Trails for Us: How Trails Benefit Local Communities

Learn how trails benefit local communities and how you can make the case for yours.

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Event Details

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July 21, 2022

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.
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Webinar Outline

When we hear about economic benefits of trails, the focus is usually on the impact that visitor spending brings. But trails are first and foremost local resources, often constructed and maintained with no small amount of local commitment and effort. So how can we talk about the value of trails in a way that focuses on local community benefits? In this webinar, Michele Archie, principal of The Harbinger Consultancy, reviews what studies show about how trails benefit communities and outlines some simple, practical ways you can demonstrate this for your own trails.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand what studies and observation suggest about three different kinds of community benefits from trails (quality of life, community health, and local business growth and success).
  • Learn simple, practical ways to demonstrate these community benefits of your local trails.
  • Be familiar with other types of community benefits that can be explored, researched and demonstrated for local trails.


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

Webinar Resources

  • Michele Archie Presentation: Trails for Us: How Trails Benefit Local Communities (pdf)
  • Recreation Counties Attract New Residents and Higher Incomes Headwaters Economics 2019
  • Rural Prosperity Through the Arts & Creative Sector (National Governors Association, 2015)
  • Montana Movers Study 2021 Report. Tara Mastel et al, Montana State University
  • Headwaters Economics Library of Trail Benefits Studies
  • University of Kansas Community Tool Box
  • Measuring Trail Benefits: Quality of Life, Headwaters Economics, 2016
  • Use of a Community Trail Among New and Habitual Exercisers, Paul Gordon, et al, 2004
  • A Healthy Advantage: Expected Economic Benefits from Implementing the Lower Rio Grande Valley Active Transportation and Tourism Plan (The Harbinger Consultancy, Sept. 2017)
  • Headwaters Economics Library of Trail Benefits Studies
  • Great Allegheny Passage Economic Impact Report. Fourth Economy, 2021
  • Using data to focus business growth:

    More ideas:

  • University of Wisconsin Extension DIY tool
  • Whitefish Sustainable Tourism Management Plan
  • The Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation and the Whitefish Trail in Whitefish, Montana. Headwaters Economics, 2018

    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) (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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    3,549 views • posted 07/06/2022