Across New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine, the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) draws 90,000 users annually. Although most users visit areas with other attractions and established tourist infrastructure like hotels and restaurants, the smaller number of visitors to remote parts of the trail bring valuable outside spending.
This report on the potential for mountain bike tourism in Santa Cruz County, California demonstrates how trail advocates can use existing research studies to help make a case for trail development in their community. The authors argue that the presence of significant bike industry companies, a large existing social trail network, and appealing climate and terrain create a strong potential for mountain bike tourism.
This study found that mountain biking generates significant new spending in the communities of Whistler, Squamish, and the North Shore near Vancouver, British Columbia, all internationally-known mountain biking destinations. These communities all draw non-local visitors and spending, but the economic impact associated with the resort and bike park at Whistler and the multi-day Crankworkx Mountain Bike Festival at the resort far eclipse the impact in the other communities.
This study found that the 7stanes mountain bike trail system draws over 300,000 visitors annually who would not otherwise have come to the South of Scotland. Trail construction in Phase 1 was followed by Phase 2, which focused on improving the economic impact from the trails by increasing the proportion of visitors staying for multiple nights. This was accomplished by making the trails more appealing to a broader skill range, improving the quality of existing trails, and continuing maintenance on existing trails.
This study on the Virginia Creeper Rail Trail in Virginia is unique in that it estimates both economic impacts, measured as local spending by tourists, and economic benefits, measured as value to individual users. This paints a more complete picture of the total value of a trail than considering only one of these economic measures, an approach that may be particularly helpful when prioritizing the use of government funds.