Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trails Benefit Communities & Nation

According to recent articles in American Trail magazine, trails provide enormous benefits for communities, workers, and the nation in general.
Here are some important economic figures that relate to the benefits of trails:
hikers enjoying the trail

  • Active outdoor recreation generates $730 million to the economy each year.
  • Trails and other outdoor pursuits provide 6.5 million jobs annually.
  • There are 437 million recreational visits to Interior-managed lands.
  • One U.S. trail generated an estimated 80,000 trips w/ trail users spending $40.8 million.
  • Bicycle recreation supports more than $924 million in tourism.
  • Although the per capita annual cost of trail use is $209, per capita annual direct medical benefits was $564. This means that every dollar spent on trails provided $2.94 in direct medical benefit.
While one U.S. Senator is refusing to vote for highway funding as long as some of the money is going for trails, the opposite should be happening. In light of the figures presented above, and for numerous other reasons, the amount of trail funding in transportation apportionments should be increased. Unlike roads, trails:
  • are cheaper to build
  • are cheaper to maintain
  • provide more jobs per mile
  • provide health benefits
  • provide recreational opportunities
  • provide viable transportation options
  • are much more environmentally sustainable
If you haven't yet done so, contact your representative and urge them to fully fund all trail options in U.S. transportation funding. 

Coming up on the trailsnet blog:
  • Information about new active travel websites
  • Information about a possible huge format change for the trailsnet website
  • Information about new maps to be included on the trailsnet website
  • Information about the National Trails System

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1 comment:

greatplainstrail said...

Great Post! And what are the downsides to trails? I can't think of any . . .