filed under: economics of trails
A summary of the study from a 2015 workshop.
The popularity of bicycling and the growth of bicycle tourism are well documented by several studies, including one by the Outdoor Industry Association that states that bicycling is second only to running and jogging as the most popular outdoor activity in America by frequency of participation for adults. Additional studies in states around the country have demonstrated that bicycle tourists are a growing market, generating hundreds of millions of dollars per year in realized or potential economic impact. The Erie Canalway Trail (ECT), New York's premier multi-use trail, and one of the nation's longest, has an abundance of everything this growing market of bicycle tourists seek: safe, off-road cycling between historic communities; scenic landscapes, historic sites, parks and other attractions; detailed maps and route descriptions; and cycling options ranging from day trips to week-long adventures. According to the economic impact study of the ECT published in 2014, these factors - along with the widespread name recognition of the Erie Canal - help the ECT to attract nearly 1.6 million annual visits and generate over $250 million in annual economic impact.
In order to help Canalway Trail communities capitalize on ECT tourism, Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the New York State Canal Corporation have conducted 13 Bicyclists Bring Business roundtables in communities across the state since 2006. In 2008 a Bicyclists Bring Business: A Guide for Attracting Bicyclists to New York's Canal Communities was produced by PTNY and the Canal Corporation to bring the message to an even wider audience. The goal of the roundtables and the guide is to help local businesses, elected officials, tourism professionals, and community members discover what services and amenities are important to bicyclists so that they can better attract and profit from the growing bicycle tourism market.
In 2012, a community Bike-a-Round the morning following the roundtable was added, a field component that enables program participants to experience their community's services and infrastructure from the perspective of a visiting cyclist.
Published September 2015
The future for outdoor recreation. To continue building a robust future for outdoor recreation, the outdoor sector needs investments in outdoor infrastructure, businesses that support collaboration and sustainable growth, a talent pipeline to build a skilled workforce, and marketing resources that ensure quality and equity.
San Jose is developing a 100 mile trail network! View the handout!
A trail need not be over 100 miles in length to become a travel destination. Plenty of people desire shorter trail experiences and are willing to design a trip around them just the same.
This study builds on previous NRPA research on the economic importance of local park and recreation agencies by exploring the role that quality park amenities play in 21st century regional economic development.