Rails-to-Trails Ecosystem Service Values: Recreation
Land Use: Rails-to-Trails
Ecosystem Service: Recreation
Preliminary Value Estimate: $299,401 per mile per year
Confidence Level (in estimated value): Moderate
How was value determined:
- Rails-to-Trails could only be found in four counties within the West Michigan policy region: Barry, Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.
- The regional value for rails-to-trails recreation was transferred from three peer-reviewed studies valuing the recreational demand for rails-to-trails in five different states throughout the United States (Betz et al. 2003; Siderelis and Moore 1995; Siderelis et al. 2000).
- All three studies valued rails-to-trails on a per visit basis. The mid-range values were adjusted to per mile of trail per year by multiplying the average number of trail visits by the average county-level adult population for the region. The product was then multiplied by the total miles of rails-to-trails in the policy region.
Value estimate limitations:
- The value of recreational opportunities on rails-to-trails will vary with the availability of substitutes and local preferences and attitudes. This was not fully taken into account.
- Additionally, the per visit value transferred to this study assumed that all users were within 75 miles of the rail-to-trail. This leads to valuation errors because recreation values will be affected differently depending on proximity to rails-to-trails.
- The user numbers used to calculate this value for rails-to-trails recreation came from high-usage trails outside the policy region. The accuracy of this value estimate as applied would improve with actual or estimated use numbers for rails-to-trails within the policy region.
Allegan Barry Ionia Kent Muskegon Newaygo Ottawa
Estimated Rails-to-Trails Recreation Values
Value was not determined for this land use ecosystem service at the county-level because there were insufficient data to do so.