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:

  1. Rails-to-Trails could only be found in four counties within the West Michigan policy region: Barry, Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.
  2. 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. 2003Siderelis and Moore 1995Siderelis et al. 2000).
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.