Report Highlights Trails Boost

Waitsfield, Vt. A report released today – Trails and Economic Development Report – details how recreational trails have a positive economic impact on the communities and regions in which they are located. The report, by the non-profit Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), stresses that the implementation and ongoing promotion of recreational trails projects, when accompanied by engaged local communitiesNFCT Trails & Economic Development Report cover and stakeholders, play an important role in revitalizing local and often rural trailside economies.

The Obama Administration in its 2011 America’s Great Outdoors Report highlighted the connection between an American population facing health issues related to lack of exercise and the unique opportunity communities across the nation have in implementing and coordinating recreational trails into the fabric of their communities. The newly released Trails and Economic Development Report complements the significant community health dimensions of recreational trails by making the case for the broader community economic vitality that recreational trails can also deliver.

According to the report, which was made possible with funding from USDA Rural Development, trails serve as a community amenity that not only attracts visitors, but also provides the kind of community resource that attracts and keeps new residents, and helps build community pride and well-being.

Kate Williams, Executive Director of NFCT and one of the lead authors of the report, says that this report summarizes existing data to show that, "trails can be good business for communities rich in natural resources. When done right, trails can provide a stable framework from which communities can engage in long-term planning around a whole suite of issues."

In one example given in the report, trails are the number one amenity influencing homebuyers aged 55 and older.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail connects 45 communities along its route and the report showcases examples of how this water trail has led to collaboration and shared benefits amongst a broad array of interests, including tourism agencies and service providers like inns, outfitters and retail stores. Specifically, the report demonstrates that trails are an increasingly important part of the economic mix in trail communities.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740-mile inland paddling trail tracing historic travel routes across New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire, and Maine. Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Inc. is internationally regarded as the preeminent water trail organization in North America, and connects people to the Trail’s natural environment, human heritage, and contemporary communities by stewarding, promoting, and providing access to canoe and kayak experiences along this route.

The report can be viewed at

Media Contact:
Kevin Mack, Director of Marketing and Partnerships
Northern Forest Canoe Trail


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