By following a large sample of children over time, this study demonstrates that children who participate in recreation programs, or who live a walkable distance from parks, are much less likely to be obese or overweight. These benefits can be achieved through formal parks and programs, but also through accessible green space or other small, informal places that encourage informal play.
Along the coast, the Maine Island Trail connects 183 islands along 375 miles of coastline, attracting 11,385 users per year who bring $553,000 in new spending to the area. This is an excellent example of an economic impact study that carefully identifies new spending that would not have occurred without the trail, as opposed to spending that would happen regardless of the trail’s presence.
This study found that cyclists in Iowa, including those who ride for recreation and to commute to work, contribute substantial spending associated with commuting and cycling trips within the state. The physical activity from cycling is associated with as much as $354 million lower annual health care costs due to fewer cases of heart and lung disease, and other diseases associated with less physical activity.
This study found that snowmobiling is popular among Iowa households. However, snowmobiling’s economic impact in the state is relatively low because two-thirds of residents’ trips are taken in neighboring states and less than 1 percent of trips in-state are taken by out-of-state residents.
This study found that development of a trail and associated infrastructure has contributed to the revitalization of downtown Winter Garden, Florida. In this county-wide trail system, the trails with the most access points to businesses had the greatest measurable economic impact, but the complement of trails throughout Orange County – some urban and others natural and quiet – contribute to an appealing regional trail system.
This study found that expanding an existing trail system with broad regional draw in Barre, Vermont could significantly increase visitor use and spending. Using a range of projected growth rates, the authors predict that the local economy could see relatively small but meaningful gains in new spending and employment.
This study found that while 70 percent of Missoula residents were willing to pay more taxes to acquire open space and build new trails and recreation facilities, still more (77%) were willing to pay more taxes to maintain existing facilities. Eighty-six percent of all residents had used City parks in the previous 12 months, highlighting the importance of within-community trails even in rural areas with public lands nearby.
This study found that locals are the main beneficiary of the Teton County, Wyoming trail system, although visitors are increasingly enjoying area trails outside of Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The economic impact of the trails may be significant, but is difficult to estimate without knowing how many visitors come to the area just for the trail system.
This study found that the average respondent rides on Minnnesota’s state-maintained horse trail system 33 days per year. Three-quarters of all trips are taken within 30 minutes of home, suggesting that the primary benefits from horse trails in Minnesota are in the enjoyment people derive from using trails close to home rather than in attracting non-local visitors.