Study Shows Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways Program Has Significant Economic Impact

In Oregon, bicycle tourism generates significant economic impact for communities throughout the state. When a lucrative market like bicycle tourism is paired with an innovative program like the Oregon Scenic Bikeways program, the effect is multiplied.

In order to quantify the economic impact of the Scenic Bikeways program throughout the state, Travel Oregon and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) recently commissioned an independent study by Dean Runyan that found:

  • Cyclists who rode Oregon Scenic Bikeways made expenditures of approximately $12.4 million in 2014.
  • More specifically, cyclists who rode on Oregon Scenic Bikeways spent $6.9 million on accommodation and food services, $5.3 million on retail, including snacks and groceries and trip-related motor fuel, and about $182,000 on arts, entertainment, and recreation, including bicycle/cycling event fees.
  • In addition, this spending by cyclists who rode on Oregon Scenic Bikeways directly supported over 150 jobs with earnings of approximately $3.4 million.
  • This spending also generated local and state tax receipts (lodging taxes, motor fuel, and travel-generated business and personal income tax) of approximately $450,000.

The program comprises 14 designated Scenic Bikeways representing a total of 982 miles. It’s managed by OPRD in coordination with Cycle Oregon, Travel Oregon and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Read the Oregon Scenic Bikeways study in its entirety.

And now, cyclists in Oregon have two new Scenic Bikeways to explore —The Cascade Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway in Ashland and the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway in Port Orford. The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission formally approved the new designations at a meeting last month in Joseph.

“We are pleased to expand the Bikeways program to include the beauty and adventure in southern Oregon,” said Alexandra Phillips, Scenic Bikeways Coordinator for OPRD. “Both routes offer the best of the best cycling in Oregon: culture, scenery, diverse ecosystems and wonderful cycling experiences.”

The Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway passes rugged and rocky ocean views unique to the south coast and old growth forest along the federally-designated Wild and Scenic Elk River. The 60-mile ride is anchored in the quaint fishing hamlet of Port Orford, the oldest town on the Oregon coast.

The Cascade Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway incorporates 5,000 feet of steep and winding climbs through oak savannah and the ecologically diverse ecosystem of the Cascade Mountains. The 55-mile route starts in Ashland, famous for theater, fantastic dining and proximity to many outdoor recreation opportunities.

New Bikeway routes are proposed by local cyclists and selected for their scenic quality, road conditions and general riding enjoyment. Proposed routes are carefully reviewed and ridden, with only about half meeting the criteria for designation. Once designated, directional signs are installed along the route, and staff post information online for riders to plan their trip, including printable maps, elevation profiles, services and points of interest.

“Oregon recognizes the significance of bicycle tourism, as it brings around $400 million per year to the state,” said Todd Davidson, Travel Oregon CEO. “The Scenic Bikeways program highlights stunning areas to ride throughout Oregon. In addition to creating lasting memories for visitors, these Bikeways also help generate jobs in the communities they cross through.”

To access all the information bicyclists need to plan their ride, including printable maps, accommodations and amenities along all of the state’s Scenic Bikeways, visit Directional signage will be posted along the road later this summer.

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  1. Nastassja Olson