Trails offer numerous aesthetic and recreational opportunities, as well as commuter options for traveling to and from destinations in Wahoo.  Residents who desire to bicycle or walk to work or school, go for a family bicycle ride to the park, library, or aquatic center will benefit from safe, connecting trails.  Trails often help raise property values, provide common space for social interactions, improve overall community safety, and encourage healthy lifestyles.  They can also improve over-use conditions in sensitive environmental areas when designed properly.

A high-quality trail system is a marker of a community that is truly great to live, work, and play in.  The Wahoo Master Plan (referred to as the Plan) uses the term ‘trail’ to describe shared use paths, multi-use trails, and hiking pedestrian paths designed for non-motorized usage.  Trail users may include but are not limited to: bicyclists, non-motorized scooters, in-line skaters, users of other wheeled devices like Segways or electric assist-bicycles, roller skaters, wheelchair users (both non-motorized and motorized), walkers, and runners.

Wahoo has many opportunities to develop a quality trail system.  There are a number of opportunities to create a unique trail system on abandoned railway corridors and to develop trails as Wahoo continues to grow.  As part of the development of the Plan, the Trails Committee analyzed potential trail corridors, connecting points, destination locations, and future residential and commercial growth areas.  The Plan recommends creating connections between schools, public facilities, local neighborhoods, parks, and the downtown business district in Wahoo as well as the future Lake Wanahoo site.  The possibilities for trail development and growth are tremendous.

Click here to view the Wahoo Master Trails System map as is currently proposed.


Recreational Value and Health Benefits

The recreational value of trails are often their foremost attraction.  In addition to the entertainment values of recreation, there is a significant health and fitness benefit as most recreation activities on trails involve exercise.  This health benefit accrues to the individual, and, in the form of reduced health-care costs, to society as well.

Transportation Enhancement and Safety Benefits
Serving as transportation corridors, trails encourage pedestrian and bicycle commuting as an alternative to automobile commuting, thus reducing traffic and congestion on roads, and reducing fuel consumption and its associated pollution.  Again, there is a health benefit in choosing this mode of transportation.  Safety is another community benefit where designated pedestrian and bicycle paths provide an opportunity to separate human-powered commuters from automobiles.

Economic Benefits
Recreational, educational, historical and cultural sites, museums, and trails attract tourists.  This brings a direct economic benefit to local restaurants, hotels, and service stations as tourists spend dollars on food, lodging, and gasoline.  Equipment and clothing vendors, and other commercial establishments may move into the area to serve the population attracted by a trail.  For example, in a 1992 study, the National Park Service estimated the average economic activity associated with three multi-purpose trails in Florida, California and Iowa was $1.5 million annually.

There are economic benefits derived directly from the development and operation of trails.  Direct benefits include employment created and money spent on trails.  Indirect benefits include the savings to community taxpayers when comparing the expense of trails to the expense of developing, operating and maintaining other types of public recreational facilities.

Communities with trails often benefit in terms of improvements in corporate relocation and retention rates, since quality of life is an important factor in choosing sites for business and industry.

And last, but not least, there is an economic benefit as property values increase due to proximity to green space and increased overall community livability.

Environmental Benefits
Trails and greenways can play an important role in improving water quality and mitigating flood damage.  Greenways preserve critical open space that provides natural buffer zones to protect streams, rivers and lakes from pollution run-off caused by fertilizer and pesticide use on yards and farms.  They can also serve as flood plains that absorb excess water and mitigate damage caused by floods.  Such conservation efforts make good sense, because they save communities money in the long run.

Preserving Our History and Culture
Trails have the power to connect us to our heritage by preserving historic places and by providing access to them.  They can give people a sense of place and an understanding of the enormity of past events, such as Indian trails and vast battlefields.  Trails and greenways draw the public to historic sites.  Other trails preserve transportation corridors.  Rail-trails along historic rail corridors provide a glance at the importance of this mode of transportation.

Wahoo Parks and Recreation
310 N. Linden St.
Wahoo, Nebraska 68066
(402) 443-4174
Fax: (402) 443-4179
Email: WahooCivicCenter