CT Progressive Democrat

News and Views from CT State Representative David McCluskey / Democrat - West Hartford

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The first empirical study of the social and economic impact of multi-use trails in the Farmington Valley was recently completed by the Farmington Valley Trails Council. Below is the conclusion of the study. For a complete copy of the report, contact R. Bruce Donald, President of the Farmington Valley Trails Council: president@fvgreenway.org.


Comparing and contrasting other studies to the results of the Trail Utilization Study Analysis of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, Simsbury, Connecticut provided an opportunity to verify the economic impacts on the regional economy. In a full cycle of seasons covering a year, the trail attracted 110,000 visits and generated conservatively four to almost seven million dollars in revenues for Simsbury and the Farmington Valley of Connecticut. Additionally, it is a proven fact that home values rise and sales quicken when adjacent to a bike trail.

However, there is much more than just economic value in the trail system that encompasses the FCHT, (which is part of the East Coast Greenway) and the Farmington River Trail. There is the obvious health and recreational benefit. There is a very real boost to the towns involved which are able to provide such an amenity. Local residents are proud of their trail system, not only for themselves and their health, but as an advertising feature for the tourism industry of the area. The Farmington Valley Region is full of history, culture, and scenery. This group of both suburban and more rural communities has always been an attractive tourist attraction for people from all over the country to visit. The multi-use trail system however, is proving to be a huge draw. These linear greenways built on unused railroad corridors now play an important role in connecting communities. They certainly enable users to access the area on foot or bike and explore the scenic and historic landmarks. But perhaps more importantly they allow commutation to and from work, and the ability to undertake short trips in safety for the user and the environment. The trail system within the Farmington Valley can truly now be called a proven resource that enhances the region in many positive ways.