filed under: economics of trails
This report evaluates the economic, environmental, and social benefits of outdoor recreation activities associated with trails and their nexus with the economy of Washington.
by Washington Recreation and Conservation Office, RCFB Grants Section Manager
Washington State is home to unparalleled natural resourcesranging from extensive coastlines, snow-peaked mountains,and arid river valleys. Through investments in well-maintainedtrail networks supported by the state, the federal government,tribes, local communities, non-profits, volunteers, andother organizations, these resources provide recreationalopportunities to millions of residents and visitors. In total,residents and visitors spend approximately 292 million days peryear on recreational trails to walk, run, hike, bike, or backpack.
Residents are avid trail users, spending an average of 38 to42 days per person per year participating in non-motorizedrecreational trail use. These activities create economic benefitson multiple dimensions. Trail users contribute over $8.2 billionto Washington’s economy and support over 81,000 jobs everyyear. Physical activity associated with trail use results in over$390 million of health savings per year. In addition to thesemarket values, the trails themselves and the ecological theyprovide are highly valued, providing Washingtonians withover $8.5 billion in recreational-use value and $5.9 billion inecosystem services each year.
This report evaluates the economic, environmental, andsocial benefits of outdoor recreation activities associatedwith trails and their nexus with the economy of Washington.We define these trail-based activities to include walking,running, hiking, biking, and backpacking on paved andunpaved trails in Washington — motorized and equestrianrecreational uses are not included in this analysis.This study is focused on three central questions:
How are the trails used by residents and non-residents?
What is the economic contribution of the spendingassociated with trail-based recreation?
What are the health, social, and environmental benefitsderived from trail landscapes and their use?
Published January 2019
National Park Service − Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program
This publication is designed to inform the reader about the services provided by the National Park Service – Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.
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.
Improving Accessibility on Public Lands
Recommendations from American Trails