The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program asks for feedback from visitors and residents every five years through a survey. Results from 2011 show that natural areas are popular and well-liked. Questions focused on respondents’ familiarity with natural areas, their visitation habits, how good/poor of a job the Natural Areas Program is doing, and perceptions about natural areas’ contributions to the community. The full survey report is available at www.fcgov.com/naturalareas
The survey found that 80% of respondents had visited a natural area in the past year. When asked how good or poor of a job the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program is doing, 90% of the respondents said good, very good or excellent. Residents most appreciate the fact that natural areas exist, their aesthetic beauty and their nearby accessibility. Positive ratings were given by 97% of respondents when asked about facilities overall with trails and trailheads getting the highest marks.
Almost 80% felt that recreation opportunities in natural areas contributed a great extent to the community. Wellness, overall quality of life, habitat and economic vitality were also mentioned as ways natural areas greatly contribute to the community.
Hiking, biking and dog walking were the most often cited recreational activities. Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space, Prospect Ponds Natural Area and Coyote Ridge Natural Area were the most visited sites. Most people stayed at a natural area for two hours or less and arrived by car. Crowding was not an issue for the great majority of respondents. When asked about one change that could be made to the natural areas, improving services/facilities and increasing awareness of natural areas were most often mentioned.
The survey was mailed to 1,600 randomly selected households in Fort Collins and Larimer County, 414 surveys were completed for a 26% response rate.
Natural Areas Program staff use results of the survey to monitor trends and continually improve their work.
The full survey report can be found at www.fcgov.com/naturalareas