100 WVIA Way
Pittston, PA 18640

Phone: 570-826-6144
Fax: 570-655-1180

Copyright © 2024 WVIA, all rights reserved. WVIA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lackawanna County Trail boosts local & state economy

The Lackawanna Heritage Trail in Scranton.
Kat Bolus
The Lackawanna Heritage Trail in Scranton.

The thousands of people who run, walk and bike the Lackawanna Heritage Trail generate millions into the local and state outdoor economy.

They’re buying snacks, like water and sandwiches and bikes and running shoes.

The Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority (LHVA) recently released the results of its latest user survey and economic impact analysis. The survey provides the organization with ideas from the community on how to make the trail better. LHVA worked with Urban Partners in Philadelphia to gather the information between 2022 and 2023. It was compared to a study from 2016.

The trail contributes $144 million to Pennsylvania’s outdoor economy with $107 million in just Lackawanna County, the analysis found.

"It helps us advocate for the importance of trails," said Owen Worozbyt, director of operations for the LHVA. "Clearly people are paying to use these resources and contributing to the local economy. That definitely helps us justify building more miles of trail."

Since 2016, LHVA has added almost seven additional miles of trail.

The study found that just over 200,000 people use the trail. That number is down from 2016. Worozbyt said the trail counters used for the most recent study are more accurate than 8 years ago.

Also, the amount of races, like 5Ks, on the trail are also down.

"It's just trends in the running community," he said.

More people are biking on trail, which runs along the Lackawanna River and through communities from Carbondale to Taylor. The heritage picks up the D&H Trail in Simpson and ends at the New York Border.

The most popular section is between Olyphant and Jermyn, followed by the Scranton section. The analysis found that while most users are from Lackawanna County, people also drive from out of town to walk, run and bike.

The survey asked users how the trail could be improved. Safety was the top priority, including crossing busy streets.

“Overall, we were able to gather a lot of input from people and get a lot of firsthand experiences of what they'd like to see done to the trail system," said Worozbyt.

Lackawanna County Commissioner Bill Gaughan uses the trail almost daily. He said its a phenomenal asset in the county. The trail makes the region a more attractive place to live, he said.

"The trail has had such an unbelievable impact on the City of Scranton, on the county as a whole," Gaughan said. "It just improves our quality of life here."

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.

You can email Kat at katbolus@wvia.org