OHIO RIVER TRAIL COUNCIL

“Joining communities through fitness, recreation, heritage and transportation networks”

Outdoor Recreation Economy

Outdoor Recreation Economy

“More than three out of four Americans participate in outdoor recreation each year.  Americans spend money, create jobs, and support local communities when they get outdoors.  Simple healthy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, or wildlife viewing generate enormous economic power and fuel a far-reaching ripple effect that touches many of the nation’s economic sectors.” Source: The Active Outdoor Recreation Economy: A $730 Billion Annual Contribution to the U.S. Economy (Fall 2006) 

Americans now spend more money each year on bicycling gear and trips ($81 billion) than they do on airplane tickets and fees ($51 billion).

All across America, states are building sustainable, growing economies around destination trails. The prime example is the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage through western Maryland and Pennsylvania, which generates $40 million in direct spending by trail tourists each year, single-handedly sustaining small communities and sparking new commercial activity in large ones.

Below are a number of economic impact studies based on data and forecasting techniques that indicate trails and blueways offer a significant return on investment through property value increases, tourism, business investment, alternative transportation benefits and health benefits. We now know that all trails will help our communities be better places to live and work, while creating new economic activity for our communities for years to come.

Please login to access the studies.

 

 

 

Event Photos

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QUOTES

Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity.  
—Lord Charles Beresford
Too often, the advocates of trails and linear parks along rights-of-way come up against officials who recognize only one kind of park–the squared-off kind that comes in chunks; and one kind of recreation–the supervised kind known as ‘organized sweating.’ Such officials refuse to acknowledge that there has been a change in US recreation trends, reflected in the phenomenal growth of hiking, biking, and horseback riding… 
—Constance Stallings
We believe that the place to start … is in our communities. Americans living together and joining in associations across the country–this is where the tremendous strength and vision of our people will be tapped. We recommend a prairie fire of local action to sweep the nation, encouraging investment in outdoor recreation opportunities and rededication to the protection of our great natural heritage.   
— President Ronald Reagan's,Commission on American Outdoors, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987
Trails have multiple values and their benefits reach far beyond recreation. Trails can enrich the quality of life for individuals, make communities more livable, and protect, nurture, and showcase America’s grandeur by traversing areas of natural beauty, distinctive geography, historic significance, and ecological diversity. Trails are important for the nation’s health, economy, resource protection and education.  
—American Trails, Trails for All Americans report, 1990
The [Great Allegheny Passage] Trail is already attracting a lot of people, and were just starting to market it. It’s a major asset for our region, not only because of the tourist dollars it’s attracting, but also because it’s a piece of our economic rebuilding efforts.
—John P. Murtha, U.S. Congressman (D-Penn)
The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride horseback, or bicycle. For them we must have trails as well as highways… I am requesting therefore, that the Secretary of the Interior work with his colleagues in the federal government and with state and local leaders and recommend to me a cooperative program to encourage a national system of trails, building up the more than [one] hundred thousand miles of trails in our National Forests and Parks... In the backcountry we need to copy the great Appalachian Trail in all parts of our country.    
—Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States

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