Most of us are aware of the benefits of exercise and spending time outdoors, but communities that invest in hiking, biking, and walking trails often see a stronger bottom-line. A healthier workforce means less time away from work, more productivity, and more opportunities for growth for local businesses. Additionally, given the high cost of healthcare and increasingly limited insurance availability, a healthier community means fewer tax dollars spent on uninsured patients.
But there is another economic advantage to investing in walking trails and pedestrian-friendly cities. Communities that make it easier for people to walk or bicycle can also trigger economic growth. Cities that are safe and accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists attract tourism, generate traffic for restaurants and other local businesses, and increase property values. From the Hagerstown bike loop and Cultural Trail, to new development in Williamsport along the C&O Canal, to the Western Maryland Rail Trail in Hancock and towns and villages throughout Washington County, our region has made great strides toward building healthier and more economically viable communities in recent years. So go take a hike—it might just help your bottom-line in more ways than one!