Trails Benefits Library

This 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.

Find trails studies by:

Benefit

Use

Year

Region

Studies found (15) for Consumer surplus:

The Economic Impact of the Huron River

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied:
Overview: In southeastern Michigan, the Huron River Trail benefits the community through spending at local businesses, higher property values along the river, and recreational enjoyment. The authors also measure benefits from biological diversity, wetland flood reduction, and aesthetic values but these are connected to the river, not just the trail.
Region:
States:
Place: Southeastern Michigan
Citation: Isley, P., C. Glupker, E. Nordman, J. Cowie, H. LaMay. 2017. The Economic Impact of the Huron River. Allendale, MI: Seidman Research Office, Grand Valley State University.

The Value of Dedicated Cyclist and Pedestrian Infrastructure on Rural Roads

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied: ,
Overview: This study found that rural communities have a high demand for dedicated cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, separate from main roadways, and users are willing to pay small fees to use these trails. These trails are most likely to be used by those living close to small towns and villages, who use the trails for recreation and transportation.
Region:
States:
Place: Rural towns
Citation: Laird, J., M. Page, and S. Shen. 2013. “The value of dedicated cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure on rural roads.” Transport Policy 29 (2013): 86-96.

Evaluating the Economic Benefits and Future Opportunities of the Maine Island Trail Association

→Summary & Interpretation

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Uses studied:
Overview: 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.
Region:
States:
Place: Maritime islands
Citation: Glassman, J. and V. Rao. 2011. “Evaluating the Economic Benefits and Future Opportunities of the Maine Island Trail Association.” Discussion Paper 2011-28. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Environmental Economics Program.

Determining Economic Benefits of Park Trails: Management Implications

→Summary & Interpretation

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Benefits studied:
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that most users of Table Rock State Park in South Carolina are willing to pay a fee to use the hiking trails in addition to the existing park entrance fee. The authors found that users were willing to pay a higher fee when they believed the trails were of higher quality.
Region:
Place: Table Rock State Park
Citation: Oh, C. and W. Hammitt. 2010. “Determining economic benefits of park trails: Management implications.” Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 28(2): 94-107.

Recreational Demand for Equestrian Trail-Riding

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that the distance between a user’s home and the trailhead is the most important factor in determining how frequently a trail is used, though proximity alone is not enough if the trail lacks other equestrian-friendly characteristics. To provide the greatest benefit to equestrian users, land managers can look for opportunities to enhance existing trails near population centers with an avid equestrian population.
Region:
States:
Place: Statewide
Citation: Blackwell, M., A. Pagoulatos, W. Hu, and K. Auchter. 2009. “Recreational demand for equestrian trail-riding.” Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 38(2): 229-239.

Estimating the Economic Value and Impacts of Recreational Trails: A Case Study of the Virginia Creeper Rail Trail

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied: ,
Overview: 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.
Region:
States:
Place: Abingdon, Whitetop Station
Citation: Bowker, J. M., J.C. Bergstrom, J. Gill, 2007. “Estimating the economic value and impacts of recreational trails: a case study of the Virginia Creeper Rail Trail.” Tourism Economics. 13(2): 241-260.

Property Values, Recreation Values, and Urban Greenways

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied: ,
Uses studied: ,
Overview: This study found that in Indianapolis property values are higher when homes are located near conservation areas without trails or near high-profile, destination trails, but are not any different when they are located near less-popular trails. Individual trail users place a positive value on being able to use trails, which is sufficiently high to justify the expense of trail construction and maintenance.
Region:
States:
Place: Indianapolis
Citation: Lindsey, G., Man, J., Payton, S., and K. Dickson. 2004. “Property values, recreation values, and urban greenways.” Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 22 (3): 69–90.

A Contingent Trip Model for Estimating Rail-Trail Demand

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied: ,
Overview: This study estimates future use on a proposed rail-trail in Georgia, while most trail studies estimate use on an existing trail. It found that the best predictors of future trail use are how close the person lives to the trail, whether they had ridden bicycles in the previous year, and whether they had used a rail trail previously; age and income were not related to predicted use.
Region:
States:
Place: Madison, Watkinsville
Citation: Betz, C., J. Bergstrom, and J.M. Bowker. 2003. “A contingent trip model for estimating rail-trail demand.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 46(1): 79-96.

Wildfire Effects on Hiking and Biking Demand in New Mexico: A Travel Cost Study

→Summary & Interpretation

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Uses studied: ,
Overview: This study found that crown wildfires that cross trails are likely to have a dramatic effect on use and individual benefit for hikers and mountain bikers that persists for decades after the fire occurs. Prescribed fires are also shown to decrease benefits and use for both groups, but these declines occur gradually over decades rather than an immediate drop in the year of a wildfire.
Region:
States:
Place: Santa Fe, Cibola, Lincoln, Carson Nat Forests and Gila Wilderness Area (NPS)
Citation: Hesseln, H., J. Loomis, A. Gonzalez-Caban, and S. Alexander. 2003. “Wildfire effects on hiking and biking demand in New Mexico: a travel cost study.” Journal of Environmental Management 69(4): 359-368.

Estimating the Recreation Demand and Economic Value of Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah: An Application of Count Data Models

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied: ,
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that mountain bikers visiting the Moab, Utah trail system spent an average of $282 per trip and visited 2.5 times per year. Rather than a specific trail, as was studied in the Fix and Loomis (1997) Slickrock Trail study, this study evaluated the benefits of the Moab area’s whole mountain bike trail system.
Region:
States:
Place: Moab
Citation: Chakraborty, K., and J. Keith. 2000. “Estimating the recreation demand and economic value of mountain biking in Moab, Utah: an application of count data models.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 43(4): 461-469.

The Economic Benefits of Mountain Biking at One of Its Meccas: An Application of the Travel Cost Method to Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied: ,
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that the Slickrock Trail, a world-famous mountain bike trail in Moab, Utah, draws a large number of avid users annually, who are willing to travel long distances and spend large sums to reach it. Because access fees are a relatively low portion of overall trip cost, visitation rates are unlikely to change much even if they are increased.
Region:
States:
Place: Moab
Citation: Fix, P. and J. Loomis. 1997. “The Economic Benefits of Mountain Biking at One of Its Meccas: An Application of the Travel Cost Method to Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah.” Journal of Leisure Research 29(3): 342.

Estimating Social Welfare Using Count Data Models: An Application to Long-Run Recreation Demand Under Conditions of Endogenous Stratification and Truncation

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that surveys that directly extrapolate the number of times an individual person visits a trail to the general population will significantly overstate the future trail use. Care must be taken to account for the differences between those interviewed at the trailhead and the rest of the population.
Region:
States:
Place: Cascade Mountains
Citation: Englin, J. and J. Shonkwiler. 1995. “Estimating social welfare using count data models: an application to long-run recreation demand under conditions of endogenous stratification and truncation.” The Review of Economics and Statistics 77(1): 104-112.

Outdoor Recreation Net Benefits of Rail-Trails

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied: ,
Overview: This study found that trail users are willing to incur greater expenses and travel further to use rural trails, and spend more time on those trails while they are there, indicating these trails are enjoyed by both locals and non-locals. Urban trails, on the other hand, are mainly a resource for local residents, and are used much more frequently and for shorter periods of times.
Region: , ,
Place: Dubuque County (IA), Tallahassee (FL), Oakland (CA)
Citation: Siderelis, C. and R. Moore. 1995. “Outdoor recreation net benefits of rail-trails.” Journal of Leisure Research 27(4): 344-359.

The Economic Value of Hiking: Further Considerations of Opportunity Cost of Time in Recreational Demand Models

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that hikers were willing to travel on average over four hours to visit the Grandfather Mountain Wilderness Preserve and its trail system, and did so five times per year. Although this study is old, it is one of the few with values specifically for a day of hiking, particularly in the southern U.S.
Region:
Place: Linville
Citation: Casey, J., T. Vukina, and L. Danielson. 1995. “The Economic Value of Hiking: Further Considerations of Opportunity Cost of Time in Recreational Demand Models.” Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 27(2): 658-668.

A Hedonic Travel Cost Analysis for Valuation of Multiple Components of Site Quality: The Recreation Value of Forest Management

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied:
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that wilderness trail users are willing to travel farther (and therefore spend more) to reach trails with campgrounds, old-growth forests, and views. Conversely, they avoid trails with long dirt road approaches and clear-cuts visible from the trail.
Region:
States:
Place: Cascade Mountains
Citation: Englin, J. and R. Mendelsohn. 1991. “A hedonic travel cost analysis for valuation of multiple components of site quality: the recreation value of forest management.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 21(3): 275-290.