NC Paddle Trails Association

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1 Successful Paddle Trails in North Carolina Carolina Thread Trail Forum Mooresville, NC December 8, 2011

2 Water trails are a rapidly growing component of the travel and tourism industry Innovative communities managing water trails can realize a financial return Case study trends indicate paddlers will spend between $27 and $63 per day

3 Water trail development creates economic and social impacts on rural communities While not a panacea for rural communities, they can help achieve goals of economic diversification and improved quality of life in communities

4 NC has over 3,800 miles of estuarine and ocean shorelines NC contains nearly 38,000 miles of rivers and creeks

5 Protected swamps, creeks and small rivers provide an ideal setting for canoes and kayaks

6 Open waters of the larger rivers and sounds provide venues for touring and sea kayaks

7 NCPTA is promoting North Carolina as a paddler s destination 2001 economic impact study of eastern NC indicated our coastal plain water trail system when combining local and nonlocal expenditures produced $103.9M impact in coastal communities (Thigpen, 2001)

8 Studies indicate most paddlers are well educated and have higher than average incomes of $75,000 (Thigpen, 2001) Average age 49

9 Paddle trails are a good mix for other community AgriTourism, AgriCultural and Eco- Tourism efforts 82% like to explore local history* 75% like to experience the local culture* 70% like to eat in local cafes* 54% want to stay at local campgrounds* 38% like to shop for local arts and crafts* *Thigpen 2001

10 A destination paddler on a multiple day paddle will spend about $88/day in a community Expenditures include: Food Lodging (including camping & cabins) Retail sales Recreation service industries

11 Communities that offer overnight lodging opportunities and access to local businesses along the paddle trail will capture additional profits A shared vision for paddle trails with existing tourism support facilities are important community considerations

12 Water trails also foster a sense of community stewardship of natural resources Good stewardship fosters area as a paddling destination 99.4% paddlers like to paddle in unpolluted waters* 99% like to hear the sounds of nature* 98.3% want to see birds* *Thigpen, 2001

13 Popular paddle trails can have an adverse affect on local citizens and should be given consideration. They include: Sharing outdoor resources/experiences with visitors More competition for local services Land values could increase

14 In most case studies of paddle trails, adjacent landowners have not been adversely impacted by trespassing Defined and identified public access points, public land and trail maps that clearly illustrate the paddle trail will help alleviate any adverse impacts on adjacent lands

15 Concerns of paddlers visiting an area include: safety being hassled by locals threat of vehicle/equipment vandalism, and low quality health care or isolation from health care

16 A successful paddle trail will require local community support and maintenance if the community is to realize maximum economic benefits Timing of the infrastructure to support the paddle trail is critical no lodging sites, retail and services will diminish local economic returns

17 Trail Guides can be web-based

18

19 Web-based trail guides Lower Scuppernong River Trail

20 Trail Descriptions PP-TY-1 Lower Scuppernong River Trail, 10 Miles Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate Difficulty: Easy Time Required: 4-6 Hours You have two options for beginning the Lower Scuppernong River Trail, the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Boat Ramp west of Columbia or the Visitor's Center managed by the Partnership for the Sounds and the new headquarters for the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Columbia. Near the beginning the lands adjacent to the river are within the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and are inhabited by the many different varieties of wildlife native to the area as well as migratory birds. It is not unheard of to spot a black bear or whitetail deer swimming across the river, as a majority of the river's banks are undeveloped. The Lower Scuppernong River Trail ends at Cross Landing, on SR 1105 near the Tyrrell/Washington County lines. Located upstream from Columbia are Riders and Second Creeks which can offer interesting side trips or a nice round trip from the Visitor's Centers. Trail map for printing (Adobe.pdf file) Access Name/Description: Latitude: Longitude: (1) NC Wildlife Resources Commission's Boat Ramp off of SR 1228 (2) Partnership for the Sounds' Visitors Center and Pocosin Lake National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, off US 64 in Columbia (3) Cross Landing Bridge on SR 1105

21 The demand for away from home canoeing and kayaking trips is projected to increase to 169 million per year by 2040 (Loomis, 1997) Day canoeing and recreational kayaking is projected to experience a 73 percent growth by the year 2050 (Settina, 2001)

22 These projected increases will provide opportunities for recreational tourism by progressive thinking rural communities Increased spending in these rural communities will improve their overall quality of life

23 Many rural communities contain the natural resources that many of today s family oriented travelers are seeking Many of these travelers are willing to pay a premium for the experience Paddle trails can add an important component mix to the overall tourism efforts

24 Many farmers participate in Farm Bill programs and many conservation programs increase natural habitats on their farms These conservation areas can provide opportunities for overnight lodging facilities for paddlers and other uses associated with agritourism and ecotourism ventures

25 Landowners willing to develop camping, rustic cabins or similar lodging facilities on their lands and are willing to shuttle paddlers from the trail to their facilities can realize economic development opportunities

26 This can also provide additional opportunities if they are already involved in some type of agritourism venture Landowners can partner with outfitters and guides by providing camping or other lodging facilities

27 Inclusion in some type of educational and interpretative services can also enhance economic development opportunities another fast growing component of the ecotourism movement Private landowners can partner with guides and outfitters to provide the interpretative component

28 Successful destinations offer a variety of accessible activities Providing this variety greatly increases the tourist draw and potential economic impact within an given area

29 Today's travel trends are for more two-tothree day trips which limits travel for recreation Most visitors will come from within a three-hour one way travel distance

30 With the ever decreasing number of farmers, partnering with paddle trail development efforts can provide opportunities for farmers to interact with non-rural citizen and share their stories

31 NC like many southeastern states are marketed as a major travel destination, this significantly increases the potential for visitors Appropriate marketing to beach goers of different recreational activities can increase economic development opportunities for those living adjacent to our coastal areas

32 The NC Paddle Trails System (consisting of 3,000 miles of paddle trails) is being promoted as a paddler s destination The system has drawn paddlers from all along the eastern seaboard, from Florida to Maine and into Canada

33 The more temperate seasons of our region offer paddling opportunities for those who live in more extreme climates Many business people who travel to the region are combining their business travel with recreational paddling

34 Studies have shown that recreationist have higher participation rates in activities that are associated with fresh water, including paddling, bird watching, other wildlife viewing and photography (NSRE, 2000/Rebach, 2001)

35 Some communities that have developed successful paddle trails were rural, facing high poverty rates and unemployment rates, below average annual wages, population stagnation and slow transitions from agriculture They had lots of amenities and were searching to diversify their local economies

36 Rural communities desiring to capture economic benefits from paddlers will need to invest in more tourist support services Must have retail, service and lodging facilities accessible near the paddle trail Without these facilities, paddlers will not spend much money

37 Common businesses that will benefit from a paddle trail destination include boat liveries and outfitters, motels, bed and breakfasts, camping, cabins, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, craft shops, and similar ecotourism and agritourism businesses

38 Other venues can include local museums, nature centers, local food and farmer markets and other cultural assets

39 The development of paddle trails will not be an effective single strategy to improve rural economic development opportunities They can however, be a tool in a community s toolbox to improve the quality of life for its citizens

40 A successful paddle trail destination community must support tourism development Individuals must be willing to make personal investments to support tourism Local entrepreneurship is critical to growing a sustainable ecotourism destination

41 A variety of events that attract visitors to the area can also help attract paddlers to the area

42 Sponsoring local paddle events are partially important as: Paddling is a social event Many new to paddling feel more comfortable trying paddling for the first time with a group or a sponsored event

43 Overnight trips are critical to maximizing economic development opportunities Maximum paddle trail economic development opportunities are realized when they are a component of a larger ecotourism strategy

44 Goals of the 2001 Economic Impact Study Determine a Paddler profile Determine paddler preferences Determine paddler impacts on: Economics Environment Quality of Life

45 Paddler Profile NC Paddle Trails Association Owns 1.6 kayaks Owns 0.8 canoes $75,000 average household income Average age 49 61% are members of outdoor or environmental groups Make 11.2 trips/year Average group size - 3.8

46 Preferences 99.4% like to paddle in unpolluted waters 99.0% like to hear the sounds of nature 98.3% want to see birds 82.2% like to explore local history 75.1% like to experience the local culture

47 Preferences continued 69.9% like to eat at local cafes and restaurants 52.4% want to stay at local campgrounds 37.75% like to look for local arts and crafts to purchase

48 Concerns of Visiting paddlers 52.2% Concerned about vehicle break-ins 23.3% Concerned about medical care 14.9 % Concerned about harassment from locals 11.6% Concerned about their safety

49 On Last Outing Miles Traveled, One Way Albemarle 104 Outer Banks 131 Pamlico Peninsula 82 Lower Neuse 80 Southern Coast 92 Cape Fear 64 Mid-Neuse 40 Roanoke/Tar 58

50 On Last Outing, Group Size Albemarle 5.05 Outer Banks 3.45 Pamlico Peninsula 5.29 Lower Neuse 4.48 Southern Coast 4.23 Cape Fear 5.44 Mid-Neuse 4.06 Roanoke/Tar 3.94

51 Primary Purpose of Last Trip: 77.0% paddling only ( ) 15.9% part of a vacation ( ) 4.3% visit family and/or friends ( ) 3.15% work related ( )

52 Average days spent paddling per trip Albemarle 2.11 Outer Banks 2.04 Pamlico Peninsula 1.89 Lower Neuse 1.80 Southern Coast 2.38 Cape Fear 1.92 Mid-Neuse 1.37 Roanoke/Tar 1.84

53 Average expenditures per paddler per trip Lodging $46.17 ( ) Restaurant/Meals $14.82 ( ) Food, Ice, Drinks $8.27 ( ) Gas, Oil, Auto $6.83 ( ) Boat Rental $8.41 ( ) Guides $53.29 ( ) Equipment Purchase $ ( )

54 Total expenditures per paddler per trip by locals and tourists Locals $33.82 ( ) Out of Region $62.06 ( )

55 Expenses Locals In Locals No Lodging Tourist Lodging Restaurant Food Other Gas, Auto Other Purchases NC Paddle Trails Association Average party night expenditures by locals and tourist from inside & outside coastal region Boat Rental Guides Eq. Purchase Tourist No Lodging

56 Perceived local QOL impacts with increased paddling activity Increasing # of Paddlers Negative Impact No Impact Positive Impact Congestion for Locals at Accesses Competition with Locals for Water Recreation Highway Congestion Noise Crime Change in Local Customs Community Pride

57 By 2000 viewing and photographing birds had become the fastest growing outdoor activity in America, attracting 50M new participants in < 20 years* Also increasing 50 to 100% were canoeing and kayaking* * Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission

58 and National Survey on Recreation and the Environment indicates America s interest in nature and nature-based recreation is strong and growing This trend has two important public policy implications

59 Public Policy Implications 1) Convert public interest in nature into active support of and engagement in conservation of natural resources 2) Use interest in outdoor recreation activities as a means of stimulating greater physical activity

60 Trails yield significant health benefits USA comprehensive health economics study showed for every $1 invested in recreational trails yielded a direct medical benefit of $2.94 (Wang et al 2005)

61 NC Success Stories Roanoke River Partners Haw River Trail Dan River Basin Association NCPTA

62

63 NC Paddle Trails Association (NCPTA) is a state-wide non-profit who mission is to empower communities in the local development, maintenance, promotion and restoration of public paddle trails in North Carolina thereby nurturing economically and environmentally sustainable communities

64 NC Paddle Trails Association Tom Potter, Executive Director 600 Lancaster Road Pikeville, NC

65 23 member Board of Directors 5 Officers of the Board 3 regional representatives: Mountain, Piedmont, and Eastern 3 county or municipal parks and recreation representatives 2 paddle club representatives 2 NC Paddle Trails Advisory Committee representatives, maximum of five at-large representatives, and one representative each from the following groups: outfitters/guides, business/industry, and environmental organizations.

66 The Association is represented by it s Executive Director Meets quarterly, video-conference at state university and community college sites All meetings open to the public

67

68 Developing Paddle Trails Develop a sign system for trail

69 Signage should also include access sites

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