In 2010, a very telling study was conducted right in South Carolina that dealt with trails and paths. While technically the trails were already in place, it showed that the use of the outdoors may just be a good way to bring economic growth to a community.
Table Rock State Park in Pickins County, South Carolina has a two dollar entry fee. This state park is only around forty minutes away from Greenville and so they generally have quite a few visitors. In addition to the swimming and camping capabilities that are located at this park, there are also trails which people can use. There are about ten miles of these paths which range in difficulty from moderate to heavy. As can be expected, ten miles of land to upkeep can become strenuous and expensive, especially for only a two dollar entry fee.
When asked, visitors revealed that they would be willing to spend an extra $4.76 each day to access these trails. If this extra charge were to be implemented, the authors of this study calculated that the park would, on average, receive an extra $292,000 annually. This is based off of the sixty two percent which stated they would be willing to pay an extra charge and an average of the visitors they have to the park each year.
Naturally, the South Carolina Park Service, who sponsored this survey, was very interested with these results. This study was done mostly to show that the price of upkeep to a state park was well worth what the state government paid them, and that if fees were raised or implemented, even more could be done. This proved that people would not likely be turned away by a slight climb in entry fees or even pay to use areas.
Although this was not completed in Gaston County, I’m sure that you can see why we chose to speak about this survey with you. The importance that people place on these trails is great, and we hope you feel the same about them. We understand why they are so sought after, and we are sure that the vast majority of you do as well. We are thankful that you realize their importance and are willing to do your part to keep them up and running.