Return on Investment of Trails and Parks

Economics and Beyond

Hosted in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, this webinar will include the economic benefits of trails and parks in your community, as well additional co-benefits of driving equity, social and climate resilience, health (physical and mental), etc.

Presented by:

Event Details

** This event has passed **

July 22, 2021

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
Learning Credits
are available for this webinar.

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Webinar Outline

Trails and parks are more than the sum of their economic impact, as well as the additional co-benefits of driving equity, social and climate resilience, health (physical and mental), etc. to one’s community. It is common to see case studies and anecdotal examples of the economic benefits to communities of parks, trails, and trail systems, however, there are many less tangible, but equally important, benefits to trails. This webinar will build upon the information provided in the updated "Trail Construction Costs, Risks, and Tips for Success" webinar to provide tools and demonstrate the process for including tangible and intangible benefits in calculating the return on investment for many different types of communities that invest in trails and parks. We will be joined by experts representing a wide spectrum of trails and parks from urban to rural settings, and from pedestrian to biking to motorized use.

This webinar will be a hybrid presentation that will include short presentations from each presenter, followed by a facilitated discussion on 4 hot topics in regards to this webinar topic. We will take an attendee question or two following each topic, if time allows, as well as holding Q&A at the end of the webinar.

Following each topic for discussion, the panelists will respond to a couple questions from webinar participants. Time pending, panelists will answer additional questions at the end of the webinar.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about leveraging the social and financial return on investment of trails to enable outdoor recreation infrastructure development.
  • Discover the benefits of trails that are typically overlooked during planning and design that ultimately affect implementation approach and costs.
  • Learn the return on investment of trails and parks that is not direct dollars but positive impacts on the surrounding communities/landscape.


This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).

Webinar Resources

Urban Institute


International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)

Quantified Ventures

National Recreation and Park Association:


Webinar Partners


Mark Treskon, Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute
Washington, DC

Mark Treskon is a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute. His research focuses on creative placemaking and equitable community development, affordable and subsidized housing programs and policies, regional demographic and economic change, and financial interventions for low-income consumers. Treskon has a bachelor's in geography from the University of Chicago, a master's in urban planning from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in sociology from New York University.


Kimberly Burrowes, Technical Assistance Manager, Urban Institute
Washington, DC

Kimberly Burrowes is a technical assistance manager in the Research to Action Lab at the Urban Institute. Burrowes’ research has focused on advancing racial equity in parks and public spaces, practices and policies for affordable housing solutions, and participatory engagement.

Burrowes thinks about how to provide an equity framing to local policy solutions for the built environment, using placemaking and community engagement tools. Within her technical assistance role, Burrowes works with local government agencies and nonprofits to build their capacity to tackle policy challenges. She has advised local agencies on the equity impacts of placemaking, community-based nonprofits focused on housing stability and equity, county-level criminal justice system agencies, and most recently, resident engagement approaches for municipalities exploring financial empowerment plans.

Before joining Urban, Burrowes worked with the urban development and disaster risk management unit at the World Bank, focusing on projects in the Caribbean and East Asia. Before that, she worked on affordable housing policy at the Massachusetts Housing Partnership in Boston and the Island Housing Trust on Martha’s Vineyard.

Burrowes has a BA in geography and international development and an MA in community development and urban planning from Clark University.


Mike Repyak, Director of Planning and Design, IMBA Trail Solutions
Boulder, Colorado

Mike was born and raised on bikes and skis in Wisconsin. He received his degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then headed west to live in Breckenridge, CO, to work as a mountain resort planner on projects throughout the worldwide ski industry. Currently, Mike and his wife are back to their Midwest roots, living in Madison, WI. Mike now applies his passion for outdoor recreation to trails-based projects via his role as Trail Solutions Director of Planning and Design. Mike has extensive experience in recreation focused design, natural surface trail planning and design, and mountain resort community planning. Mike brings a collaborative and iterative process approach to all of Trail Solutions projects and programs. His experience comes from years of leading master plan processes, public outreach plans, project stakeholder partnerships, federal/state/local permitting, and project implementation.


Seth Brown, Director, Forestry and Land Use
Washington, DC

Seth’s background includes serving 5 years in the US Army as a platoon leader, convoy commander in Afghanistan, and a General’s Aide-de-camp. In graduate school, he worked with the Economic Bureau of the Department of State and at The Reinvestment Fund, a Community Development Financial Institution in Philadelphia. Driven by a desire to solve complex problems, he joined Quantified Ventures in 2017 to improve the health of people, communities, and the planet by unlocking capital for outcomes-based solutions. Seth leads the Forestry and Land Use practice, integrating rural economic development, outdoor recreation infrastructure, and conservation in a way that enables land managers, private landowners, conservationists, and governments to take on ambitious projects to better protect and share their resources. In his spare time, you can find Seth hiking, fly fishing, or heading out for live music.


Sara Daleiden, Director
Los Angeles, CA and Milwaukee, WI

Sara Daleiden facilitates civic engagement within developing landscapes, exercising arts and cultural exchange strategies based in over two decades of experience. With headquarters in Los Angeles and Milwaukee, her initiatives including MKE<->LAX encourage local cultures to value neighborhoods, public space, civic art, social entrepreneurship and racial and gender equity. Sara has consulted on organizational and leadership development, real estate development, and economic development, as well as strategy, facilitation and evaluation for numerous nonprofits, for profits and government bodies.

In Milwaukee, Sara focuses on translating a Rust Belt legacy city with a radial urban planning history into a trail network of active and inviting spaces for any neighbor. She believes trails can be places for neighbors of different racial representation to gather, in a city where a history of racial segregation can still be a felt experience on a daily basis. She collaborates with the City of Milwaukee and other civic leaders on the Beerline Trail Neighborhood Development Project, HomeWorks: Bronzeville and The Milwaukee Method of Creative Placemaking. Sara wrote an essay about the Beerline Trail in the Black Landscapes Matter book edited by Walter Hood and Grace Mitchell Tada and published by University of Virginia Press. She contributed to the recently published Urban Institute report Embedding Equity in Placemaking: An Examination of the Milwaukee Method of Creative Placemaking in Practice.


Duane Taylor, Director, Safe and Responsible Use Programs, Motorcycle Industry Council
Great Falls, Montana

Duane Taylor serves as Director, Safe and Responsible Use Programs for the Motorcycle Industry Council, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, and Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association. MIC/SVIA/ROHVA are the trade associations that represent the powersports industry.  Previously, Taylor served as Executive Director of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, where he led a variety of nationwide initiatives to support land access, trail projects, and responsible recreation.


Rachel Banner, Director of Park Access, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)
Seattle, WA

Rachel Banner is the Director of Park Access at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), where she oversees the organization strategy to ensure fair and just access to high quality parks and green space, recreation facilities, youth sports and programs that create healthy, resilient and economically vibrant communities. Through her work at NRPA and prior positions, Rachel has extensive experience in developing strategies and partnerships to advance health and equity through systems-level change. Rachel received her Master’s in Public Health from Tufts University and her BS in Exercise Science from Elon University, both focused on health equity, chronic disease prevention and the built environment.


Closed Captioning

We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

Learning Credits and CEUs

American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

  • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
  • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) (most HSW approved)
  • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
  • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

Learning credits are free for attendees for American Trails webinars and the International Trails Summit, as well as for other trail and outdoor recreation-related conferences, webinars, and workshops we offer credits for. Learn more here.



While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff. Unless specific situations are noted by presenters, nothing in American Trails webinars should be considered to be interpreted as a standard.

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5,186 views • posted 06/07/2021