The Pacific Rim National Park has altered their upcoming survey plan and will not be stopping traffic along the Pacific Rim Highway this summer.
During last weekâ€™s Tofino council meeting, Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne said Pacific Rim National Park staff would be standing at both ends of the Park along the Pacific Rim Highway and stopping each driver to tell them about the survey from June-August.
â€œI know this is inconvenient for local residents but the survey provides a lot of really valuable data about where people are visiting from why theyâ€™ve come here and what theyâ€™re doing while theyâ€™re here,â€ Osborne said.
â€œAnything we can we can do to help local residents understand that a small inconvenience is worth the data being collected is, I think, a good thing.â€
An earlier Tofino council report published by the Westerly News on Tuesday evoked strong reaction online as readers expressed frustration that the Parkâ€™s surveys would slow their highway commute.
The Parkâ€™s strategy has since been altered and the surveys will be conducted in key areas within the park to avoid disrupting highway traffic.
â€œThis will cause less disruption to the area and we think we can make it as effective as long as we are able to reach a significant number of visitors,â€ said Parks Canada communications officer Laura Judson.
She said highway stops were never cemented in the surveyâ€™s planning to begin with.
â€œAs we were thinking it through, we thought this was another approach we could do that would cause less disruption,â€ she said.
The Parkâ€™s surveys will collect information about visitor demographics like the ages of visitors, where theyâ€™re visiting from and the activities they participate in while theyâ€™re here.
More detailed information is collected from mailed out surveys to willing participants.
Pacific Rim National Park superintendent Jim Morgan said the Parkâ€™s visitor surveys are a key tool to measure the Parkâ€™s performance and better serve visitors.
â€œBy speaking with approximately 2000 visitors, we get a sense of who visits the park and what they are hoping to experience,â€ he said.
â€œWe also find out how well we are meeting visitor expectations. This insight is a guiding factor as we strive to improve park services and facilities for visitors. If we can better meet our visitor’s needs, they are more likely to return or recommend the park to others. Both Tofino and Ucluelet can benefit from a stronger regional tourism offer and more visitors.â€