Park visitation up

Katherine Hudson
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Survey results shine light on Gros Morne development

The first glimpses of a recent visitor survey of Gros Morne National Park have been released by Parks Canada.

The park underwent a similar survey in the summer of 2004 which answered questions such as who was visiting the park and what they were spending while there.

Rocky Harbour -

The first glimpses of a recent visitor survey of Gros Morne National Park have been released by Parks Canada.

The park underwent a similar survey in the summer of 2004 which answered questions such as who was visiting the park and what they were spending while there.

The updated visitor survey was prepared throughout the summer of 2009 and stated Gros Morne experienced 174,000 visitors, up 16,000 from 2004. The people visiting last summer invested $37.6 million in the area, which is an increase of $2.3 million from five years ago.

The results, in turn, will be transmitted to actual practice through developing new programs and investing funds into different areas of the region.

Communications officer for Parks Canada in western Newfoundland, Kate Power, said the development, analysis and follow-through of the extensive surveys is extremely beneficial to the park, presenting information about where further work is needed.

"We find out how many visitors are coming to the region, what their satisfaction is, what they do here, how long they're staying, how much money they're spending, what sorts of things interest them. It's really almost like a census," she said.

"The surveys help us fine-tune our programs, the types of activities we offer, what people were happy with, areas for improvement. All those sorts of things were all built into the survey so we can plan how to act on them," said Power.

The survey taken in 2004 stated that half of the people who visited Gros Morne, continued to travel north of the park and spent an additional $12.5 million.

In a recent news release, Parks Canada said it is expecting to see a similar trend come out of the 2009 visitor survey.

Parks Canada is using $3.5 million from the federal Economic Action Plan to improve L'Anse aux Meadows and Port au Choix National Historic Sites. This will "contribute to the economic sustainability of the communities surrounding these nationally significant treasures," said Parks Canada in the release.

The park is waiting on the finalized results of the most recent visitor survey to have a better understanding of future planning, upgrading of sites and initiating new programs.

Organizations: Parks Canada

Geographic location: Rocky Harbour, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland L'Anse

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