Benefits of Recreational Trails in Washington

ECONorthwest evaluated the economic, environmental, and social benefits of non-motorized recreational trails in Washington State for the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office. This analysis describes and quantifies the many benefits associated with walking, running, biking, hiking, and backpacking on trails in Washington.

ECONorthwest used data from the Washington State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and 519 different on-site counts throughout the state. In total, residents and visitors spend approximately 292 million days per year on recreational trails. ECONorthwest then developed participation estimates for every county and legislative district within the state to calculate the economic contributions, health savings, and recreational-use values associated with non-motorized trail use in Washington.

Next, to understand how non-motorized trails affect regional economies, the report includes two case studies: The Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail and Lake Serene Trail. The report concludes with a set of recommendations for how to leverage trail resources to support expanded economic activity and increased benefits for current and future Washingtonians.

View the report here.

View results by geography here.


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Benefits of Recreational Trails in Washington