UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
Community development increasingly focuses attention on recreational use of natural assets and the tourism development brought about by visitor spending. Throughout Wisconsin,the state parks and trails system provides important opportunities for regional tourism and its associated business growth. The parks and trails system attracts an increasingly large number of visitors who spend money in local business establishments. Furthermore, residents throughout Wisconsin are regularly impacted by visitors to their locale drawn by the available amenities found within and around their communities. The characteristics of visitors and the manner in which they result in local impacts provide the focus for this report.
A two-year study was initiated in early 1999 to study the use of the Wisconsin State Parks and Trails System and its impacts across the state. Specifically, face-to-face and written mail surveys were combined with statewide telephone surveys throughout the study period. Results provide important information on both current recreational use characteristics and trends that have been experienced over time.
The following key results suggest that the effect of the state parks and trails system on communities throughout Wisconsin is both important and complex.