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

The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. 
—William Saroyan, Nobel Prize Winner
Americans are seeking trail opportunities as never before. No longer are trails only for the ‘rugged individualists’ pursuing a solitary trek through breathtaking wilderness … users include young people and senior citizens, families, individuals and organized groups, people with disabilities and the physically fit. 
—American Trails, Trails for All Americans report, 1990
Since the bicycle makes little demand on material or energy resources, contributes little to pollution, makes a positive contribution to health and causes little death or injury, it can be regarded as the most benevolent of machines. 
— S. S. Wilson, Bicycle Technology, Scientific American, March 1973
The establishment of a nationwide system of trails will be an accomplishment worthy of a place beside other major conservation programs... The fundamental objective of a nationwide system of trails is to provide simple, inexpensive recreation opportunities for all people by having an abundance of trails for walking, cycling, and horseback riding near home, as well as providing some major historic and scenic interstate trails of national significance.    
—Stewart Lee Udall, Secretary of the Interior
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
“When modern stables are transformed into sheds or shops with racks for the steel steed – which is the coming horse and a very economical one, because it eats no oats and does not kick or cut up the road – it is absolutely necessary to provide for this new order of things. This is a fad which has come to stay, and the cyclers rightfully demand good roads or paths for their accommodation. We must therefore plan additional facilities and build practicable roads for the exclusive use of the wheel, the same as we have provided bridle paths for questrians in our parks…We must reconstruct our park roads and set aside a portion of the roadway for the exclusive use of bicycles, or make additional paths for them…Good streets  and roads will attract many people to a city or town which has them…If the townships of this island would construct excellent macadamised roads, they would double their population in a short time. The cool summer breezes and fine, level country roads would make them a perfect paradise for cyclers…Brooklyn is now seriously considering a plan for building a  system of good roads and cycling paths…which will give from twenty to thirty miles of excellent paths to the lovers of the wheel, and will prove a great attraction.”
—Charles Schieren, Mayor of Brooklyn

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