Development of the Island Line into a regional world-class trail offers many benefits to the local communities:
A 2002 report by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Champlain team indicated that the trail's economic impact was $1.5 million per year – with a much greater benefit once key upgrades such as the bridge and a ferry across the cut are completed. At that point, the report concluded the trail would be "world-class." (Source: Island Line Trail: Analysis of Economic Impact, Leadership Champlain, 2002)
With the future connection to the islands, Lake Champlain Bikeways can market this spectacular off-road route between the orchards and vineyards of the islands and Burlington's vibrant waterfront to a growing number of activity-oriented baby boomers.
Recent on-path surveys indicate that 20% of trail users are from more than 50 miles away – demonstrating that this trail is an emerging regional attraction and benefits local hospitality, restaurant and related industries.
Multi-use trails are safe places for residents of all ages and abilities to enjoy a wide range of low-impact exercise. 6% of all Vermont residents live within a mile of this trail.
Vermont is facing an obesity epidemic with 26% of VT children now overweight. (Source: Governor Douglas' Fit & Healthy Kids Initiative fact sheet)
The Governor’s health initiative goes on to report that "there are fewer opportunities for physical activity in schools and, more often than not, young people are driven to activities rather than walking or biking to get there."
Trails are well-loved linear parks – public spaces where friends and strangers meet, where families enjoy quality time together, and people of all backgrounds come to unwind and relax. The trail hosts an estimated 150,000 visitors every year.