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 (13) for Hiking:

The Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation and the Whitefish Trail in Whitefish, Montana

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Overview: In Whitefish, Montana, outdoor recreation is the most important reason why residents stay and visitors come to the community. On the Whitefish Trail, 22,000 annual uses by visitors (30% of total use) generates $3.6 million in spending and supports 68 jobs.
Region:
States:
Place: Whitefish
Citation: Headwaters Economics. 2018. The Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation and the Whitefish Trail in Whitefish, Montana. Prepared for Whitefish Legacy Partners; Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau. Bozeman, Montana: Headwaters Economics.

Trail Usage and Value: A Helena, MT Case Study

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Uses studied: ,
Overview: In Helena, Montana, an 80-mile hiking and mountain biking trail system attracts more than 63,000 trail users during the summer. Seven in 10 users are residents, but visitors who use the trail system account for $4 million in spending, support 60 jobs, and generate $185,000 in state and local taxes.
Region:
States:
Place: Helena
Citation: Sage, J.L. and Nickerson, N.P. 2018. Trail Usage and Value-A Helena, MT Case Study. Missoula, MT: Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana.

Bonner County Trails Final Survey Results

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied:
Overview: In rural Bonner County in northern Idaho, trails are used by three-quarters of residents an average of every day in the summer and every other day in the winter. Trail use is high for all residents, even accounting for differences in the length of residence in the county, income, and age. Business owners are more likely to identify trails as an important factor in their decision to move to the county.
Region:
States:
Place: Bonner County
Citation: RRC Associates. 2016. Bonner County Trails Final Survey Results. Bozeman, MT: Headwaters Economics.

Enchanted Circle Trails: Final Survey Results

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied: , ,
Overview: In Taos, New Mexico, Hispanic residents and low-income residents are less likely to have used trails during the previous year, but those who have used trails during the previous year use them just as often as other (non-Hispanic) residents. Among low-income residents, those with a park or trail within a 10-minute walk of their house were 50 percent more likely to have used trails during the previous year.
Region:
States:
Place: Taos County
Citation: RRC Associates. 2016. Enchanted Circle Trails: Final Survey Results. Prepared for Taos Land Trust; Headwaters Economics. Boulder, CO: RRC Associates.

Oregon Non-Motorized Trail Participation and Priorities

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Overview: Non-motorized trail users in Oregon account for 162.3 million user days per year, and the vast majority of these days are spent walking or hiking. While these recreation days are associated with substantial expenditures, the amount spent per person per day and the total economic impact vary greatly within the state.
Region:
States:
Place: State-wide
Citation: Lindberg, K. and T. Bertone-Riggs. 2015. Oregon Non-Motorized Trail Participation and Priorities. Prepared for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University.

Outdoor Recreation Scarcity and Abundance in Western Oregon: A Spatial Analysis

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied:
Overview: Across western Oregon, there is substantial variation in how well the supply of hiking, mountain biking, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails meets demand for these trails by local users. Although some communities have many miles of trails, such as the 146 miles of mountain biking trails within 60 minutes of Portland, the supply of trails may be too low to support the number of people using them.
Region:
States:
Place: Portland, Tillamook, Sandy, Newburg, McMinnville, Salem, Corvallis, Eugene, Coos Bay, Roseburg, Grants Pass, Medford
Citation: ECONorthwest. 2015. Outdoor recreation scarcity and abundance in Western Oregon: A Spatial Analysis. Portland, OR: Bureau of Land Management.

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.

Jackson Hole Trail Project Economic Impact Study

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied: ,
Overview: 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.
Region:
States:
Place: Jackson
Citation: Kaliszewski, N. 2011. Jackson Hole Trail Project Economic Impact Study (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). University of Wyoming. Laramie, Wyoming.

Determining Economic Benefits of Park Trails: Management Implications

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
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.

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

→Summary & Interpretation

Year:
Benefits studied:
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 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.

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.