Study: New Trails Can Boost Economies Of Bonner County, Other Idaho Communities

Oct 3, 2018

Sandpoint, Idaho is already a mecca for tourism. New trails could add to the economy.
Credit Headwaters Economics

A recent report looking at Bonner County in Idaho reveals – like many communities across the state – the area enjoys a lot of economic benefits from outdoor recreation and trails.

The Outdoor Industry Alliance says Idaho’s recreation industry rakes in $7.8 billion in consumer spending every year. Trail access is part of that equation and has links to higher property values, good public health and quality of life.


A report from Headwaters Economics looked at how Bonner County in North Idaho would benefit from investments in trails and outdoor recreation. The nonprofit economic research group looked at how such investments could help the Sandpoint area diversify economically.

Researchers found trail development could lead to up to $4.5 million in new visitor spending in Bonner County. That’s on top of the existing vibrant tourism economy.

Across Idaho, the outdoor recreation industry supports about 78,000 jobs, according to the Outdoor Industry Alliance.

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.