filed under: economics of trails

Assessment of the Effects of Mountain Biking

Marquette Michigan’s Ecotourism

The purpose of this co-learning plan was to identify the relationships that have added to the development of the sport of mountain biking as an ecotourism economy in the Marquette area.

Jordan2015 report noa11y

Mountain biking is an ecotourism activity that has been growing in popularity across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and particularly in the Marquette area. As interest in mountain biking has increased, a number of individuals and organizations have contributed in developing and expanding the trail systems in and around Marquette. Furthermore, Marquette was noted as one of America’s top mountain biking towns, indicating expansion of the industry (Butcher, 2013). Efforts in developing mountain biking has led Marquette to become named as one of ten ride centers that are internationally recognized by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). In July 2014, IMBA declared the trails in Marquette as a Bronze-level ride center, offering a wide range of trails that are suitable for every riding style. The new Bronze-level certification of the Marquette trails makes it an internationally known location where mountain bikers of all skill levels are welcome to ride.

Situated in Michigan’s remote Upper Peninsula, Marquette has a history of economic challenges. Individual income is currently dependent on the mining industry, the local hospital and the university, leaving this area with an unemployment rate greater than the national average and over 26% of the population with an annual income of $15,000 or less (Sterlings, 2014). Consider: These local economic challenges have the potential to be alleviated by the development of an ecotourism industry centered on the attractive national environment surrounding Marquette. Gaining a deeper perspective of how mountain biking has developed as an ecotourism industry in Marquette can lead to understanding how to sustain the sport as a contributor to the local economy. As well, understanding the process used to develop Marquette’s mountain biking industry can serve as a model for the development of ecotourism in other parts of Michigan.

Published June 2015

More Articles in this Category

Public Lands and the Continental Divide Trail Study

The primary goal of this study was to understand who uses the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), how they use it, their preferences, and the economic impact of the CDT in the region. Additional data were also collected regarding protecting public lands and using the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado.

2022 CDT Small Business Survey

From August to December 2021, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition surveyed 136 small business owners in 38 communities located along the Continental Divide Trail to learn more about how the Continental Divide Trail impacts their businesses, the local economy, and their support for public lands.

Impact of Trails Hub

Everything you need to know about the positive impact of trails on health, environment, economics, and more.

2022 CDT Small Business Survey

As a connector of landscapes, communities, and cultures, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) provides a setting for community members, decision makers, conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, and everyone connected to the lands and waters of the Divide, to come together to discuss how to steward the vital natural, cultural, and historic resources found across its entirety. With this report, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition hopes to highlight the role of the cooperative stewardship model in the management of the CDT, what we accomplished in 2021, and what we are looking forward to in 2022.