The Recreational Value of the Little Miami River Corridor

Little Miami River Corridor

Report Executive Summary

The Little Miami Watershed Network and the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at The Ohio State University recently worked together to determine the value of outdoor recreation in the Little Miami River corridor.  This report presents the results of that study, which focused on the 43 mile stretch of river north of Oregonia, Ohio. The study took place from April through October 2021 and focused on recreation that occurred near a set of 45 parking lots used by visitors. Over the course of the 7-month period, volunteer enumerators visited the sites at randomly determined times three days per week to count the number of cars and to leave a contact card on each car. The contact card requested an individual older than 18 to respond to an online survey providing additional information about their home zip code and their recreational activities. The resulting data allowed us to estimate the number of visitors to different sites, their activities, and the value of their recreation. Based on the data we collected:

  • There were 806,446 trips to the 45 sites we surveyed.
  • These trips were worth $12.04 per trip on average.
  • Total recreational value for visitors was $9.7 million per year.  When trips to the canoe liveries using the same stretch of river are included, recreational value is estimated to be $10.1 million per year.
  • Across 43 river miles studied, recreation generates $233,256 per mile per year in benefits.  These benefits are $2,325 per acre per year, suggesting that public land is worth $46,501 per acre in asset, or purchase, value.
  • In addition to recreational value, this stretch of river, and its associated parks, generates $4.8 million in commercial activity for local businesses, or $111,628 per river mile per year or $1,116 per acre of public land per year.  
  • The largest number of trips and highest aggregate value lies in hiking and walking, with bike riding on paved trails a close second, followed by fishing and paddling, and birding.
  • The largest number of trips occurred in May and June. The northern part of the river, which includes the Village of Yellow Springs, Glen Helen Nature Preserve, John Bryan State Park, and Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve had the largest number of visitors throughout the season
  • Xenia Station and the Corwin bike parking lot had the highest recreational value for biking, with Yellow Springs having the third highest value. 
  • Yellow Springs had the highest value for hiking, followed by John Bryan and Narrows Reserve.
  • Mill Bridge had the highest value for water sports, followed by Narrows Reserve, Beatty Station and Constitution Park.

The below webinar celebrates this important natural asset and presents the results of the study mentioned above, that was conducted by citizen scientists, the Little Miami River Watershed Network and The Ohio State University, to determine the extent and value of recreational uses in the northern stretches of the corridor. Click here to download the full report >>>>>