Earlier this morning, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Pat
Tomes addressed a United States House of Representatives legislative briefing in Washington, D.C. on the economic
benefits of rail-trails and trail development across America.
RTC's user survey and economic impact data work, which has
put hard numbers behind otherwise anecdotal evidence that destination
rail-trail do support and boost local economies, continues to grow in
significance as trails advocates ramp up efforts to make sure the nation's elected
officials and leaders understand the true value of investing in trails.
Tomes presentation on Capitol Hill today was part of the
American Hiking Society's "Hike the Hill" event, which aims to bring trail
development issues to the attention of federal lawmakers. American Hiking
Society tapped RTC to lead the presentation as the only national trail
organization with a long history of recording and studying the impact of trails
tourism and local trail use.
"The reason we began concentrating on gathering trail user
data and calculating the fiscal impacts of trail tourism years ago was exactly
for moments like this," Tomes said. "When our senators and representatives, and
governors and officials at the state level too, begin making decisions about
the value of the Recreational Trails Program and Transportation Alternatives,
and whether to make room in their budgets for trail development, they need
understand the real equation. Communities all over America will tell you these trails
are not frivolous things. There are thousands of main street businesses, small
communities, local entrepreneurs, who are making a go of it only because of
their local rail-trail or trail system. That is what federal investment in
trails really means, before you even start considering the health benefits, the
transportation capacity, and the environmental benefits."
For more on RTC's trail user surveys and economic impact
data, visit http://community.railstotrails.org/media/tags/economic+impact/default.aspx
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
Washington, DC 20037