Date of this Version
Natural Resource Report NPS/NIOB/NRR—2018/1831 / NPS 656/149743, November 2018: xviii, 159 pages
Published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, Fort Collins, Colorado
Also available at: http://www.nature.nps.gov/publications/nrpm/
Please cite this publication as:
Resource Systems Group (RSG). 2018. Niobrara National Scenic River socioeconomic monitoring pilot implementation: Summer 2016. Natural Resource Report NPS/NIOB/NRR—2018/1831. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.
This report describes the results of a visitor study at Niobrara National Scenic River (NSR) conducted from July 15 through July 24, 2016. During the sampling period, 253 visitor groups were contacted to participate in the survey. Of those groups, 217 agreed to participate in the study by accepting a mail-back survey packet. Questionnaires were completed and returned by 110 visitor groups, resulting in a completion rate of 51% among those visitor groups that agreed to participate in the study and an overall response rate of 43% for the study.
This report profiles a systematic random sample of Niobrara NSR visitors. Most of the results are presented in graphs and frequency tables. Summaries of visitor comments are included in the body of the report. Verbatim comments are included in the Visitor Comment Appendix (bound separately).
Fifty-four percent of visitor groups were groups of five or more, 16% of visitor groups were groups of two and 16% of visitor groups were groups of three. Over half of visitor groups (51%) identified as groups of family.
Six percent of visitors were 65 years old or older, 12% of visitors were 55 to 64 years old, 36% of visitors were 35 to 54 years old, 24% of visitors were 18 to 34 years old, and 22% of visitors were under 18 years old.
Hispanic or Latino visitors comprised 3% of visitation during the survey period. Most visitors (96%) were white. Few visitors were Asian (2%), American Indian or Alaska Native (1%), or black or African American (<1%). Zero percent of visitors identified as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander during the survey period.
All visitor groups preferred to speak (100%) and read (100%) English when visiting an area such as Niobrara NSR.
Nearly all visitors during the survey period were from the United States. At the state level, 59% of visitors were from Nebraska, 13% of visitors were from Iowa, and smaller proportions of visitors were from 14 other states. International visitors comprised <1% of total visitation with 100% of international visitors from Canada.
Eighty-eight percent of visitors indicated having visited the park only once during the last 12 months, while over 10% had visited two times during the past year. Thirty-eight percent of visitors indicated that they had not visited another National Park Service (NPS) site within the past 12 months.
Ninety-five percent of visitor groups obtained information about Niobrara NSR prior to this trip. The most commonly reported information sources used were previous visits (55%) and friends/relatives/word of mouth (54%). The vast majority (90%) of visitor groups had the information they needed about Niobrara NSR for their trip.
Ninety-six percent of visitor groups used a car, truck, or SUV to get from their home to the park. Eighty-four percent of visitor groups spent up to 6 hours traveling from their home to xvi the park. Forty-five percent of visitor groups traveled up to 250 miles from their home to get to the park and another 45% of visitor groups traveled 251 to 500 miles for their home to get to the park.
Sixty-nine percent of visitor groups indicated that visiting Niobrara NSR was the primary or sole purpose of their trip away from home. Twenty-seven percent of visitor groups indicated that visiting Niobrara NSR was one of several equally important destinations.
The most important reasons for visitors to visit Niobrara NSR included spending time with friends/family (48% of visitor groups), viewing wildlife or natural scenery (16% of visitor groups), and recreating on the Niobrara River (12% of visitor groups). Eighty-three percent of visitor groups reported that non-motorized water travel was their primary activity. Four percent of visitor groups reported having no primary activity.
Eighty-four percent of visitors stayed overnight in Niobrara NSR or in the nearby area. Over half (58%) of those visitors who stayed overnight stayed in lodging in the nearby area. Only 21% of visitor groups visited another NPS site on their trip away from home. The most commonly reported NPS sites visited other than Niobrara NSR were Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park and Devils Tower National Monument.
The vast majority of visitor groups (99%) indicated that no one in their group had a physical condition that made it difficult to access or participate in activities or services during their visit. Of those visitor groups that did have a group member with a physical condition, the most commonly reported physical condition was a mobility-related condition (100%). Moreover, 72% of visitor groups neither agreed nor disagreed that Niobrara NSR is not accessible to persons with physical disabilities.
During their visit to Niobrara NSR, visitor groups talked informally with a ranger (47%), viewed outdoor exhibits (39%), and/or read the park brochure or newspaper (32%). Twenty-five percent of visitor groups reported that they learned something from park staff, programs, and/or exhibits about American history, nature, and/or culture.
Fourteen percent of visitor groups reported that someone within their group purchased a package tour that included meals, lodging, and/or transportation while on their trip to Niobrara NSR.
Twenty-seven percent of visitor groups spent $251 to $500 on expenditures inside the park and nearby area, excluding package tour expenses, and 22% of visitor groups spent $1 to $250. The expenditure sectors where visitor groups spent the largest proportions of money (excluding package tour expenses) included equipment rental (19% of expenditures), hotels, motels, resorts (17% of expenditures), and specialty lodging (15% of expenditures).
The vast majority of visitor groups (93%) reported that their visit to Niobrara NSR met their expectations.
The vast majority (98%) of visitor groups agreed that Niobrara NSR is a safe place to visit. Eighty percent agreed that vandalism and crime are not a problem in Niobrara NSR.
Eighty-five percent of visitor groups agreed that natural resources in Niobrara NSR are in pristine condition. Seventy-six percent of visitor groups agreed that historical and cultural features in Niobrara NSR are well maintained/preserved. Over half (51%) of visitor groups disagreed that development of adjacent areas detracts from visitors’ experiences at Niobrara NSR. Sixty-three percent of visitor groups disagreed that Niobrara NSR is too crowded.
Overall, visitor groups rated the quality of facilities, services, and recreation opportunities in Niobrara NSR highly. Ninety-four percent of visitor groups rated the overall quality as good or very good.
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