THE BENEFITS OF TRAILS
Although many focus on recreational benefits of a trail in our community, there is a much bigger picture of how the Trail can benefit our community. Rail 66 has worked hard to ensure that all members of the community can enjoy the trail. The effects on our health – both physically and mentally – is immense. Below are the benefits of having a trail in our community.
Rail 66 is extremely proud of the fact that the paved sections of the Trail are particularly popular with handicap persons who can now join their families in enjoying the trail and its scenery. Rail 66 is wheel chair accessible at several locations along the trail. The trail is also good for those who would like an easier, flatter walk than most back-country trails provide. The original 4 mile section of the trail in Knox Township is an uneven tar and chip surface. Completion of the next segment will also create accessibility from the trail to facilities at the Farmington Township Park.
The economic benefits are already evident. A new restaurant is being opened in Lucinda close to the trail that will feature a Rail 66 sandwich. There is also a craft brewery adjacent to the trail near Marianne. Additionally, other shops and stores along the trail have seen increases in trail driven sales as more people from out of town come to experience the trail.
About 1 in 4 adults suffer from depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety or other brain or behavior disorders in any given year. Our disconnection from nature, often due to access or safety, can contribute directly to an increase in anxiety, stress, and the inability to disconnect .
When compared to health care costs for obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol and joint disorders, the cost of having a trail is much lower. According to the Center for Disease Control, the physical activity you get from walking and biking to parks can have both environmental and personal health benefits including:
* Controlled weight
* Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure
* Reduces risk of certain cancers
* Strengthens bones and muscles
* Improved mood
* Increased chances of living longer
The ability to avoid walking, running or biking on busy highways and road makes a trail highly functional to communities. As trails in different counties or townships are connected we find that we have more mobility without the use of cars.
As a community, the Trail has become part of our identity. It serves as a place to meet new people and to meet up with old friends. Many businesses and homes along the trail have an opportunity to work together with our organization to improve the Trail for everyone.
Creating trails helps us preserve nature (plants and animals) while being able to enjoy them. Trails allow us to have minimal impact on the environment. The Trail, with its community partners, will be providing information on birding, wildlife and foliage that are along the trail. This is a unique opportunity for all of us to connect to nature.