Almost three times as many Coloradans visit Canyonlands National Park as do Utahns. At least in the spring.
According to a survey conducted in May by the University of Idaho at the Island in the Sky and Needles visitors centers, 29 percent came from Colorado, followed by California (15 percent) and Utah (11 percent).Foreign visitors also constituted 11 percent of the visitors to Canyonlands, most of them coming from Canada, Germany and Switzerland.
Park records indicate 282,043 people visited Canyonlands National Park in 1990.
"The survey needs to be taken with a grain of salt because it does represent a single survey during the spring," said Larry Frederick, chief on interpretation for Canyonlands. "We are encouraging park managers to exercise caution with survey results from a single sample that represents spring visitation only."
To be more accurate, Frederick said, the National Park Service should conduct a survey during a summer month and another one in the fall and then combine the results of all three surveys into one.
There are currently no funds for additional surveys, he added.
The University of Idaho survey revealed that 43 percent of the visitors spent less than one day at the park and 65 percent hiked for less than four hours. Family groups constituted 53 percent of the visitors, though children were underrepresented because school was still in session, Frederick said.
Of those who reported their expenses, the average per-person expenditure was $46 per day, 32 percent of which went for food.
The most important features to visitors during their visit to Canyonlands are scenic views, clean air, wilderness and solitude. Visitors most enjoyed learning about geology, history and archaeology.
The survey, conducted between May 10 and May 16, was paid for by the National Park Service and the Canyonlands Natural History Association. Visitors were asked to complete a questionnaire and mail it to the University of Idaho after their visit.
Almost 400 surveys were completed for an 88 percent response rate.
The survey is one of many completed or planned for other National Parks, including Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Mesa Verde National Park. The survey results will help individual park managers assess visitor needs and attitudes towards the parks.
The survey asked questions on visitors' travel plans, recreational activities, length of stay, recommendations for future planning, concessions and the usefulness of park signs, brochures and programs.