Katy Trail: $18.6 million annual economic impact according to new Missouri State Parks study

A new economic impact study by Missouri State Parks shows that the Katy Trail is used by about 400,000 people annually and brings $18.5 million in economic impact to the state. 

That's a pretty good return on investment:  The Katy Trail cost $6 million to build originally and a small fraction of that in maintenance and upkeep each year.

Here are some of the highlights from the report.

Total economic impact: $18.5 million

  • The total economic impact of $18,491,000 [in 2011] included both direct and indirect spending, which supported 367 jobs with a total payroll of $5,128,000.
  • 400,000 annual users
  • The $10,432,000 in direct spending in and around the Katy Trail in 2011 breaks down this way: 
    • $4.353 million (42%) retail trade 
    • $2.648 million (25%) restaurants and bars 
    • $1.950 million (19%) overnight visitor lodging 
    • $358,000 (3.4%) other vehicle expenses 
    • $715,000 (6.9%) wholesale trade 
    • $202,000 (1.9%) sporting goods 
    • $86,000 (0.8%) gas & oil 
      Katy Trail map - Missouri State Parks
      Katy Trail map - Missouri State Parks
    • $67,000 (0.6%) admissions and fees 
    • $47,000 (0.5%) groceries, take-out food/drinks, snacks, water, beverages 
    • $5,000 (0.05%) clothing 

Visitors - where do they live, how long do they stay? 

Katy Trail
Katy Trail

  • 34% of visitors had income of $100,000 or more, 31% completed a four-year degree, and 97% were Caucasian
  • About 33% of Katy Trail visitors surveyed were local [living in a zip code adjoining the trail] and about 67% were nonlocal. 
  • About 73% were day visitors and 27% spent the night near the Katy Trail. 
  • About 93% of visitors were from Missouri, 6% from out-of-state. 
  • 21% of visitors were first-time visitors.
    • First-time visitors spent significantly more money than returning visitors and were more satisfied with the Katy Trail than returning visitors.

Visitor spending ranges from $11 to $297 per person per trip

    • Local day visitors (31%) spent on average:
      •  $17.54 per party per trip. 
      •  $11.33 per person per trip. 
      •  $309 in the past year on bicycles, bicycle supplies, clothing, shoes, and other trail-related expenses. 
      •  On average, trip expenses covered 1.52 people (1.43 adults and 0.09 children) 
    • Nonlocal day visitors (44%) spent on average:
      •  $55.53 per party per trip. 
      •  $30.05 per person per trip.
        Katy Trail
        Katy Trail
      •  $355 in the past year on bicycles, bicycle supplies, clothing, shoes, and other trail-related expenses. 
      •  On average, trip expenses covered 1.98 people (1.88 adults and 0.10 children). 
    • Hotel, motel and B&B visitors (14%) spent on average:
      •  $700 per party per trip. 
      •  $297.30 per person per trip. 
      •  $280 per party per night. 
      •  $122.60 per person per night. 
      •  $503 in the past year on bicycles, bicycle supplies, clothing, shoes, and other trail-related expenses. Breakdown:
        • About $290 on bicycles. 
        • About $94 on bicycle supplies, significantly more than nonlocal day visitors. 
        • About $61 on clothing, significantly more than local day visitors. 
        • About $21 on shoes. 
        • About $36 on other trail-related expenses
      • On average, trip expenses covered 2.54 people (2.37 adults and 0.17 children). 
    • Campground visitors (10%) spent on average:
      •  $231 per party per trip. 
        Governor and First Lady Nixon walk on the Katy Trail
        Governor and First Lady Nixon walk on the Katy Trail
      •  $141 per person per trip. 
      •  $84 per party per night. 
      •  $43 per person per night. 
      •  $375 in the past year on bicycles, bicycle supplies, clothing, shoes, and other trail-related expenses. 
      • On average, trip expenses covered 2.15 people (1.69 adults and 0.46 children).

    What do visitors do? 84% bicycle, 20% walk, 19% visit a small town, 13% visit a winery

    • 87% of respondents said the Katy Trail was the main reason for their visit to the area.
      • 84% of visitors participated in bicycling. 
      • Average distance biked was 46 miles per trip. 
    • 20% of visitors participated in walking.
      • Significantly more local visitors walked, as compared to nonlocal visitors.
      • Average distance walked was 1.23 miles. 
    • 19% of visitors visited a small town along the trail. 
      Boy crosses Missouri River on the Katy Trail
      Boy crosses Missouri River on the Katy Trail
      • Significantly more nonlocal visitors visited a small town, as compared to local visitors. 
    • 13% of visitors visited a local winery. 
    • 12% of visitors visited a historical attraction related to the Katy Trail. 
    • 10% of visitors went shopping/antiquing. 
    • 9% of visitors ran or jogged on the Katy Trail. 
    • 4% of visitors visited friends and relatives in the area. 
    • Less than 1% of visitors participated in horseback riding on the Katy Trail. 
    Details about biking & walkings trips: Average bicycle trip, 46 miles
    • 15% of visitors traveled one way on the trail and 84% traveled out and back.
    • Bicycling
      • The average distance traveled on a bicycle was 46 miles per trip. 
      • First-time visitors biked an average of 97 miles, as compared to returning visitors who biked an average of 39 miles. 
        Youth group on the Katy Trail
        Youth group on the Katy Trail
      • Nonlocal visitors biked an average of 55 miles, as compared to local visitors who biked an average 27 miles.
      • 84% of respondents participated in bicycling.
        • 90% of nonlocal visitors participated in bicycling, as compared to 72% of local visitors. 
        • 80% of day visitors participated in bicycling, as compared to 97% of overnight visitors. 
        •  86% of nonlocal day visitors participated in bicycling, as compared to 70% of 
        • local day visitors. 
        • 97% of overnight hotel, motel, and B&B visitors participated in bicycling, significantly greater than both local and nonlocal day visitors. 
        •  99% of overnight campground visitors participated in bicycling, significantly greater than both local and nonlocal day visitors. 
        • 89% of “very familiar” visitors participated in bicycling, as compared to 81% of “not very familiar” visitors. 
        • 94% of parties of three of more participated in bicycling, as compared to 84% of parties with two people and 74% of parties with one person.
    • Walking
      • The average distance walked was 1.23 miles. 
      • The average distance jogged/ran was 0.52 miles. 
        Hikers on the Katy Trail by Ranj Niere
        Hikers on the Katy Trail by Ranj Niere
      • The average distance walked with a pet/dog was 0.35 miles.
      • 20% of respondents participated in walking.
        • 35% of local visitors participated in walking, as compared to 13% of nonlocal visitors who participated in walking.
        • 24% of day visitors participated in walking, as compared to 10% of overnight visitors who participated in walking. 
        • 36% of local day visitors participated in walking, as compared to 15% of nonlocal day visitors, 11% of overnight hotel, motel and B&B visitors and 7% of overnight campground visitors who participated in walking. 
        • 29% of single-person parties participated in walking, as compared to 21% of parties of two people and 12% of parties with three or more people. 

    Satisfaction with trail amenities and trail communities

    Only 25% were very satisfied with food/grocery options and only 22% were very satisfied with bicycle repair/maintenance services, two issues that are of high relative importance to visitors. Only one in five was satisfied with campgrounds and shuttle services, 37% of respondents were very satisfied with the condition of the trail surface. 

    Katy Trail riders
    Katy Trail riders

    • Important trail-related attributes that are not performing well and are in need of improvement include:
      • Condition of trail surface.
    • Important community-related attributes that are not performing well and are in need of improvement include: 
      • Food/groceries. 
      • Drinking water availability in the communities. 
      • Bicycle repair/maintenance services.

    Information is quoted, summarized, and re-organized from the Katy Trail Economic Impact Report, Visitors and MGM2 Economic Impact Analysis, July 2012, commissioned by the Missouri State Parks. Please read the entire report for methodology, details, and much more information about the Katy Trail's economic impact.

    Photo credits:

    • Katy Trail map - courtesy Missouri State Parks
    • Governor and First Lady Nixon on the Katy Trail - courtesy Governor's office
    • Hikers on the Katy Trail - courtesy Ranj Niere
    • All other photos - Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation

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