Share Your Forest Use Data - Help Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

The University of Washington Outdoor R&D Team is partnering with AMGA and other outdoor organizations to provide land managers real-time data on demand and land use at recreation sites on Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. You can help by providing your uses and observations.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 24, 2020

Do you hike, climb, bike, hunt, picnic, or otherwise spend time outdoors in Washington? We need your help! Our partners are working to help the US Forest Service improve their data collection related to visitor use in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Information about outdoor recreation is critical for maintaining and advocating for recreational opportunities on public lands.

The Forest Service has limited resources and protocols for measuring recreationists, and that's why a group of our partners, including the American Mountain Guides Association, is partnering with  folks at the University of Washington Outdoor Recreation and Data Lab to compile knowledge from the outdoor community into maps and graphs. This information will provide managers with an up-to-date picture of the demand for recreation opportunities across the National Forest. We're especially interested in gathering data on climbing use in the Washington Pass/Highway 20 Corridor and the Icicle Creek area. 

A whole range of benefits might result from improved data collection. We could see more resources to the agency to improve some recreation amenities, a better staffed permit administration, potential additional opportunities in select locations for outfitters/nonprofits, or addressing needs related to stewardship and conservation. Overall, better information will support continued recreation on USFS lands.

Submit your data

As an outdoor enthusiast, we encourage you to submit data about your experiences at recreation sites on Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington (essentially anything east of the Cascade crest from north of Mt. Rainier all the way to Canada).  On-site observations are especially valuable for understanding which recreation sites are meeting visitors’ needs, and which sites need improvements. 

At each recreation site you visit, you'll be asked to take a few moments to record:

  • date and time
  • trail name (and trail number if possible)
  • ranger district or area of the forest (eg Methow Valley or Wenatchee River)
  • number of vehicles in the parking lot (and overflow area if there is one)
  • status of signage, picnic facilities, fee box, restrooms, drinking water, trash, etc
  • road conditions
  • mobile phone reception
  • weather conditions
  • other relevant notes, especially related to unusually high or low visitation

For more information, view the data collection protocol.

You can submit data via two options:

  1. An online Visitor Count! Volunteer Data Entry Form where data can be entered in real time with your smart phone
  2. A printable data collection sheet (to print before traveling to sites with no cell phone service—this info can then be entered into the online form once back to cell service/internet)

We are happy to receive data from any trailhead or other recreation site on any day!

Questions?

Visit the Outdoor RD website.