Monday, February 24, 2020

Shared fron the Everett Herald News: New study: State’s trails are more than worth the investment

At our recent Trail Coalition of Snohomish County board meeting our Hiking representative referred to an article she found in the Washinton Trails Association newsletter.  On the following Sunday the Everett Herald published a more in depth article which included discussion of methods used and links to more detailed data and maps:


New study: State’s trails are more than worth the investment

Research shows that our state trails boost the economy and improve hikers’ physical and mental health.
  • Everett Herald News, Sunday, February 23, 2020 8:32am
  • By Jessi Loerch / Washington Trails Association

The author, Jessi Loerch, starts by writing:

Hikers have long known that time spent on trail is good for them. It’s great exercise, it boosts mental health and it’s a way to connect with the people you love.
A new study from 2019 shows that hiking is not only good for your health, it’s also good for local economies across the state.
“This study proves that getting out in nature is a more than a hobby,” said Jill Simmons, WTA’s chief executive officer. “It is good for our minds and bodies. And when you consider the economic and health benefits, it is clear we need to invest more in our trails and public lands.”

 There are two very useful links at the end of the article for anyone wanting to understand more details about the economic values the research has attributed to trails:
 


More about the study
The new study, “Economic, Environmental, & Social Benefits of Recreational Trails in Washington State,” was released by the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office. The study was conducted by ECONorthwest in collaboration with Washington Trails Association and Washington Bikes. The study is in two parts: an economic analysis of the benefit of trails and a literature review of the health benefits of time on trail and in nature. See the full study at bit.ly/trails_study.
An interactive website
To make the study even more powerful for decision makers on a local level, this website shows the economic and health benefits of trails broken down by county and by legislative district: econw.shinyapps.io/econ_wa_rec_trails

As this blog and the board is interested in promoting the value of trails to Snohomish County we were interested to note that the linked data from the study indicates that a comparison of Skagit County with Snohomish County shows Skagit county having almost double the net economic benefit of non-motorized recreation trails compared with Snohomish County, despite the fact that Snohomish County is 3 times larger.  One indication of this difference gleaned from the data is that Skagit County shows a much larger number of people employed in jobs directly connected to recreation trails.  This is probably related to the fact that Skagit County is a home for much of the staff for North Cascades National Park and Recreation Area.  Snohomish County has a similar number of miles of trails compared with Skagit County, but a big proportion of the Snohomish County trails are US National Forest trails.  The National Forest has a much smaller staff employed in connection with trail management than does the North Cascades National Park.

As advocates for non-motorized long distance trails, when TCSC (AKA Centennial Trail Coalition) board members have had the opportunity to meet with Snohomish County and Washington State representatives,  one of our consistent points is to encourage our representatives and council members to support funding for on the ground trail workers, rangers and maintenance staff.  This article shows that such funding reaches directly back to our local communities' economic and physical heath.  Dollars spent on employing trail workers double their value directly to our people.

Friday, February 7, 2020

An invitaion from Leafline Trails Coalition

Members of our Snohomish County Trail Coalition have been attending a regional group effort facilitated by King County, exploring the need for a larger regionally connected organization that will promote regional trail connections.  The organization has chosen the name Leafline Trails Coalition.

King County Parks, Snohomish County Parks and Tourism, and Metro Parks Tacoma are part of this effort to improve community connections and resources for finding trails and perhaps to focus a regional strategy that will help the trails and trail users.

Here is a part of their latest outreach:

Welcome to the Leafline Trails Coalition!

Leafline Trails sign

We've got a new name and look

Thank you to everyone who gave feedback on logos. We’re excited to unveil the final logo and start using it and our new name. Since regional trails are now the Leafline Trails Network, that makes us the Leafline Trails Coalition!
It’s time to start implementing our new style out on the trails. Next week's meeting will largely feature a presentation and workshop by Alta Planning + Design about how to make our trails more accessible and welcoming through wayfinding. After the presentation we'll discuss barriers and strategies to getting improved wayfinding with our new look and feel out onto our trails. Since the majority of the meeting will be focused on this subject, you can find general Coalition business updates below.

Join us at the next Leafline Trails Coalition meeting at Mercer Island Community Center, February 13, 10 a.m. to noon. Add it to your calendar!

Monday, October 28, 2019

WSDOT Online Active Transportation Plan and map resource

This outreach came in from Washington State Department of Transportation.  It should be of interest to those of you who would like to investigate and perhaps comment on plans the State is working on to enhance and improve Active Transportation.  If you go to the online open house I would especially recommend following the link to the maps being developed to show “Level of Stress” for pedestrians and bicyclists on State routes and major highways.  They are interesting to investigate and could be useful resource for planning walking and bicycling activity for places you might like to go and are unfamiliar with.   There is also an option to submit comments.



Washington Active Transportation Plan

Visit us online! 

Our online open house is now live and ready for you to read and respond by Nov. 30. What you'll find there:
  • Upcoming events where you can talk with WSDOT staff about active transportation
  • Our state routes analysis: How we're creating decision-making tools to help us identify and prioritize future changes
  • Maps for your feedback: State routes color-coded by Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) and a form for your comments about what you think of this approach. (What is LTS anyway? We explain in the online open house.)
  • A questionnaire that asks:
    • Information about you to help us understand whether we have received responses from a sample that represents all Washington residents.
    • What you do for transportation
    • What prevents you from using active transportation more often
    • What would make it more likely that you would walk, bike or roll
    • What’s unique about your community or region
    • What’s most important for government to focus on for future changes to the transportation system that affect walking, bicycling and rolling
Send this link to everyone you know: http://bit.ly/WSDOT-ATP-Online-Open-House