Visitor statistics reaffirm role industry plays in Castle Valley
In a report presented to the Carbon County Restaurant Tax Board on Oct. 9, visitation to the area is slightly down from last year. But a newly implemented survey will help officials make a better determination about how services are being used in the next year or so.
"We started to do some surveys on spending patterns with visitors over Labor Day weekend," stated Roseanne Fillmore, who works as the partnership coordinator for the United States Forest Service with the Castle Country Regional Information Center. "It wasn't a big sample, and we are only just beginning, but it was a good pilot project."
The surveys provided informative beginning numbers, including figures showing that some things could be done to get people to stay longer and spend more money on lodging as well as meals in the Castle Valley area.
One of the interesting statistics, despite the small scale of the sample, indicated that 92 percent of the people surveyed said information provided by College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum drew them to stay a little longer in the area.
There were also positive comments from survey respondents about the hospitality and helpfulness of local residents.
"All of this is just preliminary - a starting point," said Fillmore on Monday. "We want to conduct these surveys through the end of next year. Then we will have some solid numbers to work with."
According to Fillmore, the most visited museum in the area for the first three quarters of 2003 was CEU's facility.
Total numbers for the period showed that 27,474 people had visited the Price museum through the end of September.
The figure compares to 29,149 visitors reported during the same time period last year.
April and May were the only months when the number of visitors exceeded the totals reported in 2002.
April was particularly good, with 3,956 people visiting compared to 2,956 in 2002.
The worst decrease came in June, when only 3,458 people visited compared with 4,537 the year before.
The total visitation reported at the CEU museum's information center during 2002 registered at 34,888.
The center also kept statistics on where people come from.
More than 46 countries were represented in the 2002 prehistoric museum figures, with the most visitors coming from Canada, Mexico, Japan, England and Germany.
Every state in the union was also represented in the prehistoric museum's visitor data.
At the end of last year, the information center recorded that 18 percent of the visitors had come from locations in the Emery-Carbon area, 38 percent came from other counties in Utah, 39 percent came from other states and that five percent of the people touring the museums were from foreign countries.
The next largest venue visited was the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River, despite the fact that museum is located right next to Interstate 70.
The total 2002 visitation at the Powell museum registered at 21,246. The highest number of visitors coming in the month of June.
The Helper Western Mining and Railroad Museum came in third with 6,405 visitors for the year. The Helper museum's best month occurred in May with 1,065 people showing up at the facility.
Other venues that statistics were recorded included the Museum of the San Rafael in Castle Dale, with 4,697 visitors, the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, with 4,595; and the Pioneer Museum in Castle Dale, with 2,046.
Topping the list of numbers of visitors for a state park, Scofield brought in 99,167 people. The best month reported at Scofield was July, when 22,558 people came to the reservoir.
Green River State Park also broke the 90,000 mark with 92,578 visitors.
Other state parks visitation included Goblin Valley, with 70,804 visitors; Huntington, with 48,682; and Millsite, with 23,428.