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 Wisconsin:

The Economic Impacts of Active Silent Sports Enthusiasts

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Overview: In northern Wisconsin, 95 percent of participants in non-motorized events are non-local, and these participants take more than four trips per year to the area on average, generating substantial economic impact. The two most important factors affecting non-residents’ decision to visit were the quality of trails and the quality of trail mapping and signage.
Region:
States:
Place: Ashland, Bayfield, and Sawyer Counties
Citation: Berard, D., S. Chapin, A. Hoogasian, T. Kane, D. Marcouiller, and T. Wojciechowski. 2014. The Economic Impacts of Active Silent Sports Enthusiasts. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Extension Report 14.1.

Trails on Tribal Lands in the United States

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that the benefits of trails in Indian Country may be more significant than in other communities that are less culturally or spatially fragmented, less politically and economically marginalized, or less culturally tied to the landscape. Trails can provide particularly valuable benefits to residents of Indian Country, helping to improve residents’ quality of life in several dimensions: connecting tribal members to each other and to culturally significant sites and natural resources; providing safe alternative transportation routes across the reservation; providing opportunities for safe exercise; and providing opportunities for economic development and cultural education.
Region: ,
Place: Tribal lands in the US
Citation: Deyo, N., M. Bohdan, R. Burke, A. Kelley, B. van der Werff, E. Blackmer, R. Grese, and N. Reo. 2014. “Trails on tribal lands in the United States.” Landscape and Urban Planning 125 (2014): 130-139.

Motorized Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Development within Trailside Communities

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Overview: In southwestern Wisconsin, a 47-mile trail is a destination for non-local motorized trail users, who generate over $13 million dollars in spending each year. When the study was conducted, the railroad owner had petitioned to rebuild a portion of the rail line along the trail. This study was used to demonstrate the trail’s benefits to communities near the trail.
Region:
States:
Place: Green, Lafayette, and Iowa Counties
Citation: Carper, C., J. Guth, E. Kakde, D. Marcouiller, P. Ohlrogge, and L. Wolfe. 2012. Motorized Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Development within Trailside Communities. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Division of Cooperative Extension Publication #G3965.

Valuing Bicycling’s Economic and Health Impacts in Wisconsin

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied: ,
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that 13 million days of cycling occur in Wisconsin each year, roughly half of which are taken by non-residents who contribute $309 million to the state’s economy. The health benefits associated with increased physical activity for residents could reduce annual healthcare costs in Milwaukee and Madison alone by up to $320 million, and less pollution due to fewer car trips is associated with as much as $89 million in benefits.
Region:
States:
Place: Statewide
Citation: Grabow, M., M. Hahn, and M. Whited. 2010. Valuing Bicycling’s Economic and Health Impacts in Wisconsin. The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Trails and their gateway communities: A case study of recreational use compatibility and economic impacts

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Overview: A 98-mile rail trail in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota attracts roughly 46,400 visits per year, with trail users spending $118 per trip, on average. Despite high visitation and spending, the trail’s economic impact could be increased with better connections between nearby towns, and through businesses-like bike shops that target trail users.
Region:
States:
Place: Burnett and Polk Counties
Citation: Kazmierski, B., M. Kornmann, D. Marcouiller, and J. Prey. 2009. Trails and their gateway communities: A case study of recreational use compatibility and economic impacts. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Division of Cooperative Extension Publication #G3880.

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.

Mountain Biking in the Chequamegon Area of Northern Wisconsin and Implications for Regional Development

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied:
Overview: This study found that the Chequamegon trail system in northern Wisconsin attracts numerous mountain bikers, who generate a sizable economic impact. According to trail users, the most important aspects of the trails are its natural, quiet setting and lack of motorized vehicles.
Region:
States:
Place: Cable
Citation: Sumathi, N. and D. Berard. 1997. Mountain Biking in the Chequamegon Area of Northern Wisconsin and Implications for Regional Development. Center for Community Economic Development, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.