A survey available starting Tuesday is expected to help community leaders better understand residents and their recreation habits in Madera County.
The study seeks to understand what people in the eastern and western parts of Madera County want in terms of goods and activities.
North Fork Chamber of Commerce President Scott Marsh said the survey is a good start to bringing the discussion home to the "dinner table."
"They can talk about how their shopping habits contribute or not contribute to our county's overall economic and employment picture," he said.
The survey was developed by the North Fork Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Fresno State University and the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council.
Madera County residents and business owners can complete it online at: tinyurl.com/MaderaSurvey. It launches Tuesday and closes Oct. 31.
Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler is encouraging participation.
"Anyone living in Madera County can help us out by providing feedback," said Wheeler, also the president of the Resource Conservation and Development District. "Completing a survey takes about three to five minutes, it doesn't cost respondents a dime, and personal information will not be collected."
Data collected will allow chambers, businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to better see the demands of eastern Madera County communities, while providing a "snapshot of our progress towards building economically sustainable communities," said Brittany Dyer, program development manager for the Resource Conservation and Development Council.
The survey's creators said historically, eastern Madera County depended on industries focused on natural resources, like logging, as the primary economic driver. But with the disappearance of those industries, there was a "vacuum effect," leaving recreation and leisure-based activities as the keys to economic revitalization.
North Fork Chamber of Commerce manager Neil O'Brien, who spearheaded the survey project, said the seasonal nature of the tourism industry calls for an analysis to help the viability of small-town mountain economies.
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