Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Study: Nordic sports big for Blaine

Says Nordic activities bring $6.5M annually to economy


For the Express

A recreation-sector analysis conducted by economic-promotion organization Sustain Blaine has determined that Nordic sports provide $6.5 million annually to the local economy.

According to Sustain Blaine Director Harry Griffith, the study used interviews with shop owners about sales of Nordic components, trail-use surveys conducted by the Blaine County Recreation District and telephone surveys.

The inspiration for the project came from an application to the U.S. Olympic Committee to have the Sun Valley region recognized as a Nordic Olympic and Paralympic training site.

"This impressive contribution to our economy begged the question, 'What are our other recreational resources worth?'" said Sustain Blaine spokesman Evan Lawler in a news release.


Starting in August, volunteers with Sustain Blaine and the Blaine County Recreation District started a cycling phase of the Recreation Sector Analysis by distributing cycling survey cards at local businesses and trailheads. The feedback from these cards combined with business interviews and analysis is intended to provide an accurate estimate of what cycling contributes to the local economy.

"The economic project is making good progress after the events of the summer like the U.S. Mountain bike races," Lawler said.

According to the organization, future recreational sectors include golf, alpine skiing, snowboarding, fishing, hiking and running. The culmination of the effort will be to accurately identify the significant contributors to the local recreation economy and to strategically target opportunities to improve recreational activities to benefit local business, Lawler said.

Sustain Blaine works to promote a diversified year-round economy for Blaine County.

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