2015 Trail Surveys Show Growing Interest in Outdoor Recreation and Trail Amenities

IMG_0100In 2015, the Trail Town Program® conducted two surveys to collect data from trail users. The General Trail User Survey took a broad approach and looked at trail users across the country. Trail construction has been increasing across the United States. With millions of users utilizing these trails, they have the potential to generate significant economic impact in communities and cities that they run through. The purpose of this survey is to determine what trail users are looking for based on information and feedback related to usage.

Trail Town Program® has previously conducted surveys along the Great Allegheny Passage which has provided comparable data for the General Trail User Survey. The survey was conducted online only, receiving responses from 804 users across the United States. Respondents of this survey represented 42 states and the District of Columbia. The majority were also male, between the ages of 46 – 55. 33.8%.of respondents used trails more than once a week.

Some key highlights from this survey include:
• Respondents traveled an average of 23.7 miles per visit
• 81.3% of respondents are looking for Restaurants/Café and 80.2 are looking for public restroom/ water during their trips
• 76.6% of respondents were more likely to patron a business that has bike racks/bike storage
• For food options 65% were looking for local/regional favorites and 57.5% were looking for locally grown or raised
• 84.2% of respondents typically found out about business or attractions through internet and social media

The other sample survey completed was the Trail User Survey along the trails that make up the Main Line Canal and Trans-Allegheny Trails. 199 intercept surveys were collected over a span of four months. The respondents represented over 55 unique zip codes. The majority of these zip codes were from Westmoreland County, Indiana County, Cambria County, and Allegheny County in Pennsylvania. There were also zip codes from other states including Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Of the 199 surveys, the majority of the respondents were male at 64% and 73% were 44 years and older.

Some key highlights from this survey include:
• 61% of respondents found out about the trail through word of mouth
• 80% of those surveyed said if nearby trails were connected they would consider a long or multiple day trip
• 67.5% of respondents were looking for restaurants/cafés
• On average, each person spent about $10.22/day mostly on meals, snacks, or beverages

To read the report for each survey that was completed, please visit the Economic Research section.