BOISE, Idaho — A national conservation group released the results of a study Monday showing rural towns place as much importance on bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure as larger cities.
Kevin Mills is with the Rails to Trails Conservancy and co-author of the study. He believes there is a misconception that walking and biking trails are needed only in big-city locations.
The report shows a lot of rural communities like Wallace, Idaho utilize walking and biking trails as much as large cities like Boise or Portland.
Rick Shaffer operates a hotel in Wallace, located in Idaho’s northern panhandle. Miles of walking and biking trails have the economic benefit of keeping visitors an extra day or two.
“I would say it’s 18 to 20 percent of our business in the high months of July and August - if not more. It’s just an incredible facet that has added to the economic development in historic Wallace.”
The study concludes that when political leaders think rural communities don’t need walking and biking infrastructure, they are unlikely to fund programs like the one in Wallace.
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