Green infrastructure like trails and parks are true economic engines and provide for the economic vitality of a community—and a nation. Well-managed and funded parks and trails makes strong, economic sense and are job-creating enterprises for the economic vitality of communities and their surrounding regions.  Trails are an integral part of the outdoor recreation experience in America and stimulate business creation, influence corporate location decisions, increase property values, reduce medical costs by encouraging exercise, and generate tax dollars.  Trails also provide low or no-cost recreation opportunities and transportation options to the public. 

The annual economic value in 2016 of outdoor recreation in America is estimated by the Outdoor Industry Association to be $887 billion in spending ($201 billion directly from trail recreation) and supporting 7.6 million jobs (1.8 million jobs from trail recreation). Additionally, each year outdoor recreation generates $124.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue ($28.3 billion from trail recreation).  (Source: Outdoor Industry Association, 2017, The Outdoor Recreation Economy)


More information may be found in American Hiking Society's 2015 report, Hiking Trails in America: Pathways to Prosperity, which is available as a free download. 


Summary information along with detailed data on the outdoor recreation economy may be found in the Outdoor Industry Association's report, The Outdoor Recreation Economy, which is available as a free download.