filed under: economics of trails

The Future of the Outdoor Recreation Economy - Headwaters Economics

The future for outdoor recreation. To continue building a robust future for outdoor recreation, the outdoor sector needs investments in outdoor infrastructure, businesses that support collaboration and sustainable growth, a talent pipeline to build a skilled workforce, and marketing resources that ensure quality and equity.

by Headwaters Economics

2021 HE SOBAN Report

Outdoor business alliances across the country—from Alaska to New Mexico, North Carolina to Maine, Michigan to Idaho—have joined forces to elevate the
vital importance of a thriving outdoor industry.

The State Outdoor Business Alliance Network (SOBAN) strives to strengthen America’s outdoor recreation economy in ways that leverage the interlinked potential of commerce, infrastructure, and participation.

SOBAN focuses on what can best be accomplished together through collaboration on policy and advocacy, research and branding, leadership and partnerships, and sector development. Outdoor business alliances share knowledge, opportunities, and best practices, working alongside national industry partners and state offices of outdoor recreation.

SOBAN’s vision for America’s outdoor recreation economy includes robust businesses, thriving outdoor places, and equitable outdoor recreation opportunities for all people. SOBAN prepared this report to inspire pathways for the outdoor recreation economy in every state.

Published June 2021

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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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.

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2022 CDT Small Business Survey

As a connector of landscapes, communities, and cultures, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) provides a setting for community members, decision makers, conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, and everyone connected to the lands and waters of the Divide, to come together to discuss how to steward the vital natural, cultural, and historic resources found across its entirety. With this report, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition hopes to highlight the role of the cooperative stewardship model in the management of the CDT, what we accomplished in 2021, and what we are looking forward to in 2022.