(Jackson, Wyo.) - This week, Friends of Pathways released the 2015 summer and fall trail and pathway user counts that show current patterns of use–such as mode, time of day, direction and gender–for 18 locations. “Count data will help to inform management decisions about trails and pathways, especially as we monitor changes over many years,” said Katherine Dowson, Friends of Pathways Executive Director. “Understanding who is using the trails, and when, will allow us to better manage our maintenance and outreach efforts as well as help to minimize user conflicts and ensure adequacy of the infrastructure.” Here are some highlights of the study: - *Walking Is The Most Prevalent Use Of Trails and Pathways:* According to the study, walkers, mountain bikers, dog walkers and runners, and road bikers are the most common summer and fall users on area trails and pathways. Walking was the most prevalent use (21.8%) with mountain biking a close second (20.2%), and walkers/runners with dogs not far behind (15.5%). - *Weekends are busier than Weekdays: *The study showed that most trails are busier on weekends, especially that loop trails and ones further from town. "Some trails, like Old Pass Road, are popular in the mornings; others, like Hagen and the Snow King Summit Trail, are most frequently used in the middle of the day; while Josie’s Ridge and Nelson Drive (Putt-Putt) are late afternoon and early evening favorites," stated the study. - *Single Use Trails Reduce Conflict:* On mountain biking-specific trails like Arrow Trail, 95.2% of users were on mountain bikes and on The Summit Trail on Snow King Mountain and Josie’s Ridge Trail, 97% were hikers or runners. "There is very little user conflict reported on these trails since they are relatively single activity in nature," stated the study. - *Most Popular Trail:* The study states that the trail with the highest use was the Snow King Summit Trail with a median count of 305 daily trail counts, 98.8% on foot. The counts were prepared by Headwaters Economics and Friends of Pathways with support from the LOR Foundation in partnership with the Town of Jackson, Teton County, and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The counts were collected to complement the Trails and Pathways Survey released in May 2015. That survey reported that nine out of ten respondents used trails and pathways in Teton County and that access to recreation and open space were highly valued by respondents. “Trail use data and counts are widely requested by recreation and conservation groups, but it isn’t easy to collect. This data is a first snapshot of what is happening in two concentrated and very popular areas: Cache Creek and Teton Pass,” said Linda Merigliano, Recreation and Trails Manager for the Bridger-Teton National Forest. “And the trends over time will be even more interesting.” See the full study here.
*Feature Photo: h/t Teton County / Jackson Hole Community Pathways, David J
Swift / Pitchengine Communities*