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 (6) for Virginia:

Spearhead Trails Economic and Fiscal Impacts

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied:
Uses studied:
Overview: An extensive motorized trail system in rural southwest Virginia has brought substantial new spending to the community, helping to diversify the area’s traditionally coal-based economy. The estimated economic impact is less than the predicted impacts before the system was built, but the impacts nonetheless exceed state and local investments.
Region:
States:
Place: Buchanan County, Dickenson County, Lee County, Russell County, Scott County, and Tazewel County
Citation: Institute for Service Research. 2017. Economic and Fiscal Impacts. Coeburn, VA: Spearhead Trails.

Spearhead Trails Implementation Plan, Vol. II Economic Impact Assessment

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Overview: This study assesses the potential impact of a region-wide trail destination for multiple user groups on private, primarily corporate-owned land in southwest Virginia. It found that developing a destination-quality trail system requires region-wide coordination, both in trail construction and linking, as well as in providing supporting infrastructure for tourists and marketing to potential visitors outside the region.
Region:
States:
Place: Buchanan County, Dickenson County, Lee County, Russell County, Scott County, Tazewel County
Citation: Sustainable Development Consulting International. 2012. Spearhead Trails Implementation Plan, Vol. II: Economic Impact Assessment. Southwest Virginia Regional Recreation Authority.

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.

The Washington & Old Dominion Trail: An Assessment of User Demographics, Preferences, and Economics

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied: ,
Overview: This study found that the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail generates significant local economic impact, even though it is primarily used by locals. Using a creative set of questions, the authors identify which trail features are sufficient and which should be higher priorities for funding.
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States:
Place: Washington, DC, outlying rural areas
Citation: Bowker, J., Bergstrom, J., Gill, J., and Lemanski, U. 2004. The Washington & Old Dominion Trail: An Assessment of User Demographics, Preferences, and Economics.  USDA Forest Service, University of Georgia and National Park Service.

The Waterway at New River State Park: An Assessment of User Demographics, Preferences, and Economics

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied: ,
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that the water trail along the New River Trail in western Virginia is used frequently by locals and non-locals, and is a relatively large source of revenue for local businesses. The trail and communities near the trail currently provide the amenities that trail users find most important, although there may be unmet demand for outdoor stores and restaurants, which could increase the trail’s economic impact.
Region:
States:
Place: Pulaski, Galax
Citation: Bowker, J., J. Bergstrom, and J. Gill. 2004. The Waterway at New River State Park: An Assessment of User Demographics, Preferences, and Economics. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

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.