A recent surveying effort has revealed that hiking is the top reason most visitors come to Inyo County, second only to sightseeing.
Mount Whitney, of course, is Inyo’s most popular destination.
The majority of those surveyed said they enjoyed their visit to the area and there was very little that needed to be changed to make the experience better.
The surveys also revealed that most visitors would not change their plans if the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository was in operation.
The data is a compilation of three separate surveys, one by the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center, located in Lone Pine, and two conducted by Death Valley National Park.
All three gathered demographic information, but the questions asked by the park concentrated on “ascertaining behavioral changes likely to be induced by the operation of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.” The ESIVC survey was meant “to gain a broader perspective on the makeup of visitors to Inyo County and the purpose of their trips to the county.”
The data revealed that most visitors to the area are well educated, from Southern California, and planned on spending more than one night and would not change much about their trip other than to ask for better weather.
And at least 50 percent of respondents said they gathered most of the information of their current trip through the Internet.
The percentages of what people are doing when they come to visit break down to the following: 65 percent hike; 48 percent are sightseeing; 32 percent were going camping; 14 percent planned on going fishing; and 17 percent were visiting family and friends in the area. Many of those questioned planned on doing more than one activity.
When asked what, if anything, could be done to make their visit more enjoyable, only 22 percent of respondents provided an answer. And, those who did respond mentioned many factors that are beyond the county’s control. Most cited better preparation on their part, or improved weather, as factors that would make for a better trip. Only 13 percent of the respondents said they’d like to see better restrooms or signage.
The questions asked by the park were, “Have you heard or read anything about the possibility of a nuclear waste repository to be located at Yucca Mountain near Las Vegas?” and “If a nuclear waste repository were currently located at the Yucca Mountain site, would you have altered your present trip’s plans?”
Of those asked, only 37 percent were aware of such a repository in the works and more than half of respondents, between 57 and 67 percent, said they would not alter their plans if a nuclear waste dump was in operation. Only 9 percent said they would have changed plans because of Yucca Mountain.
The surveys were conducted in April and July.