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Contact: Lisa Myers, 231-326-5134
Where do all the tourists come from? How much do they spend when they are here? Where do they spend it; in Traverse City, or in Leelanau and Benzie Counties? How did so many people find out about this beach? If you have ever wondered these things, the National Park Service invites you to a presentation on the results of an intensive visitor survey that was conducted at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in July 2008. On Monday, April 19 at 3:00 p.m. at the Visitor Center in Empire, researchers from the University of Idaho’s Park Studies Unit will discuss the answers to these and many other questions about visitors to Sleeping Bear Dunes.
From July 12-21, 2008, National Lakeshore staff, volunteers, and university researchers distributed 1,158 surveys at 11 different locations throughout the park and at different times of the day. Visitors were asked if they would be interested in filling out a pre-stamped, 16-page survey that they would drop in the mail back to the University of Idaho. The questionnaire included questions about who they are, where they come from, where they go, what they do, how long they stay, and how much they spend while visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
From nearly 700 questionnaires that were returned, the University of Idaho reports that 98% of the park’s visitors were from the U.S. and 57% of those were from Michigan. Forty-seven percent of the visitors were here for their first time, while 25% had visited six times or more. The most common park attractions visited by the respondents were the Dune Climb (61%) and the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (56%). The average group expenditure in the park and the surrounding area (within a one-hour drive) was $702, with about $300 of that spent on lodging and about $120 in restaurants and bars. These are just some of the results of the survey.
For more information and in-depth analysis, please join us at the presentation. Once the report is published, the results will be posted on the park’s website. Further questions may be directed to Lisa Myers, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, at 231-326-5134.