Economic Impact Study
In conjunction with the Marketing and Wayfinding Project, a trail counting effort and economic impact analysis was conducted for annual use on the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail. Economic impacts of the MVRT were projected using a computer-based model—the Money Generation Model (MGM2). The MGM2 model was developed by the National Park Service and is used to model the economic impact of national parks and other recreational assets across the country. The model demonstrates the immense value of trails and recreational assets as an economic engine, by estimating the economic impact of spending associated with trail use at the trail systems in terms of changes in jobs, tax impacts, and total sales (gross regional product).
Based on projections from the MGM2 Economic Model, trail users currently generate approximately $1,991,000 in sales, 32 jobs and $208,000 in federal, state and local taxes in the local economy each year, including direct, indirect and induced effects.
While non-local trail use is only estimated at 20% of current trail traffic volume, this visitation accounts for 67% of the total economic impacts of the trail. This highlights the critical importance of bringing additional non-local visitation to the trail to help spur economic development, and suggests that even slight shifts in the percent of non-local visitation to the trail could create a relatively large impact.
As a goal of the MVRT Wayfinding, Branding and Marketing Plan was to increase non-local awareness and use of the trail, the project projected the economic impacts of a 20% growth in non-local trail traffic volumes. For this thought exercise, they assumed current levels of local use would remain stable. Based on projections from the MGM2 Economic Model, trail users under this scenario would generate approximately $2.278,000 in sales, 36 jobs and $241,000 in federal, state and local taxes in the local economy, including direct, indirect and induced effects.