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The Economic Benefits of Trails

Trails allow communities to increase commerce, support and create jobs, increase property values, reduce commuter costs and provide low-cost health benefits by encouraging exercise. Two examples are: After just one season following the opening of the Missouri River State Trail, 61 businesses along the trail found the trail positively impacted their businesses, 11 said it strongly influenced their decision on where to locate, and 17 increased their business size. A 1995 survey of metro-Denver real estate agents found 73% believed a home near a trail would be easier to sell.
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  • Trails allow communities to increase commerce, support and create jobs, increase property values, reduce commuter costs and provide low-cost health benefits.
  • It took only one season after the opening of the 35-mile Missouri River State Trail for the trail to positively impact local communities. After one season, 61 businesses along the trail found the trail positively impacted their businesses. Eleven reported the trail strongly influenced their decision on where to locate and 17 increased their business size since the trail opened.
  • The Washington State Trails Plan estimated that trail users in Washington state spent more than $3.4 billion on equipment, which generated tax revenues of $13.8 to $27.6 million.
  • Along the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail Park in Maryland, six trail-related stores have opened and two others have re-located next to the trail to attract new customers.
  • In a 1995 survey, 73% of metro-Denver real estate agents believed a home near a trail would be easier to sell. Twenty-nine percent of those living near a trail said proximity to a trail influenced their home purchase.
  • Fifty percent of all car excursions are less than three miles, a distance that could easily be walked or biked. The use of trails instead of cars reduces gas and auto care costs and improves air quality.
  • Walking or hiking a few times per week can improve a person’s health and lower health care costs. A National Park Service study compared people who lead sedentary lifestyles to those who exercise regularly. The exercisers filed 14% fewer healthcare claims, spent 30% fewer days in the hospital, and had 41% fewer claims greater than $5,000.

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Last modified by Nate Lotze

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