Merced River Trail Community Benefits Study

The purpose of this report is to describe the economic, quality of life, public health, and other benefits that Mariposa County and its residents are likely to enjoy from the Merced River Trail based on research and experiences of communities with similar projects.

by Headwaters Economics

The Merced River Trail is a proposed recreational resource along the historic Yosemite Valley Railroad (YVRR) grade on the northern banks of the Merced River. The primary emphasis is on a nearly 40-mile segment of trail located entirely within Mariposa County, almost all of which is adjacent to a reach of river that has been designated Wild and Scenic by the federal government. Future trail segments will establish regional nonmotorized connections at the YVRR’s historic downstream terminus in Merced. Nearly 17 miles of the trail are managed for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Other sections require restoration to clear landslides and improve trail accessibility.

The purpose of this report is to describe the economic, quality of life, public health, and other benefits that Mariposa County and its residents are likely to enjoy from the Merced River Trail based on research and experiences of communities with similar projects.

Attached document published June 2020

About the Author


Headwaters Economics is an independent, nonprofit research group that works to improve community development and land management decisions. We inform community decision-making and identify practical solutions by making complex data understandable, beautiful, and interactive, helping develop solutions to some of the most urgent and important issues that communities face.

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