Three Ways to Estimate the Economic Impact of Trails and Outdoor Recreation

This webinar will introduce you to three ways to use research and data to estimate the economic effects of trails and outdoor recreation, plus provide an overview of how to quantify several other types of economic benefits.

Presented by:

Event Details

June 13, 2024

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

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


This webinar is free. Would you consider a donation to support this webinar?


Webinar Outline

A tremendous body of studies has substantiated the economic value of trails and outdoor recreation. These can be useful in helping you make your case, but it’s even more compelling to speak directly about the benefits of trails and outdoor recreation in your own community. You don’t need to hire an economist and wade through piles of complex data to understand these economic benefits. This webinar will introduce you to three ways to use research and data to estimate the economic effects of trails and outdoor recreation, plus provide an overview of how to quantify several other types of economic benefits. These approaches can be used for all types of trails.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand basic concepts behind economic impact analysis.
  • Know how to use simplified analytical tools and processes to estimate economic effects of trails and outdoor recreation.
  • Identify and understand how to quantify other community economic benefits of trails.


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

Webinar Resources

  • CPI Inflation Calculator
  • Kansas Community Toolbox (Guidance for surveys and focus groups)
  • American Trails Resource Library: Impacts of Trails > Economics of Trails (Look for studies from other places here)
  • Rails to Trails Conservancy Resource Library (search for Benefits of Trails)
  • Headwaters Economics Library of Trail Benefits
  • Continental Divide Trail Coalition 2023 Survey Report
  • Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy 2019 Survey Report
  • Trail User Survey and Business Survey Report
  • University of Wisconsin Extension DIY Tool
  • Ripple Effects Mapping Studio (website maintained by two originators)
  • Step-by-Step Quick Guide
  • Ripple Effects Mapping (REM) for program evaluation 1-hour webinar
  • Using Ripple Effect Mapping to Evaluate Program Impact: Choosing or Combining the Methods That Work Best for You (Journal of Extension)
  • A Field Guide to Ripple Effects Mapping
  • Trails for Us: How Trails Benefit Our Local Communities (American Trails July 2022 Webinar)
  • Socioeconomic Value of the Delaware River Basin in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania (combined with below bullet data on the value of a wide range of ecosystem services)
  • National Land Cover Database (combined with above bullet to make estimates)
  • Value of Volunteer Time (independent sector annual report on including state-by-state data)
  • The Harbinger Conservancy Online Courses for Trail Advocates and Community Builders:

    Community Capitals Framework:


    Webinar Partners


    Michele Archie, Principal, The Harbinger Consultancy
    Cheyenne, Wyoming

    Michele Archie, Harbinger Consultancy principal and lead for collaborative regional economic analyses, economic impact projections, visitor and resident surveys, outdoor recreation assessments, and peer area reviews. Michele has led more than three dozen such studies for national and state parks, World Heritage Sites, trails and other recreational and protected areas across the United States, and leads online professional development courses focused on do-it-yourself approaches to analyzing the range of benefits from trails, outdoor recreation and private and public land conservation.


    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 PDH) (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 Symposium, as well as for other 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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    2,441 views • posted 04/08/2024