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Economic impacts of trails and greenways
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Economic Benefits of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation to Arizona

From Statewide Motorized and Nonmotorized Trails Plan, November 2004

From Arizona State Parks

Map of Arizona

Whether one enjoys exploring Arizona's backcountry driving a truck, dirt bike or quad, or one prefers using their own muscle power to hike the trails, the following information may be of interest. Arizona State University conducted a yearlong economic study of recreational off-highway vehicle use in Arizona in 2002, completing 15,000 telephone surveys and 1,269 mail questionnaires from randomly selected Arizona households.

The study findings show the total economic impact (direct and indirect) to Arizona from recreational OHV use is more than $4 billion annually. OHV recreation activities provide an economic contribution to the State and its 15 counties mainly through direct expenditures for motorized vehicles, tow trailers, related equipment, accessories, insurance and maintenance costs.

Percent of Direct OHV Expenditures is $3.1 Billion:

  • Trip Expenditures 28%
  • Vehicle Expenditures 34%
  • Equipment Expenditures 38%

Additionally, an economic benefit is generated when OHV recreationists spend money in local communities close to areas they recreate in for recreational trip items such as gasoline, food, lodging and souvenirs. These direct purchases provide indirect benefits by helping to pay for many people's salaries and wages, and contributing to local and State tax revenues.

In 2002, Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation in Arizona:

  • Created a statewide economic impact of $4.25 billion
  • Generated over $3 billion in retail sales (trip expenditures, $842.3 million; vehicle expenditures, $1,035.2 million; equipment expenditures, $1,178.2 million)
  • Added $187 million to annual State tax revenues
  • Created household income (salaries and wages) for Arizona residents totaling $1.1 billion
  • Supported 36,591 jobs in Arizona
  • Was participated in by 455,453 households or 1.1 million people, which accounts for 21% of Arizona's population
  • Accounted for 12.2 million OHV Recreation Days in Arizona and an additional 1.8 million days in adjacent states and countries

The number of OHV households was determined by positive phone survey responses to three specific questions:

  1. Do you own an OHV?;
  2. Do you drive it off-highway?; and
  3. Do you use it for recreation?

Totals for vehicle and equipment purchases were factored (reduced) by the percentage owners said their vehicles were used for OHV recreation, not total vehicle cost. The economic model (IMPLAN) used to generate the direct/indirect estimates is more conservative than other frequently used models. Expenditures by OHV visitors to Arizona were not included.

These numbers show that off-highway vehicle recreation is participated in by many more people than just those core users recreating with dirt bikes, ATVs or snowmobiles. The majority of outdoor recreationists use many types of motorized vehicles, such as sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, to reach their destination and enjoy driving the backroads in their vehicles to sightsee along the way.

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