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 (7) for North Carolina:

Behavioral Effects of Completing a Critical Link in the American Tobacco Trail

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied:
Uses studied: ,
Overview: In Durham, North Carolina, a bicycle-pedestrian bridge was built to connect two previously separate segments of a regional trail, leading to a 133 percent increase in trail use after its construction. This new connection allows the researchers to demonstrate a substantial increase in physical activity attributable to the bridge, with significant public health benefits for trail users.
Region:
Place: Durham
Citation: Cook, T., S. O’Brien, K. Jackson, D. Findley, and S. Searcy. 2016. “Behavioral effects of completing a critical link in the American Tobacco Trail.” Transportation Research Record 2598: 19–26.

Economic Impact of the 2012 “6 Hours of Warrior Creek” Mountain Bike Race

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied:
Uses studied:
Overview: Two factors most strongly predicted racers’ total spending at an endurance mountain bike race in North Carolina: whether they visited other tourist attractions during their trip and how many nights they stayed. Having more people in the racer’s party was also associated with higher total spending, while income had almost no effect on spending.
Region:
Place: Boomer
Citation: Schiller, A., and J. Whitehead. 2013. Economic Impact of the 2012 ‘6 Hours of Warrior Creek’ Mountain Bike Race. Boone, NC: Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis at Appalachian State University.

Evaluating Change in Physical Activity with the Building of a Multi-Use Trail

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied:
Uses studied: ,
Overview: This study found that people who used a new rail trail in Durham, North Carolina reported exercising more during the month after it opened, although it did not appear that their minutes spent exercising per week was actually any higher than before the trail opened. Potential effects of new trails on physical activity may take longer to manifest themselves in residents’ habits, and the effects likely depend on how many trails are already nearby.
Region:
Place: Durham
Citation: Evenson, K., A. Herring, and S. Huston. 2005. “Evaluating change in physical activity with the building of a multi-use trail.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 28(2): 177-185.

Pathways to Prosperity; Economic Impact of Investment in Bicycle Facilities: A Case Study of North Carolina Northern Outer Banks

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that each year, the economic impact from cyclists on the Outer Banks far exceeds the original investment of public funds used to build bicycle-friendly facilities. The majority of visitors were likely to extend their stay and return to the area because of the availability of bicycle facilities.
Region:
Place: Outer Banks
Citation: Lawrie, J. 2004. Pathways to Prosperity; Economic Impacts of Investment in Bicycle Facilities: A Case Study of North Carolina Northern Outer Banks. North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Case Studies of Water Trail Impacts on Rural Communities

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied:
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that across three communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, water trails have created a destination for non-local paddlers interested in multi-day trips. Communities are able to capture this economic opportunity only if businesses are immediately on the water or easily accessed via trail or shuttle, and if there are businesses that cater to paddlers, such as restaurants, lodging and camping, and shuttle and rental services.
Region: ,
Place: Lake County (MN), Vernon County (WI), Martin County (NC)
Citation: Johnson, L. 2002. Case Studies of Water Trail Impacts on Rural Communities (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). University of Oregon.

The economic impacts and uses of long-distance trails

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied: ,
Overview: Although visitor spending per day along the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail in western Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina is relatively low, the large number of visitors generates substantial economic impact. However, much of this spending is likely due to the attraction of specific historic sites and not the trail, because relatively few visitors were aware that the historic sites are connected to a larger regional trail.
Region:
Place: North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia
Citation: Moore, R. L., and K. Barthlow. 1998. The economic impacts and uses of long-distance trails. Prepared for U.S. Department of Interior National Park Service. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

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.