Outdoors enthusiasts are a significant contributor to Dorchester’s economic engine. Last weekend’s YMCA’s 5th Annual Crab Run unofficially kicked off another season of rides, runs and revenues for the County.
Dorchester hosts a dozen major professional and amateur races between April and October each year. While a formal economic impact study has not been conducted, runs and rides attract tens of thousands of competitors, participants and family members each season and are estimated to generate millions in direct and indirect spending.
The County’s business office thinks the time is right to commission an economic impact study of such activities on the business community. “We believe that Dorchester’s organized events and recreational bikers contribute significantly to our economy. What we don’t know is how deep or widespread that impact is,” said DCED Director Keasha Haythe. Haythe plans to work with the County’s elected representatives to request the State’s assistance in assessing the economic impact.
Dorchester businesses serving the biking community include Blackwater Paddle (bike rentals) and Pedal Adventures on Bucktown Road and On the Rivet Cycle Sports Shop (sales and service) on Route 50.
From the family friendly YMCA Crab Run and sold out Eagleman to the ChesapeakeMan Endurance Festival, Dorchester has become a “run and ride” destination for participants at every level and a major source of revenue for the hotels, restaurants, services and shops.
A partial list of 2013 events includes:
- Six Pillars Century, Saturday, May 4, 2013, 5 Courses Cycling, Blackwater
- Great Chesapeake Bay Wellness Race, Saturday May 11, 2013, 3K and 10K Run, Hyatt
- Eagleman Ironman, Saturday, June 9, Hyatt
- Trek in the Neck, Saturday, July 13, Neck District Volunteer Fire Department
- Chesapeake Man Endurance Festival, Saturday, September 24
- Terry Bicycle Wild Goose Chase, October 12 & 13, Blackwater
According to www.DelmarvaDrives.com, “With miles of roads in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Hoopers Island and throughout the necks and along the inlets of the Chesapeake and all of its tributaries, Dorchester County is a biker’s paradise.” Dorchester’s Tourism Office leveraged this reputation a few years ago and created the County Cycling Guide featuring nine trail rides, maps and directions. Copies are available at the Visitors Center or online, www.tourdorchester.org.