Leaves of Money

According to a recent report for the USDA, America’s National Forest and Grasslands are not only a great place to spend your recreation time, they’re also a great place to spend your recreation dollars.  National Forest and Grasslands, by their sheer existence, are a magnet for tourism and a massive economic force.

Here are the numbers . . .

223,000 – Jobs created by forest and grassland recreation, mostly in rural areas . . .

13,000,000,000 – Dollars spent in these communities in 2010

94 – Percent of visitors who were satisfied with their recreation experience

95,000,000 – People who come to forests and grasslands primarily for physical activity

The study was conducted in 2010 with input from 44,000 visitors.  Recreation was the main reason anyone came to the national forests and grasslands.  Here is a link to the press release which also contains a link to the actual data.

The critical importance of recreation is very clear from this study.  Where the opportunities exist, people will take advantage of the chance to get outside and pursue their favorite sport or activity.  And while their in the area, they’ll spend some of their money too.  This helps keep small, local economies running.

It is probably safe to say that most of these numbers came from National Forests as opposed to National Grasslands.  National Forests are bigger, better known, and have more facilities.  But given the impressive numbers, it seems that’s all the more reason to add more recreational development to the National Grasslands.  They remain a largely untapped resource for recreation activities and dollars.  The time has come to bring them into the spotlight, and promote a new kind of outdoor adventure.

The Great Plains Trail can be a big part of that effort.

About greatplainstrail

Building the Great Plains Trail.
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2 Responses to Leaves of Money

  1. trailsnet says:

    This is good information and important information.
    So why, whenever our politicians talk about “creating jobs,” do they only mention building roads and bridges? What about trails? It seems to me that trails are a much better use of the money because they provide:
    1. recreation
    2. green & economical transportation
    3. a longer lasting infrastructure than roads
    4. a healthy alternative to roads
    5. a family-friendly gathering place

    In addition, trails are actually built by mostly human beings rather than the machinery with which most modern roads are built. So it would seem that, dollar for dollar, trails are a much better use of federal moneys than roads.

    • Agreed. Good points. Trails should be a much bigger part of the solution. Trails in urban areas that can give people an option for their commute are an excellent way to spend money and create jobs. Plus, the money comes back in the form of lower health care costs, ideally.

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