A new survey shows Northern Michigan trails generate millions of dollars for the economy.
The survey results are the first part of a three part series being put on by the Top of Michigan Trails Council. The series will examine the economic impact, the quality of life impact and the future of Northern Michigan Trails.
The Top of Michigan Trails Councils says in 2021, the Little Traverse Wheelway had over 116,000 visitors and they added around $10 million to the Petoskey area.
The survey asked people on the Little Traverse Wheelway as well as the North Central and North Western State Trails what their spending habits are and how they use the trails. When compared to a previous survey done in 2014-2015, trail usage nearly doubled and trail users are spending more money.
According to the Trails Council, trail users are spending $1.4 million directly on the trail, and another $8.5 million on lodging, retail and restaurants. The Executive Director Brent Bolin says with repairs needed, the new survey demonstrates any repairs made would be well worth it.
The second part of the three part series on the quality of life impact will be released before the holidays.
“A big part of our tourism economy is this trail network that we have in the community. Being able to tell that story and show people the value this brings is really helpful to us doing our work to get these trails developed and maintained,” Bolin says.