Economic Impact Study

TART Trails is proud to share the results of a year-long study of events and use of the Vasa Pathway. In 2013, TART contracted with the Traverse Area Economic Development Corporation to perform an events-based study on the Vasa Pathway, including Mud, Sweat & Beers Fat Tire Fest, the Remembrance Run, Bell’s Iceman Cometh, and the North American Vasa Festival of Races. The event data was supplemented with onsite surveys of day-use visitors to the Vasa Pathway and on-site infrared counters.

The Results

The study found the Vasa Pathway is visited more than 55,000 times a year for biking, skiing, walking, bird-watching and other non-motorized activities.

Events on the Vasa Pathway play an important role in the region and generate substantial economic benefits to the tune of $2.6 million in direct spending to the regional economy on an annual basis. A significant amount of this spending comes outside of the peak summer travel season.

Visitors spend an average of more than $3,700 per year each on equipment, lodging, clothing and other goods and services, providing $23.5 million of direct spending annually in Michigan.

This project was funded by TART Trails with support from Traverse City Tourism, Iceman, the North American Vasa, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Traverse City Track Club.

TART Trails is continuing efforts to understand and account for trail users. Counters will be paired with surveys on the Vasa, TART and Leelanau Trails throughout the year to collect baseline data to better understand how trails contribute.

Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Transportation recently released a two-phase study which identifies how bicycling contributes to Michigan’s economy. The 2014 Phase I report estimates bicycling contributes $668 million per year to the statewide economy. The study looked at the economic benefits statewide as well as  individual communities. Traverse City was a case study in the report with a total annual economic impact of $5.5 million.

Phase II of this project includes data on the economic impact of bicycling “events,” bicycle touring and Michigan as a bicycle destination. Released in the spring of 2015, the report estimates out-of-state participation in organized bicycle events contributes nearly $22 million to the State economy. It also includes a detailed analysis of the direct expenditures of six large organized events along with secondary impacts of these events.