PICKENS — A research study conducted by Clemson University has shed some new light on the groundbreaking collaborative effort that helped to further join two cities together: The Doodle Trail.
According to the study, which was conducted by the university’s Bicycle Research Team under the direction of Dr. Charles Chancellor, 214 Doodle Trail visitors were met by researchers at the Pickens trail-head in October and November of 2016 and presented with a 28-question survey.
The data collected revealed not just who is using the trail, but how many times, average ages, where they’re from and ways people would like to see the project improved.
Over half (58 percent) of the respondents were male with the vast majority (73.71 percent) between the ages of 46 and 80-years-old. An annual household income of $40,000 to $79,000 was reported by a third of respondents.
But perhaps the most shocking statistic was race: In the study, over 95 percent (95.3 percent to be exact) identified as Caucasian.
Despite the apparent lack of participant diversity, the trail itself does seem to be adding to the economy of the area.
“Over half of the respondents (53.9 percent) reported that use of the trail has increased their spending for health, exercise, or recreation oriented items,” the study reads.
Six states were represented in the study and users reported zip codes from 37 different areas. Still, more than 44 percent of the users claimed Pickens as home.
In addition to the 214 surveys collected, 20 respondents refused to take the study, the report reads, giving the researchers a 91 percent response rate.
“Data collection days and times were dispersed to get a sense of trail use throughout the week,” the study reads. “While data collection was rarely hampered by rain or cold, we believe the poor air quality due to the wildfires in the Upstate did have an effect on trail use, particularly days when health officials suggested that people only exercise indoors.”
As far as suggested improvements, the number one thing respondents requested was water fountains — and lots of them.
More connectivity to the downtown areas came in at number two followed by requests to make the trail longer.
Permanent restrooms, better lighting, covered benches and divided lanes also made the list along with additional parking, more restaurants and “less dog poop.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.