Access to trails and outdoor recreation is an important part of local economies, attracting businesses and drawing in new residents and visitors. Our research analyzes the scope and scale of the outdoor recreation economy and how communities can benefit from trails.
The Amenity Trap: How high-amenity communities can avoid being loved to death
The outdoor recreation economy is large, growing fast, and consists of jobs in many industries. Explore the latest data by state.
The Outdoor Recreation Economy by State
The outdoor recreation economy is large, growing faster than the overall economy, and consists of jobs in many industries. Explore data by state.
The economic potential of the Great American Rail-Trail
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.
Innovative New Ways to Count Outdoor Recreation
New data sources can change the way we count outdoor recreation, allowing trail managers to better advocate for improvements and plan for growing demand.
The Future of the Outdoor Recreation Economy
The outdoor recreation economy is strong, diverse, and growing, helping communities thrive.
Library of Trail Benefits
The Trails Benefits Library is a collection of studies on the positive impacts of trails on businesses, public health, and quality of life. Use this form to search by type of benefit, use, year, and region.
Housing in recreation-dependent counties is less affordable
Recreation dependence, population growth from new residents, and income inequality are strongly associated with less affordable housing in non-metro counties.
Recreation Counties Attract New Residents and Higher Incomes
Recreation counties, especially in non-metro places, draw new residents and have higher incomes and faster earnings growth than places without recreation.
Economic Impact of National Parks
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.
Measuring trail use in Montana’s Bridger mountains
Detailed estimates of summer trail use help show the impacts of growing recreational use and highlight infrastructure needs in southwest Montana.
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