Article by Arkansas Business

Landscape architect and cycling enthusiast Erin Rushing returned to northwest Arkansas in 2000 after five years in Kansas City and wanted to know where the bicycle trails were.

His question was answered with a dumbfounded look. There were no trails of that kind.

Two decades later, thanks to the work of and support from myriad organizations, northwest Arkansas is teeming with cycling trails of all sizes for a variety of users. Enthusiasts are spreading the gospel statewide and the message is simple: People love cycling trails and cycling trails generate significant revenue.

A 2018 report by the Walton Family Foundation — an ardent cycling proponent — showed that cycling generated $137 million in economic benefits in Washington and Benton counties in 2017. The report detailed that $51 million was in economic activity — tourists and residents spending money — and $86 million was on health benefits from reduced mortality and lower health care costs.

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