The Economic Impact of Rail-Trails


  • Roger L. Moore
  • Richard J. Gitelson
  • Alan R. Graefe


Green ways, Rail-Trails, Trails, Economic Impact, Durable Goods, Economic Development.


This study examined the economic impacts generated by three diverse rail-trails in Iowa, Florida, and California. Economic impacts were broken down into users' direct expenditures related to their trail visits, and users' expenditures on more durable items related to their ongoing trail use. The findings indicated that the trails resulted in modest economic gains for the trail communities through the direct expenditures made during trail visits. The additional spending on durable recreation-related items that were influenced by the existence of the trails was comparable to the new money generated by trail visits and in the case of the St. Marks Trail was nearly double the amount. Differences were found in the levels and types of these impacts among the three trails depending on the types of users frequenting each trail and the intensity of use of the trails. Based on the results, future studies looking at economic impact of rail-trails should examine both direct expenditures made during visits and expenditures made on durable items.





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