Courtesy photo

A new economic impact analysis of the Eastern Trail located in southern Maine states the total annual economic impact of use associated with the trail is $44.6 million.

The trail goes from the state border in Kittery and ends in South Portland; a portion of the trail is located in Scarborough

The analysis was conducted by Camoin Associates  in partnership with Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission.

It is estimated roughly 250,000 people use the trail annually based on recent trail counts, and each user spends an average of $118 per day, according to the analysis. The trail also supports 364 jobs across the state, $12.5 million in earnings and $32.1 million in sales, with most sales coming from overnight lodging, food and drink, and retail items.

“While trails are undoubtedly economic drivers, in this case at the regional and state levels, they also provide other significant benefits such as opportunities to promote a healthful lifestyle, transportation alternatives via pedestrian and bicycle options for residents and commuters, and a link between communities that each add their own unique services and amenities along the trail,” said Jon Kachmar, Eastern Trail Executive director.

New portions of the trail are currently under construction in Scarborough, Biddeford/Saco, and between Kennebunk and North Berwick, totaling 16 miles.

The economic analysis also considers the impacts that will result from new trail when it is built. The analysis highlights an anticipated total statewide increase of 32 jobs, $1.6 million in earnings, $4.3 million in sales and $136,000 in tax revenue associated with building 16 additional miles of Eastern Trail.

Paul Schumacher, SMPDC executive director, said, “work is underway to better understand the larger outdoor industry’s economic impact in Southern Maine, and the Eastern Trail is an important component of our regional outdoor recreation sector.”