Thanks to Brittany Henry of the Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for passing on information from the state tourism newsletter about Trails for Illinois.

Trails for Illinois‘ mission is to enhance the quality of life in Illinois by connecting the state’s communities and countryside with an interconnected, multi-use public trail network, and by promoting the use of trails for recreation and transportation (from their Facebook page Trails for Illinois).

Their latest report (press release) shows recreational paths boost local economies. The proposed Town Brook recreational trail in Jacksonville, Illinois 62650, mountain biking trails created by Jacksonville mountain bikers, and a proposed bicycle route out to and around Lake Jacksonville bring people into town, draw cyclists who spend money at  restaurants and other businesses, and give a place for healthy living. The non-profit Trails for Illinois research was on larger trails in northern Illinois, but their results imply benefits for smaller trails. Lance Brooks from the Jacksonville mountain bikers said cyclists from Petersburg and elsewhere in the region have been coming in to Jacksonville to use the Audubon Woods trails. Creating paths and routes for bicycling, running, walking, roller blading and other uses would bring people into town. And, local recreational opportunities would reduce trips to Springfield, Chatham and other trail locations by Jacksonvillians – keeping their money in the local economy.

From Trails for Illinois Making Trails Count in Illinois report . . .

  1. Economic ImpactPeople spend money locally while using Illinois trails • 35% of respondents spent money in restaurants and bars • 17% spent money in grocery stores • $1–50 was the most commonly reported expenditure • $30.40 was the average of all reported trail visit expenditures
  2. Environmental ImpactPeople are frequently spending time in nature on Illinois trails • 30%+ of trail users surveyed reported visiting the trail 21 or more times during spring, summer and fall in the past year • 1–2 hours per visit is what trail users most commonly reported spending
  3. Health ImpactPeople are using trails to maintain and improve their health and fitness • 32% of trail users expected to spend more than 150 minutes on the trail during their visit • 41% of trail users surveyed were female • 55% of trail users reported being 46–65 years old • 16% reported being 66 years old or older

Read the report for more details. Watch YouTube presentation. Support efforts of (Facebook, Twitter).

Posted by Steve Warmowski