Understanding visitation to Minnesota’s parks and trails is essential for planning, programming, and investment decisions. Visitation estimates generally rely on methods such as intercept surveys, in-field visitation counts, and automated trail counters. Visitation estimates using passively-generated data sources may offer opportunities to complement existing strategies.
This project used aggregated and anonymized location-based services (LBS) data to estimate and evaluate visitation to Minnesota parks and trails. LBS data gives information about when and where people travel. This approach provides unprecedented detail about how visitors use parks and trails and broadly describes who those visitors are. Visitation and use patterns can be analyzed at annual, monthly, weekly, and hourly time intervals. This data makes it possible to understand how people travel to parks and trails and where they are coming from. This data is intended to supplement, but not replace existing data used for decision making.
In addition to the full report published previously, this project has been enhanced by an interactive webpage. The webpage simplifies the reading of the report by breaking it into sections for an overview, parks, trails, frequently asked questions, etc. Each section also includes interactive pieces to all the viewer to look at results for individual parks and trails or to view the information for just the MN Department of Natural Resources parks and trails, the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails, and the Twin Cities Metro parks and trails.
This project was created by a collaboration of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, and ten metropolitan regional park implementing agencies. This project used funds from the State of Minnesota Parks and Trail Legacy Fund.
Minnesota Parks and Trails Usage Report Website
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