North Inlet - Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Research to gather visitor use data to inform visitor management at North Inlet - Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
The overall purpose of this project is to provide the information and data necessary for the staff at North Inlet - Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NI-WB) to manage visitor use. The results from this study will enable the staff to find the balance between enhancing the visitor experience and protecting NI-WB’s natural and cultural resources when making management decisions. In addition, it will assist in developing an effective communication approach that considers visitors’ perceptions. Finally, the results will enable staff to track future changes in visitation and adjust accordingly.
The purpose of this project is to generate and interpret empirical data that determines and evaluates:
- General visitors’ perceptions about the reserve experience and important aspects of the experience that contribute to, or detract from, the quality of a visit, including perceived benefits;
- Important visitor use indicators that may help achieve desired visitor use conditions, segmented by activity groups;
- Visitors’ knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions, including but not limited to visitors’ environmental and conservation values, motivations for visiting, climate change perceptions, and knowledge of environmentally friendly and appropriate outdoor recreation;
- Visitor use estimations and distributions at popular areas within the reserve and access points;
- Important visitor use monitoring approaches that the reserve or a cooperator can implement to evaluate future trends.
The results of this project will provide information for reserve staff to assist in 1) planning related to visitor use, including development of a management plan when applicable, 2) enhancing the visitor experience while protecting important natural and cultural resources, 3) developing an effective communication approach that considers visitors’ perceptions, and 4) tracking future changes in visitation.