Decrease in health care costs to the individual and state and local government
This presentation will focus on trail-related tourism and its economic impact Meyersdale, PA trailhead for the Great Allegheny Passage
Multi-Use Trails provide an opportunity for trail-related businesses to flourish The economic impact of rail trails can be seen in newly created businesses and expansion of existing businesses to accommodate increasing demand for services related to travel, tourism, equipment, and souvenirs.
EXAMPLE:Mineral Belt TrailLeadville, CO In 1999, the mine near Leadville, CO closed down, resulting in high unemployment and economic recession. The community chose to redefine itself as a tourism destination and worked to convert an abandoned rail corridor into a multi-use trail. Following the trail’s opening , the city of Leadville, CO reported a 19% increase in sales tax revenues.
Bike Shop along the Silver Comet Trail EXAMPLE: Silver Comet Trail, Georgia The Mayor of Rockmart, GA quote to to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “In the last 12 months we’ve had more tourists than in the last 30 years. Before, there wasn’t anything to bring them here.”
Business located next to Cape Cod Rail Trail A 1993 survey: 38 businesses along the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Massachusetts found that 24 percent of the business owners cited the rail-trail as one reason they opened or acquired their business. 60 percent of the businesses expanded their business and of those, one-half considered the rail-trail a prominent factor in this decision.
Great Allegheny Passage connects Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA EXAMPLE: Great Allegheny Passage, MD and PA
31 businesses started as a direct result of the trail
In 2009, the trail generated $40 million in economic income.
Trail user numbers have increased from from 150,000 in 2002 to more than 1 million in 2010
Bed and Breakfast in downtown Meyersdale Meyersdale Mill Shoppes – former mill with 65 shops Trail-related businesses along the Great Allegheny Passage
Trailside café and shops Hiker/biker hostel Trail-related businesses along the Great Allegheny Passage
Demographics of the Multi-use Trail User Average age is 45 Significant numbers of retirees college educated Average income well over $100,000 annually 50% men/50% women
Trail Users Prefer a Heritage Experience Trail users are looking for a unique experience that combines recreation, physical health, and an exploration of their American heritage. Surveys show they prefer to stay in bed and breakfasts or cabins. They are seeking an experience than cannot be easily replicated.
Indian Head’s OustandingAssetts Extensive history including Native Americans, War of 1812, Civil War, Naval base establishment Charming, small town atmosphere Village Green with Pavilion Indian Head Rail Trail Located along the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail route connecting Woodbridge, VA to Pittsburgh, PA Mattawoman Creek and the Potomac River Mattingly Park Black Box Theater
Small Towns like Indian Head appear to benefit the most economically from trails “The rural trail that passes through town centers may perhaps enjoy the largest economic impact of all the trail types. The rural trail tends to have fewer road crossings than the other trail types, following the course of a rail corridor that frequently skimmed the edge of a creek or farmer’s hedgerow….the rural trail that passes through or stops and ends in small town centers and becomes a focal point may appear to have greater economic impact...” --Excerpt from 2009 RTC study of 14 Mid Atlantic rail trails
What will it take for Indian Head to reap the economic benefits? Good information, directions, and safe access to the trail A marketing strategy utilizing social media A bike/ped/visitor friendly atmosphere Visitor friendly businesses Utilization of partnership at all levels of the public and private sector Ability to respond quickly and effectively to a sudden opportunity Creativity and determination
Indian Head Rail Trail - Endless Possibilities…