Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    http://www.facebook.com/themissjanet Miss Janet's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-27-2002
    Location
    Erwin, Tn
    Age
    56
    Posts
    803
    Images
    30

    Default The Economic Impact of Hikers on Trail Towns

    Trail towns are important to long distance hikers for the services they provide. Nearly every hiker that attempts more than a few miles will spend some money in a trail town. This makes hikers an important economic element to the trail town. Helping communities see the economic impact that you have when you visit a town as a hiker is the first way to help that community see you as a valuable resource. This kind of education helps in towns that need more of an understanding about who hikers are and what they are doing. When communities can see hikers as more than just a "smelly hippies with backpacks and nothing better to do", they are more willing to provide the services you need.

    I recently tried to find good "numbers" to show local town officials and business owners the "average" amount of money long distance hikers are spending in town. While I could pull numbers together from different interviews, journals, etc... these numbers would only have been estimated guesses and not worth much.


    I would like to use a few polls here on Whiteblaze and try to get some better figures to use in the future. Please feel free to give me ideas, point me to resources, or make comments. PLEASE HELP ME BY RESPONDING TO THE POLLS.

  2. #2
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-04-2002
    Location
    Marlboro, MA
    Posts
    3,057

    Default Back figures

    Let's try to back figure what the economic impact might be.

    Assume that the typical thru-hiker spends $2500 during his thru-hike. Let's also assume that the thru-hike lasts 24 weeks, and that a hiker resupplies about 2 times per week. So, that's roughly 50 times. So, the economic impact per town visit would be about $50 per hiker in each trail town.

    Now, the $2500 is on the low side for most. Higher costs for those who take zero days in trail towns, and for those who use motels instead of hostels.

    How do you spend $50 in a trail town? Well, let's assume $15 for groceries, $20 for a couple of meals, $10 for a hostel and $5 for other things such as laundry, fuel, postage, etc.

    Comments?

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peaks
    Let's try to back figure what the economic impact might be.

    Assume that the typical thru-hiker spends $2500 during his thru-hike. Let's also assume that the thru-hike lasts 24 weeks, and that a hiker resupplies about 2 times per week. So, that's roughly 50 times. So, the economic impact per town visit would be about $50 per hiker in each trail town.

    Now, the $2500 is on the low side for most. Higher costs for those who take zero days in trail towns, and for those who use motels instead of hostels.

    How do you spend $50 in a trail town? Well, let's assume $15 for groceries, $20 for a couple of meals, $10 for a hostel and $5 for other things such as laundry, fuel, postage, etc.

    Comments?
    Since thru-hikers make up less than 1% of the hiker community on the AT, they should only be one part of any study. It is the weekender & dayhiker that contributes the most money in trail communities. Lots of hiking clubs meet for a meal after an outing. Families go out to eat after purchasing some gear and taking a hike.

    I'm not trying to diminish your words Peaks. What you said is valid. It's only one part of the equation however.

    Check out the following link to look at a comprehensive & scientific study on the economic impacts of recreational activity. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view the comprehensive report.

    http://www.amrivers.org/pressrelease...ic11.14.03.htm

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-20-2002
    Location
    Damascus, Virginia
    Age
    60
    Posts
    31,084

    Default

    The only business in Damascus that counts on and needs hikers is Mt. Rogers Outfitters.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-18-2003
    Location
    Mount Airy, NC
    Age
    90
    Posts
    642

    Default Economic impact

    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    The only business in Damascus that counts on and needs hikers is Mt. Rogers Outfitters.
    I've stayed at Lazy Fox B&B several times. It seems oriented primarily toward the hiking community.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-20-2002
    Location
    Damascus, Virginia
    Age
    60
    Posts
    31,084

    Default

    Not so. A lot of hikers DO stay there but tourists and Creeper Trail riders make up 99% of her business. BTW Sage, did you know Ms. Ginny's husband passed on recently?

  7. #7
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-04-2002
    Location
    Marlboro, MA
    Posts
    3,057

    Default Economic Impacts

    True, thru-hikers are only one part of the impact. To quote Dave Field, thru-hikers are a critical minority of AT users.

    I think that impact of thru-hikers is fairly concentrated. That is, it benefits a few business greatly, rather than the community as a whole. For example, it certainly benefits hostels, and outfitters. Would Winton be in business without the AT going under his porch? Would Shaws be a hostel without the AT? Obviously the business from thru-hikers was not enough to keep the small store in Carritunk open.

    With all the rerouting of AT, I wonder if any towns have lobbied to keep the AT running down Main Street rather than being routed around towns?

    I suspect that the impact of section hikers is blended in with the impact of the general tourist industry. Certainly when I do a section hike, I don't usually stay overnight in a trail town. I usually buy gas in route, and may stop food and other supplies where convienent.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peaks
    True, thru-hikers are only one part of the impact. To quote Dave Field, thru-hikers are a critical minority of AT users.

    I think that impact of thru-hikers is fairly concentrated. That is, it benefits a few business greatly, rather than the community as a whole. For example, it certainly benefits hostels, and outfitters. Would Winton be in business without the AT going under his porch? Would Shaws be a hostel without the AT? Obviously the business from thru-hikers was not enough to keep the small store in Carritunk open.

    With all the rerouting of AT, I wonder if any towns have lobbied to keep the AT running down Main Street rather than being routed around towns?

    I suspect that the impact of section hikers is blended in with the impact of the general tourist industry. Certainly when I do a section hike, I don't usually stay overnight in a trail town. I usually buy gas in route, and may stop food and other supplies where convienent.
    I agree that thru-hikers have a disproportionate economic impact based upon their numbers. That being said, how could places like Bluff Mountain Outfitters in Hot Springs survive the 9 months of the season when thru-hikers aren't all over town spending money like drunken sailors (hopefully not behaving like one however).

    Like you said Peaks (or implied), I think the economic impact of thru-hikers is greater in the South, because fewer folks have dropped out by Neels Gap, Hiawassee, and Hot Springs. I would imagine that the further north you travel, the less impact thru-hikers have on the local economy. Of course, places like Monson might be a bit skewed due to the Sobo hiker.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-14-2003
    Location
    Venice Beach, CA
    Age
    38
    Posts
    150
    Images
    9

    Default

    Hot Springs draws quite a few wealthy folks to the area with its natural hot springs and kayaking on the French Broad. Bluff Mountain Outfitters gets a ton of their business.
    Miss Janet, I would guess that hikers spend on average between $50 and $150 in town.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-18-2003
    Location
    Mount Airy, NC
    Age
    90
    Posts
    642

    Default Lazy Fox

    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    Not so. A lot of hikers DO stay there but tourists and Creeper Trail riders make up 99% of her business. BTW Sage, did you know Ms. Ginny's husband passed on recently?
    No, I knew he was sick. We stayed there when he was starting chemotherapy. Ben was a very quiet and thoughtful man, and will be missed. Thanks for letting me know.

  11. #11
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-04-2002
    Location
    Marlboro, MA
    Posts
    3,057

    Default Impact

    Keep in mind that places like Shaw's don't depend exclusively on the thru-hiker. He does a tremendous business during the fall with hunters and winter with the snow mobile crowd.

    Up north, I'm sure that snowmobilers is a much bigger boost to the entire north woods economy than us thru-hikers.

    I wonder if there is anyone who depends exclusively on thru-hikers?

  12. #12
    http://www.facebook.com/themissjanet Miss Janet's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-27-2002
    Location
    Erwin, Tn
    Age
    56
    Posts
    803
    Images
    30

    Default

    Thank you all for your responses. It is very helpful to get ideas from your comments.

    Thruhikers seem to be the largest economic factor when looking at hikers and money spent in a town. But I really want to try to gather information from all across the board from day hikers to section hikers as well as thruhikers. Thruhikers are in towns in large numbers and are very noticeable. The section hikers that stayed at the Holiday Inn, got a shuttle to a trailhead, hiked for 5 days back to Erwin, stayed at the Holiday Inn again, cleaned up and changed into street clothes, then had dinner at the Erwin Burrito... may have spent well over 100$ each. But they may not have been very noticeable.

    Trying to design polls to get the data I would need may not work out. Short simple polls may not generate the data I want. I may be doing a little more detailed survey.

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •