Millions of national park visitors generate economic opportunities for gateway communities, spending money that creates jobs and income. See the trends for every national park service unit.
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Through 12 states and the District of Columbia, the Great American Rail-Trail® will attract 25.6 million trips and generate more than $229.4 million in spending.
Detailed estimates of summer trail use help show the impacts of growing recreational use and highlight infrastructure needs in southwest Montana.
The outdoor recreation economy is large, growing faster than the overall economy, and consists of jobs in many industries. Explore data by state.
Unaffordable housing came to a head during the pandemic as communities across the country saw unprecedented rises in housing costs.
The unprecedented rise in housing prices since 2020 has affected renters more than homeowners—especially in places that were already unaffordable.
The outdoor recreation economy is strong, diverse, and growing, helping communities thrive.
Recent studies find that national monument designations do not negatively impact local economic performance, and in many cases strengthen local economies.
New data sources can change the way we count outdoor recreation, allowing trail managers to better advocate for improvements and plan for growing demand.
Nearly half of rural communities have grown so much since the 1970s they are now classified as “urban.” Those that remain are diverse, but often have more specialized economies.
The outdoor recreation economy contributes $7.8 billion, or 2.4% to Wisconsin’s GDP and generates more than 93,000 jobs across diverse sectors.
The Merced River Trail in Mariposa County, California will create benefits for the economy and businesses, quality of life, and public health.
Recreation dependence, population growth from new residents, and income inequality are strongly associated with less affordable housing in non-metro counties.
Nearly one in five U.S. counties has a higher-than-average share of seniors and no hospital beds.
Outdoor recreation is a way of life and economic powerhouse for New Mexico. New Mexico residents enjoy outdoor recreation on more than 35 million acres of public lands and the outdoor recreation economy directly supports $1.2 billion in income and 33,500 jobs.
Economic methods and data can engage diverse audiences and tell new stories to help cities make a case for climate adaptation.
Funding for Montana’s working lands, wildlife, and outdoor recreation is not keeping pace as population, visitation, and development pressures expand.
Non-labor income can have an outsized effect on communities in the rural West with a large share of public lands.
Updated: Headwaters Economics compiled 144 trails research studies on the impacts of trails in a single library, searchable by type of benefit, use, year, and region.
Investing in outdoor recreation is one of several strategies that can help rural communities thrive in a changing economy.