with the University of Idaho to print the survey (individualized with BLM site names), provide surveys and locked drop boxes for completed surveys, establish a sampling protocol for each site, enter data, analyze the data, and prepares both national and site reports on the results. In addition, administering the survey will require approximately 100 hours of paid staff or volunteer time (surveying and administration) at each of the 22 sites selected to participate in the survey. However, depending upon annual visitation, site type, the number of surveys to administer, travel time from/to the field office, and level of effort, it may take substantially more than 100 hours to complete the survey.
The BLM Visitor Survey has been conducted annually since 1999 (with the exception of 2002). The 2013/2014 survey instrument has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget for use through 2014. 
Annual visitor surveys are required as part of the Annual Performance Plan mandated under GPRA which stipulates meeting explicit long-term goals related to Recreation and NLCS customer satisfaction measures.
Coordination has included the NR&VS Division (WO-250) and the NOC-DRS (OC-570). 
For more information, please contact either Kevin Chesley, Outdoor Recreation Planner,
WO-250, by telephone at 202-912-7254, or by email at kchesley@blm.gov or David Baker, Outdoor Recreation Planner, NOC/DRS, by telephone at 303-236-6313 or by email at djbaker@blm.gov.
Signed by:                                                                  Authenticated by:
Andy Tenney                                                              Robert M. Williams
Division Chief,                                                            Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Recreation and Visitor Services
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Last updated: 11-14-2012