Key Findings »

» Canada’s wide network of trails can help revitalize local communities’ economies and support their overall well-being. They offer outdoor tourism, recreation, and transportation space that can be used while respecting new physical distancing requirements.

» Trails provide various economic benefits. Their construction and maintenance increases income and employment in the region where the trail is built and across the country through indirect and induced impacts. Trails attract tourists and local visitors, whose spending in turn leads to other economic impacts. Trails also support local businesses and increase property values around the trail.

» Trails as green infrastructure systems provide many of the benefits of grey infrastructure, such as transportation corridors and outdoor facilities, while having additional advantages of storm-water retention, flood control, carbon reduction, pollution reduction, and preservation of natural ecosystems.

» Trails offer a relatively safe activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence from within and outside Canada indicates trail usage is increasing because it is naturally physically distanced and seen by many as safe.

» By providing safe spaces for users to enjoy physical activity and recreation, trails help to improve not only physical but also mental health. The fact that nature and physical activity have been found to improve mental health has important implications for today’s high levels of pandemic-driven mental stress.

» Evidence also shows that increased physical activity among Canadians could lead to a reduction in many chronic conditions. In Canada, 44 per cent of adults over age 20 have at least one chronic disease. Trails, therefore, could play a significant role to play in improving the health of Canadians and reducing medical costs.

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Note » This Conference Board of Canada report was completed with support from Trans Canada Trail.

Last Updated on September 21, 2020