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 16, 2015
Every county in Washington State benefits from walkers, runners, bikers, and backpackers using our beautiful trail systems. Ninety percent of Washington residents participate in non-motorized recreation annually.
This report evaluates the economic, environmental, and social benefits of outdoor recreation activities associated with trails and their nexus with the economy of Washington.
Trails contribute more than $8.2 billion to Washington state's economy, according to companion studies released by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.
A 2019 Purdue Road School presentation asking, do trails offer a direct economic benefit?