University of Iowa

Trails Economic Impact and Master Plan

Academic Year 
2015-2016
Project Partners 

Urban and Regional Planning students created the Trails economic impact plan that provides research on the benefits of the current trails system in Decorah, Iowa and provides recommendations on how to continue expanding it as well as a presentation displaying research and results, and a poster displaying research and results. The City of Decorah, Winneshiek County, and dozens of private and public partners had worked diligently over the past several years to develop non-motorized trails, primarily in the Decorah area. The outdoor-recreation tourism generated by these trails was becoming an increasingly important part of the economy of Decorah and Winneshiek County. However, a comprehensive study of their then current and potential economic impact had yet to be completed. In addition, although several small communities in Winneshiek County would have liked to connect to the trail system in order to increase their own tourism and quality of life, there was no comprehensive plan to guide this process. Winneshiek County Conservation requested an economic impact study to measure the success of completed trails projects and help fuel planning and secure funding for future trails projects to ensure the long-term sustainability of this growing regional industry.