Do-It-Yourself Visitor Surveys for Parks, Trails, Heritage Sites and the Towns that Serve Them, June 10-24, 2021


Do-It-Yourself Visitor Surveys for Parks, Trails, Heritage Sites and the Towns that Serve Them, June 10-24, 2021

Early registration discounts through May 14, 2021. Super-early discounts end April 30.


Get a handle on how locals and visitors use trails and parks—and what that means for your community—without breaking the bank or tearing your hair out.

Visitor surveys can be a great tool for gathering information and generating insights that help you attract more visitors or encourage them to return, manage the visitors you already have, help local businesses generate more business from nearby trails, heritage sites and parks; plan and fine-tune programs; tweak your marketing; raise money and forge partnerships.

But no matter how low-budget, visitor surveys require investing resources that are precious to your organization like time, money, volunteer effort, relationships, and even your reputation. This course will help you make sure those investments pay off with a resource-efficient approach that yields reliable, high-impact information.

In this course, you will:

  • Learn how to create a survey plan that gives you the information you most need and fits your budget and other available resources.
  • Identify your target audiences and how to reach and collect data from them.
  • Learn whether, how and when to engage volunteers, partners and other community support.
  • Learn how to develop a questionnaire that works.
  • Review survey templates and models from other places.
  • Learn how to organize, analyze, and learn from your data.
  • Identify ways to use your findings to inform or promote action.


Recreation and open space program managers • Trail advocates and friends groups • Heritage site managers • Chambers of Commerce & business alliances • Community & economic development staff • Tourism promoters • Place-based & conservation organizations • Extension & community development professionals • High school and college students • Downtown & Main Street groups • Business owners & other community leaders


Michele Archie, Harbinger Consultancy principal and lead for collaborative regional economic analyses, economic impact projections, visitor and resident surveys, outdoor recreation assessments, and peer area reviews. Michele has led more than three dozen such studies for national and state parks, World Heritage Sites, trails and other recreational and protected areas across the United States. See Michele's LinkedIn profile.


Three one-hour live webinars

Thursdays June 10-24, 2021 + optional Q&A session July 8

12-1 p.m. PT/3-4 p.m. ET


Sessions available for replay in case you need to miss a session or want to review

Register by April 30 for a “super-early” registration discount for both the summer and fall sessions.

Summer session early registration discounts through May 14: $165 by April 30 • $185 by May 14 • $225 regular course fee

Fall session early registration discounts through June 3: $165 by April 30 • $185 by June 3 • $225 regular course fee

Group rate for multiple participants from the same organization or community: $150/person through early registration deadline, $195/person after



Session 1: Measure twice, cut once — Making a research plan that fits

  • Begin with the end in mind: what do you want to learn and why?
  • Target audiences and when, where and how to reach them
  • A realistic look at your resources: making the most of what you have
  • Outlining a data collection and promotion plan

Session 2: Be careful what you ask for — Developing a questionnaire 

  • Choosing a format(s)
  • Prioritizing questions
  • How to ask good questions
  • Questionnaire design
  • Templates and models

Session 3: Start making sense — Organizing and analyzing data

  • Compiling and cleaning up data
  • Analyzing data without pulling your hair out
  • Finding your findings: what did you learn?
  • Putting your findings to work