Preliminary Findings from Visitor Surveys in 2021

Working with Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars, the ODFW Marine Reserves Program recently completed a new survey of visitors that focused on marine reserve awareness, knowledge, and support, and how the reserves are related to visitors’ travel decisions. A total of 1,526 visitors completed the new survey, which was conducted this summer at shoreside locations along at Cape Perpetua, Otter Rock, Cascade Head and Cape Falcon marine reserve sites.

We have conducted visitor surveys since 2010, and our earlier series of studies provided us with baseline information on visitors’ knowledge and perceptions of the reserves just as the reserves were first implemented. Now, the new study will allow us to compare our 2021 visitors’ knowledge and perceptions of the reserves with those previous visitor surveys.

Awareness Has Been Gradually Increasing Over the Years

We’re still in the process of analyzing the new data and writing a report, but we have a few key takeaways from the new study. First, there was remarkable consistency in visitor characteristics from the baseline studies to the comparative study. Most visitors were from Oregon and adjoining states. Most were repeat visitors. While the visitors were supportive of the idea of marine reserves, few thought they were very knowledgeable about the reserves. And awareness that they are currently visiting one of Oregon’s marine reserve sites has gradually increased over the years.