Multi-use trails bring recreational and health qualities to regions, but what is overlooked sometimes is the overall economic impact along with the increased livability that these trails can inevitably bring. This study looks into how small town south Louisiana has embraced its very own rail-trail, the Tammany "Trace," as the clear recreational jewel and envy of the region. The study looks into how the region and local communities have benefited from the facility by collecting data from the following methods:
- Spatial data for existing infrastructure in the region to create, study and compare maps
- In person interviews to local leaders
- Collecting existing yearly trail user numbers
- Intercept surveys to users of the trail over 3 days
- Housing property value comparison GIS map study
- Telephone surveys to local real estate professionals
In conclusion, the study reveals:
- Through qualitative analysis, how trailheads are the community focal points and gathering places of each city, contributing to the high quality of life and health factors that St. Tammany Parish leads the state in.
- Through quantitative analysis, estimated economic benefits of $3.356 million for direct spending and $3.9 million for indirect spending.
- The Trace may or may not factor into more desired and/or higher home values when adjacent or close to the facility currently, but it is favorable that newer generations and retirees may increasingly seek to be closer to the trail.
Overall, the Tammany Trace continues to attract visitors and be an invaluable resource to the locals who frequent it. This firmly establishes the facility as an asset economically and a vital contributor to a higher quality of life for the local communities and region.