By Erin Caproni – Digital Producer, Cincinnati Business Courier
Mar 30, 2018, 11:25am
One Greater Cincinnati park’s trail system could be bringing $1.8 million to the region’s economy each year.
A survey of visitors to the Devou Park Backcountry Trails by the Devou Good Project was used to calculate the impact of the 12-mile trail system.
According to the survey, the trails inside the Covington park have 35,000 visits each year. Those visitors spend an average of $13 at nearby restaurants and bars following their visit along with about $1,500 per year on equipment and other related goods.
“The benefit of our trails extends beyond the known values of health and recreation opportunities for our community,” Devou Group Project member and study author Matt Butler said in a statement. “Trails are a valuable public economic asset, and as such we as a community need to invest our time and our dollars into their maintenance.”
The economic impact was calculated based on the trails’ current number of visitors and projected annual visitors totaling 50,000 or 75,000. Variables included in the calculation were spending for a local trip with no lodging, an overnight trip with lodging and spending on hard goods such as bikes, clothing and shoes.
Bicyclists who use the trails had the highest equipment-related spending at $2,567 per year, while runners spent $340 per year and hikers claimed to spend $228 per year.
The data was collected using infrared counters installed by the Cincinnati Off-road Alliance on two of the park’s main trails along with data from the Outdoor Foundation and the survey that was distributed through a variety of channels.
The survey found that most trail visitors were local but they were evenly split between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky residents, while outlying visitors came from areas as far away as Michigan, Florida and Washington, D.C.