Economic Impact of the Ice Age Trail

More than 1.25 million people use the Ice Age Trail year round. Hikers, business owners, and government partners agree that the Trail is a great benefit to Wisconsin’s tourism and recreation industries.

To get some hard numbers for this topic, we, together with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, UW-Whitewater Fiscal and Economic Research Center and other partners, undertook a survey of trail users and businesses along the Ice Age Trail.

Economic research models determined that the Ice Age Trail draws an estimated 1,252,685 visitors every year. Trail users contribute approximately $113 million annually to statewide and local economies. Further research findings are detailed in the final report [PDF].

One of our partners, Gathering Waters, published a blog post on the economic impact of outdoor recreation and the role of land trusts.