According to the 2019 Executive Summary of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, “The analysis on the benefits of trails facilitated by the Recreation and Conservation Office clearly demonstrates that trails are strong economic and health improvement drivers for every corner of Washington. Every county in Washington state benefits from walkers, runners, bikers and backpackers using our beautiful trail systems. Ninety percent of Washington residents participate in non-motorized recreation annually.”
In collaboration with the Washington Trails Association, Washington Bikes, and the University of Washington, the studies looked at the economic, environmental, social and health benefits of trails and recommended that state leaders develop more trails and use them as a way to improve health. In a nutshell, Washington trails contribute more than $8.2 billion dollars to Washington’s economy annually. These same trails support more than 81,000 jobs each year. Best of all, physical activity associated with these trails results in more than $390 million of health savings annually.Fun fact discovered while making this report include: Washington trail use accounts for 1.45% of the 2018 Washington gross domestic product. That means Washington trails created 11 times more GDP than logging, and seven-times more GDP than craft breweries.