UConn Extension is pleased to release the latest data on how several of the state’s most popular multi-use trails are being impacted by COVID-19. The new report documents trail use during March 2020 at 13 sites on multi-use trails in Connecticut, and compares use with the same period in 2019, as one indication of the changes in trail use occurring simultaneously with the outbreak of COVID-19. “Many of Connecticut’s trails are experiencing an unprecedented level of use,” observed Charles Tracy, coordinator for the Trail Census, “The Trail Census team wanted to share these initial findings as soon as the data was available.” More than half of the participating trails recorded an increase of greater than 100% in use, compared to March 2019.
The report released today is part of an ongoing trail research project conducted by the Connecticut Trail Census, a comprehensive analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on trail use will be conducted at a later date. Other Trail Census projects in 2020 include research to estimate statewide trail use; organizing a multi-state conference on bicycle and pedestrian data collection; a new data visualization portal; and work on creating a statewide trails website.
The Connecticut Trail Census is a statewide volunteer-based data collection and education program. The program collects information about trail use through trail use counts recorded by infrared counters and user intercept surveys administered by trained volunteers. The goal is to develop an accurate picture of who uses trails in Connecticut, and to advance and inform new trail policy, design and construction throughout the state. Data is compiled annually and is available online and through public education programs.
Initiated in 2017 as a partnership between UConn Extension, Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, Connecticut Greenways Council, and local trails advocacy organizations, the Trail Census has expanded to over 20 data collection sites on trails across the state. The program receives funding from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Program. For more information, visit www.cttrailcensus.uconn.edu