community · culture · environment · happiness · health

Parks, bikeways, other natural playful landscapes are good for the economy

English: Ritner Creek Covered Bridge near Pede...
Ritner Creek Covered Bridge near Pedee, Oregon, used as a rest stop during the Watermelon Rides organized by the Salem Bicycle Club (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Friday. I hope you get a chance to go outside this weekend. Not just because it’s good for you, but because it also helps the economy. No really, at least according to one study, and anecdotally, Oregon is seeing  ahuge economic benefit by encouraging outdoor recreation, specifically bikeways and bike tourism:

During a special hearing on bicycle tourism at the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee in Salem, OR, on May 9th, representatives from Travel Oregon released a major new report on the economic impact of bicycle-related travel. The Travel Oregon study, The Economic Significance of Bicycle-Related Travel in Oregon Detailed State and Travel Region Estimates, 2012 (PDF), looked at bike tourism’s impact throughout the state during 2012. The big number — which garnered a headline in The Oregonian and has been adjusted up since our story in March — is $400 million. That’s how much people “involved in bicycle-related activities” spent in Oregon last year.

One key reason for the ascension of bike tourism in Oregon are initiatives like the nation’s first State Scenic Bikeway program.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department named two new Scenic Bikeways that same day. They’ve got the right idea about increasing revenue by making their state fun to hang out in!

You can read more about the economic impacts, but it’s so far a pretty effective strategy to promote tourism.

environment · Nature

Last Tourist in the Woods – Health and Financial Benefits of Outdoor Tourism | LandLopers

I’m dreaming of warm sandy beaches, or high mountain meadows, and realized it’s been awhile since I’ve gone on a good, solid, outdoors-focused vacation. Apparently I’m not the only one. From the magazine Landlopers, introduced to me by the non-profit environment-and-culture group Izilwane

For more than a decade, visitation numbers at America’s National Parks have been dropping steadily. At first glance, the numbers are encouraging, around 280 million visitations in 2010. Impressive until you peel back the numbers and realize that this includes everything from people driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival attendees. The actual number of people who hike, boat, fish or paddle is much lower, and that number is not increasing.I’m not sure for the drop in numbers, but it’s disheartening. I’m just as guilty as anyone about not visiting our common inheritance nearly as often as I should.

Night sky while camping from Landlopers

more via Last Tourist in the Woods – Health and Financial Benefits of Outdoor Tourism | LandLopers.

More and more people are discovering the importance of interacting with the outdoors, even in small doses like walking down a tree-line street. And now, the one plus-side of our current Federal and State funding in a crisis is that a lot of national and state parks are offering deals to entice visitors; so aside from supporting your parks and the economy, it’s a good time to think about vacationing in the great outdoors.