Economic and Health Benefits of Walking, Hiking, and Bicycling on Recreational Trails in Washington State

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.

by Washington Recreation and Conservation Office, RCFB Grants Section Manager



Hiking, Biking, and Walking Report Executive Summary It is time to think about trails as more than a privilege we enjoy from time to time, and to begin to understand the extent of monetary, health and environmental benefits trail systems provide Washington state. The analysis on the benefits of trails facilitated by the Recreation and Conservation Office clearly demonstrates that trails are strong economic and health improvement drivers for every corner of Washington.

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 with each legislative district benefiting from between 2.1 and 27.2 million visits to their trails each year.

Studies Referenced in the Executive Summary:

Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits of Recreational Trails in Washington State

This report evaluates the economic, environmental, and social benefits of outdoor recreation activities associated with trails and their nexus with the economy of Washington.

Health Benefits of Contact with Nature

A Literature Review Prepared By Sara Perrins and Dr. Gregory Bratman of the University of Washington for the Recreation and Conservation Office.

Published January 01, 2020

About the Author


The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) is a small state agency that manages grant programs to create outdoor recreation opportunities, protect the best of the state’s wildlife habitat and working farms and forests, and help return salmon from near extinction.

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