Photo above: A couple of people taking the intercept survey at a wayside near Cape Perpetua.
The Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve and associated Marine Protected Areas are centrally located on the Oregon coast and enjoyed by both locals and tourists. Local NGOs, tribes, and state and federal agencies with an interest in the Cape Perpetua area have formed the Cape Perpetua Collaborative with the vision to “foster conservation and collaboration within local communities for scientific exchange, management, awareness, and stewardship from the land to the sea in and around Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve”. To better serve the visitors to Cape Perpetua and the communities surrounding the reserve, the Cape Perpetua Collaborative worked with Surfrider Foundation and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to lead a two-year effort to better understand Cape Perpetua visitors.
Understanding Cape Perpetua visitors is useful for local community organizations serving these visitors. The main objectives of this survey were to better understand Cape Perpetua visitors’ marine reserve awareness and knowledge, demographics and characteristics, and tourism decisions and opinions. The Cape Perpetua Collaborative can share this information with local communities to increase their understanding of benefits visitors receive from their visit to Cape Perpetua and to improve tourism opportunities based on visitor demographics and desires. Additionally, the Cape Perpetua Collaborative can use this information to improve public outreach and engagement through better informed and targeted efforts.and results.
The survey was distributed for two years from November 2017 through November 2019 at five sites near Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve. Survey distribution followed a visitor intercept method and was randomized by time of day, day of the week, and sampling site order. The survey instrument was designed for comparability with previous surveys along the Oregon coast.
A total of 919 surveys were completed, 8% of which were coastal residents, 33% non-coastal Oregon residents, and 59% non-Oregon residents. Survey respondents were analyzed as a whole and also dis-aggregated into coastal residents, non-coastal Oregon residents, and non-Oregon residents for analyses.
Through this two-year intercept survey of Cape Perpetua visitors, we were able to capture the first comprehensive understanding of Cape Perpetua visitors’ marine reserve awareness, demographics, trip characteristics and opinions.
DEMOGRAPHICS & VALUES
Considering all respondents, 41% of respondents were Oregon residents, 8% were from Washington, 7% were from California, and 12% were international visitors (Figure 2). The largest proportion of international visitors were from Canada (5%).
The average respondent age was 50 years and the average level of education was 17 years. More than half of the respondents were female (57%), with 43% being male and 1% being non-binary. On average, respondents leaned toward the protectionist side of the protection – use continuum when asked about their level of agreement with statements regarding the protection or use of marine resources.
VISITATION TO THE CAPE PERPETUA AREA
Frequency of visitation to Cape Perpetua
Primary activity visitors participate in when visiting Cape Perpetua
Nearly three-quarters of all respondents (73%) reported health benefits resulting from their visit to Cape Perpetua. This number was highest for coastal residents (91%) and lowest for non-Oregon residents (66%).
Respondents primarily used family and friends and the internet to obtain information about the Cape Perpetua area. Coastal residents were more likely to also use science education (19%) and social media sources (17%) to obtain information; however, they were least likely to use the internet (33%). Non-Oregon residents were least likely to use family and friends (34%) or social media (8%) to obtain information.
The majority of respondents (59%) would prefer to obtain information about Cape Perpetua from the internet (Table 8). Nearly one-quarter of coastal residents would prefer to obtain information via social media, but this proportion was lower for non-coastal Oregon residents (11%) and non-Oregon residents (7%).
MARINE RESERVE AWARENESS
Approximately two-thirds of all coastal and non-coastal Oregon respondents indicated they had visited an Oregon marine reserve. This number was much lower for non-Oregon residents (31%).
Approximately half of all coastal residents (53%) and non-coastal Oregon residents (49%) were aware that Cape Perpetua was a marine reserve, compared to 28% for non-Oregon residents.
TRIP CHARACTERISTICS AND EXPENDITURES
Approximately three-quarters of all respondents (76%) were staying overnight on the Oregon coast during their trip. This number was highest for non-Oregon residents (84%). On average, respondents stayed 4 nights on the Oregon coast. By group, non-coastal Oregon residents stayed an average of 3 nights while non-Oregon residents stayed an average of 5 nights.
Newport (22%), Yachats (29%), and Florence (25%) hosted the largest proportion of all respondents. More non-coastal Oregon respondents stayed in Yachats than non-Oregon respondents (40% vs 26%) while fewer non-coastal Oregon respondents stayed in Newport than non-Oregon respondents (15% vs 26%).
Over half of all respondents indicated they spent money on groceries (67%), lodging (64%), restaurants (79%), and fuel (71%).
YACHATS SERVICES & SATISFACTION
The same proportion of coastal residents and non-coastal Oregon residents (62%) visited Yachats during their trip to the Oregon coast. Comparatively, only 51% of non-Oregon residents visited Yachats during their trip.
MODELING VARIABLES that predict marine reserve awareness, perceived marine reserve knowledge, and visitation to Yachats
The best models for predicting both marine reserve awareness and perceived marine reserve knowledge included the variables frequency of visitation to Cape Perpetua and the respondent indicating if they had visited an Oregon marine reserve. Respondents that had visited Cape Perpetua more frequently were more likely to be aware of Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve and perceive their marine reserve knowledge levels as higher than those that had visited Cape Perpetua less frequently (p < 0.001 for marine reserve awareness model and p = 0.03 for perceived marine reserve knowledge model).
The best predictor of whether a respondent had visited Yachats was their place of residence. Residence denotes whether a respondent is a coastal Oregonian, non-coastal Oregonian, or non-Oregonian. Non-coastal Oregonians were significantly more likely to visit Yachats during their trip to the Oregon coast than non-Oregonians. There were no significant differences in Yachats visitation between coastal Oregonians and non-Oregonians or between coastal Oregonians and non-coastal Oregonians.
SEASONAL DIFFERENCES between survey responses
Significantly more Oregonians were surveyed in the non-summer months (72%) than in the summer months (28%, p < 0.001). This trend holds true when breaking the Oregonian group into coastal Oregon residents and non-coastal Oregon residents. Significantly more coastal Oregon residents and non-coastal Oregon residents were surveyed in the non-summer months (79% and 68%, respectively) than in the summer months (21% and 32%, respectively, p < 0.001).
More respondents in the summer months were visiting Cape Perpetua for the first time. In the non-summer months, 23% of respondents had visited Cape Perpetua at least ten times previously, while this number was only 15% for respondents in the summer months.
This survey has provided extensive information on Cape Perpetua visitors from all seasons. Now that we know marine reserve awareness is increasing with approximately half of Oregonian visitors being aware of Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve, we can begin to assess whether the marine reserve is influencing visitors’ trip decisions. One way we may approach this is by including a question on future surveys asking the respondent’s trip motive (i.e. their reason for visiting Cape Perpetua) and providing a variety of options for the respondent to select including “to visit a marine reserve.”
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Learn more about comparisons with previous surveys and dig in to the methodology and results.