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The Economic Potential of the Great American Rail-Trail

Trail enthusiasts are expected to increase visitor spending along the Great American Rail-Trail by $229.4 million per year with the potential to boost rural economies, according to a new report from a nonpartisan research organization. 

In partnership with Headwaters Economics, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy conducted an economic impact analysis of the Great American Rail-Trail, which predicts significant boosts to local economies. Nearly 50 million people live within 50 miles of the trail, which is expected to host 25.6 million trips per year, increasing visitor spending by $229.4 million. The conservancy also estimates an annual tax revenue amounting to over $28 million. 

The trail’s direct impact on labor income includes things like visitor spending at local restaurants or gear stores, which is expected to amount to $60.9 million per year. Indirect impacts on labor income include supply chain boosts and…

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