MD: Savage Visitation Survey (June, 2001)

Posted: 07/09/2001
by Jason Robertson

Summary: American Whitewater conducted a non-scientific survey of paddlers at the 2001 Potomac Whitewater Festival in Great Falls. We found that 97% would plan on visiting the Savage River if there were reliably scheduled releases. Paddlers indicated that they would prefer a month's notice prior to the releases. Though 83% of the paddlers had heard of the Savage, only 26% had actually visited the river, and on average the last year of visit was 1995. 69% reported that the greatest deterrent from visiting the river was the lack of reliably scheduled releases. 48% reported that the second greatest deterrent was that there was no guarantee of releases from natural high water. Safety, whitewater difficulty, and travel distances were of minimal deterrence to the boaters.

Methodology: American Whitewater surveyed every paddler that attended the Potomac Whitewater Festival on June 2, 2001 between 6 pm and 8:30 pm. There were a total of 135 visitors, of these 131 were boaters; non-boaters were excluded from the count.

Results: 83% of respondents had heard of the Savage, and 26% had paddled the river. Those who had paddled the river before had visited an average of 8 times each, and on average their last visit was in 1995.

Of all respondents who had heard of the Savage, 69% reported that the greatest deterrent from visiting the river was the lack of reliably scheduled releases. 48% reported that the second greatest deterrent was that there was no guarantee of releases from natural high water. 5% felt that the whitewater was either too hard or too easy. 2% expressed concerns for safety. 15% simply live too far away. And 24% reported other concerns such as lack of time.

A stunning 97% of all 131 respondents reported that they would plan to visit if there were scheduled releases.

Respondents expressed a strong preference for scheduled summer releases, followed by spring and fall, and finally winter.

Respondents indicated that they would prefer a month's advance notice of releases, followed by three months, a year, a week, and finally a day.

19 States were represented, 66%were from Maryland, Virginia, or DC. Another 17% were from North Carolina, West Virginia, or Pennsylvania.

Savage River Survey Questions

1. What State are you from? ______

2. Have you heard of Maryland's Savage River? YES NO

2.a. Have you paddled the Savage? YES NO

2.a.i How many times? 1 2-5 6-10 10-20 20+
2.a.ii When was the last year you visited the River?
2.a.iii Estimate how much you spent on your trip:
2.a.iv How many people were with you on your trip?

2.b. What deters you from visiting the Savage (check all that apply)?

No reliable schedule of releases
No guarantees of releases during high water seasons or after rains
Too easy or too hard
Safety
Travel distance
Other

3. The Savage River is a Class III+ whitewater river in Western Maryland. It is known for having great play waves and holes, and was the site of the World Championships. In terms of difficulty and character it is often compared to the Lower Yough, yet has a reputation for having a higher concentration of excellent play spots. Knowing this, would you plan on visiting the Savage River if there were scheduled releases (like the Gauley, Ocoee, or Yough)? YES NO

4. Would you be more likely to visit the Savage if releases were scheduled during (rank in order 1=Most likely 4=Least Likely)?
__Spring __Summer __Fall __Winter

5. How much notice would you prefer for releases in order to plan a trip to the Savage (rank in order 1=Most preferable 5=Least preferable)?
__1 day __1 week __1 month __3 months __1 year

6. Comments:

Jason Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349