Prepared by Christiaan Abildso, Jessica Coffman, and Thomas Bias
This report summarizes a study of the business impact of the Mon River Trails System. A network of 48 miles of trails in north central West Virginia that has been in operation in‐whole or in‐part since 1998.
The findings from our work are applicable for many audiences, including trail advocates, elected officials, economic development entities, and business owners with trail usage patterns and sociodemographic profile that are like the MRTS and the surrounding area in two ways. First, the MRTS is a local transportation and recreation hub, not a tourism‐driven trail. Second, the geographic area of study is a densely populated rural core city with a well‐educated population and predominantly white‐collar employment.
A key lesson from our work is that trail development can be a double‐edged sword ‐ it has economic benefits to localities and businesses, but can cause such demand that it creates a barrier to trail‐oriented development, especially for small businesses. A locality should not ask “if” a trail will bring economic activity, rather it should plan for “how much” and “what type” of economic activity a trail will bring.
Published April 04, 2017
Whether hiking, bicycling, riding on horseback or participating in motorized recreation nearly everyone uses trails for a similar goal – to spend time outdoors. This time outside, whether a short walk down a paved trail to work in an urban setting, or a hike to a point reachable to only a few Americans makes trail users happier people.
South Dakota’s snowmobile trail system is maintained without any contribution from general fund dollars, but brings substantial economic activity into the state. This study estimates the magnitude of that economic activity and its effect on the overall state economy.
Snowmobiling provides a major recreational opportunity in Idaho given the State’s climatic conditions and mountainous terrain. In addition to the enjoyment provided by snowmobiling, it generates significant impacts in terms of employment and economic activity in many counties and for the State as a whole. In order to estimate the economic importance of snowmobiling in Idaho, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) contracted with the Department of Economics at Boise State University (BSU) to perform this study of snowmobiling on a county by- county basis and statewide.
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research’s most recent surveys suggest that about 8 percent of the state's households include snowmobile recreationists. Nearly always, the whole family participates. With an average household size of about 2.5, perhaps as many as 100,000 Montanans participate in the sport each winter.