Trails Planning Survey Results

text: HowDoYouTrail?


TRPC conducted a communitywide online survey to collect information from trail users to help inform the update to the Thurston Regional Trails Plan. The survey ran from February 1 through March 12, 2021. The survey included 14 questions that asked about:

  • What people value about trails
  • How people use trails and their convenience of access
  • Peoples’ sense of safety and security using trails
  • Planning priorities and investments
  • Community engagement preferences for participating in the plan update

The survey was promoted through social media, email, and signs placed on trails. Over 1,200 people participated in the survey. This page provides a general summary of the survey results. A detailed summary of the results is contained in the Thurston Regional Trails Plan Survey Summary. 

  Asset 1demographic infographic

Who Responded to the Survey?

  • 91% non-Hispanic white; 9% people of color
  • 64% women
  • 67% 40-69 years old
  • 90% college educated
  • 70% live in a city or town
  • 94% within a local zip code
  • 5% has a disability
  • 71% from households earning $75K or more
    • 19% earn $50K-$74.9K
    • 10% earn less than $50K 

What the Survey Confirmed about Trail Use

  • Trails are recognized as community assets that contribute to peoples’ quality of life. 
  • Trails are principally used for recreation, wellness, and transportation activities.
  • Walking and bicycling are the most popular trail activities. They are also enjoyed for riding a horse, dog walking, and a variety of other activities.
  • Respondents report they feel safer using a trail with a companion vs. using them alone.
  • People desire clean and well-maintained facilities.
Survey Respondents’ Planning Priorities

Respondents’ top regional trails planning priorities include:

  1. Maintain the existing system such as repairing trail surfaces, managing vegetation, and servicing damaged facilities
  2. Expand trails within Thurston County – focus first on connecting to communities not linked by trails
  3. Improve access to trails by increasing parking availability, installing more signs and maps to aid navigation, and creating new pathways to improve neighborhoods’ access to trails.
  4. Create safer road crossings
  5. Regular patrols to monitor safety and security on trails
  6. Other trail related infrastructure such as restrooms/toilets

How will the survey data be used?

TRPC will use the survey results to inform the scope of the Regional Trails Plan Update. TRPC also shared the survey results with the agencies that manage the region’s trails. The project will continue to engage the community through TRPC’s website, email notifications, and social media. A future survey will solicit community feedback on the draft plan’s recommendations.

Contact Us

  1. Paul Brewster
    Senior Planner

    Thurston Regional Planning Council
    2411 Chandler Court SW
    Olympia, WA 98502
    Ph: 360-956-7575