Trails provide huge boost to Grand County economy | SkyHiNews.com

Trails provide huge boost to Grand County economy

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

Keith Sanders

If you have been reading my articles you have read several times about the Master Trails Plan. I think that the Master Trails Plan is one of the most important documents our community has taken on to produce in regards to economic impact.

You now have an opportunity to see the overall vision of the plan. On April 21 Headwaters Trails Alliance is having a public meeting about the Master Trails Plan. This will take place from 4-7 p.m. at the Winter Park Town Hall. The first session is from 4-5:30 p.m.,and the second session is from 5:30-7p.m. I encourage everyone to stop in and see one of the presentations, which will be an overview of the Master Trails Plan and an opportunity to learn more about the direction trails may take in the future as well as being able to give your input.

Outdoor recreation is the key economic driver of our community. It is the main reason that most of us are here. You could be biking, hiking, running in the summer or skiing in the winter, but it all is outdoor recreation. Your decision to live here, own a second home or visit has been influenced by the quality of the outdoor recreational activities that you enjoy.

The trails we use are among our most important assets. The type and quality of those trails determine the overall experience and as a result greatly influence our local economy, be it positive or negative.

“The quality of the Master Trails Plan will direct our trail system for many years to come and will most likely be the foundation for future trail plans many years from now. Any plan can only be as good as the information and ideas of those who create it.”

Did you know that in 2012 it is estimated that Leadville generated $15,000,000 to the local economy through races and training camps? Yes, my first thought when I read this was Leadville? This is from the Leadville Race Series Economic Impact Study by the Colorado Mountain College in February of 2013. A study of the Economic Impact of Mountain Bike Events in Oregon found that the average stay of the participants was longer than four nights.

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Those numbers are very substantial in determining a rough value of what mountain biking and outdoor recreation could do to impact Winter Park and Grand County as a whole. I think that Mountain Biking could generate $100,000,000 to our local economy. That number sounds huge but when you break it down it can be achieved.

Here is that breakdown:

Average stay: 4 nights

Average daily expenditure: $200

Average of visitors per day: 1,250 (this can be county wide)

Days in a summer season: 100

Total revenue: $100,000,000

The Master Trails Plan may be one of the most important documents our community has produced. That's a pretty bold statement but it can't be overlooked, even if the $100,000,000 amount is wrong a percentage of that, it is a huge number. The quality of the Master Trails Plan will direct our trail system for many years to come and will most likely be the foundation for future trail plans many years from now. Any plan can only be as good as the information and ideas of those who create it. The Grand Mountain Bike Alliance input on the Master Trails Plan was done by taking surveys, input from riders and then having several people create what is our mountain biking vision.

Your involvement in the Master Trails Plan is critical regardless if it is a large contribution or small, be it time or financial support. The greater the input, the greater the plan. If you don't take some time to give input or time and don't like the outcome, then that is your choice. My hope is that your choice is one to contribute to the best possible plan in order to create the best possible trail experience.

I hope to see you at the Master Trails Plan meeting on April 21.

Looking for more information or want to get involved as a mountain biker? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!

Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com.

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