Parks and trails throughout Minnesota are seeing record-breaking numbers this year. While COVID shutdowns caused a slow start to the season, once restrictions were lifted, people flocked to the outdoors to enjoy parks, trails, camping, beaches and all the amazing offerings available throughout our system. But where are all of these visitors coming from? Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails (GMPT) is teaming up with Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) to gather visitation numbers and visitor origin for our regional parks and trails.
Why is this information important?
With this information we can begin to develop data to support our need for a more equal split of the Parks and Trails Legacy funding. We can prove that our parks and trails are in fact “regional” and that we draw visitors from the metro area, Greater Minnesota, other states and out of the country. Parks, trails, campgrounds and the like provide a huge economic boost to Minnesota’s economy, and that impact is not limited to our State Parks and the metro regional parks — Greater Minnesota is an economic force as well.
How we will collect this data?
GMPT will send a visitor count survey (see link below) to our members in October and April to gather your park visitor counts and origin for the previous six months. Does your parks system only collect limited park visitor information? That’s OK! We are looking for any numbers and information you may have that can help provide accurate data. Maybe you only gather information for your campgrounds or rentals while others already have a comprehensive tally of visitor numbers and origin. We are interested in any information you are capable of giving. For some of you, it may be time to enlist your volunteers to help go through data and compile the numbers, or you may want to begin planning for how to acquire this information in the future.
Fill out this survey!
Our first-ever Visitor Count Survey can be found here: bit.ly/ParkVisitorsSurvey. Please feel free to provide feedback so we can continue to make this biannual document more comprehensive and user friendly.
Please complete the survey by Monday, November 30. Our GMPT board and Communications Committee will then work to compile and present the information to our membership.
Thank you for your dedication and help with this very important task!