filed under: economics of trails


The Payoff of Trails

How Trails Increase the Economic Vitality of Communities

Hear how research projects support the facts that trails do provide a positive economic benefit in their communities.

by Carl Knoch, Manager of Trail Development - Northeast Regional Office, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), David Lindhaul, Principal, Morton Trails, LLC, John Morton, Founder/Principal, Morton Trails, LLC

Hear how research projects support the facts that trails do provide a positive economic benefit in their communities. Multiple case studies in non-metropolitan areas across the nation show how trails have become a centralizing component of a region’s revitalization. Learn about two more communities, one rural and the other urban, where trail users were surveyed to compare the user characteristics and spending patterns at a rural "destination" trail and a suburban "day use" trail. The results will provide participants with new support that proves “If you build it... They will come and spend!’

About the Authors

Carl Knoch - After nearly 30 years in marketing and marketing research in such diverse industries as advertising, financial services and computer games, Carl found his passion when he joined the York County Rail Trail Authority as a volunteer director in 1998. The authority is a ten-member volunteer board charged with development of the county’s trail system. Carl has served as chairman of the Authority since 2000. He has conducted numerous trail user surveys and economic impact analysis and presented those findings at national, state, and local conferences. In April of 2006 he joined the staff of the Northeast Regional office of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy as Manger of Trail Development. Carl has a BS in Marketing and an MBA from Penn State. Carl was inducted into the Keystone Society for Tourism in 2009 in recognition of his efforts to promote trails as tourism destinations. In 2007 he was honored by the Pennsylvania Planning Association with a Distinguished Leadership Award for a Citizen Planner. American Trails awarded Carl a State Trail Worker Award in 2004.

Contact: [email protected]

David Lindahl is a Principal of Morton Trails with 20 years of professional experience in real-estate, land-use planning, appraisal, property transactions and negotiations, environmental management, and economic analysis. David received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Washington in Economic Geography, specializing in rural economic development and corporate environmental management. He has published articles in leading business, economic, and geography journals and taught at Penn State University.

John Morton is Founder and Principal of Morton Trails. John has been a seven-time Olympic participant, as a competitor, coach, and/or chief. In 1989 he wrote Don’t Look Back, a comprehensive guide to cross-country ski racing, and he also then began designing Nordic ski trails. His firm has undertaken over 120 trail design and planning projects throughout the United States and internationally over the past 17 years.

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