February 7, 2024

 DES MOINES, IA (Feb. 7, 2024) – ICON Water Trails is pleased to announce that it has completed a robust regional economic impact study in partnership with data analysts Radbridge and Pros Consulting. This extensive survey culled more than 2.6 billion mobile location pings used to project aggregate behavior over a six-month period from April to October in 2022. The resulting data has significant implications for the wide-sweeping benefits attributed to outdoor recreation, broadly, and ICON’s fifteen active sites, specifically. Read the full Regional Economic Impact Study here.

The highlights of the study tell a promising narrative, demonstrating the proven efficacy of ICON Water Trails in regard to economic development, tourism attraction, and workforce retention:

  • More than 250,000 visits to ICON’s fifteen access points occurred during this six-month timeframe.
  • Recreational activities on ICON contributed to improved physical and mental well-being, resulting in estimated reductions in healthcare costs of $16.7 million for the community.
  • ICON access points yielded nearly $20 million in total economic output in one season.

“We are thrilled to see this data that confirms what we’ve known since its inception: ICON benefits all sectors of our community,” Stephanie Oppel, ICON Water Trails Executive Director, said. “Investing in our region equates to a stronger economy, improved workforce and tourism attraction, and enhanced quality of life for our residents.”

“As a professional planner in the parks and recreation industry that works across the country, I am inspired by both the reach and the thoughtfulness of the ICON Water Trails vision,” Brian Trusty, Principal of PROS Consulting, said in the forward of the study.  “In fact, I share what is happening here in central Iowa in communities across the country all the time.”

ICON Water Trails and its partners will share the full economic impact report at a virtual unveiling on Wednesday, February 28 at 11 a.m. To listen to the recorded unveiling, click here.

About ICON Water Trails

Iowa Confluence Water Trails — ICON, for short — will connect 80+ improvements across 150 miles of rivers and creeks in Central Iowa. Initiated by the Central Iowa Water Trails Consortium, including Capital Crossroads, Catch Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Des Moines Area MPO, Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Great Outdoors Foundation, ICON represents a new commitment to water safety and conservation as well as a concerted effort to drive economic development, visitor attraction and workforce retention. Learn more at ICONwatertrails.com. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.