Fully agree with your 2 cents! And the rest of your post as well except for the fact that at the end of the day if a mechanic gives any kind of edge, humans will always find a way to break it and push that edge. It’s one of the coolest things about sandbox games I think. That leaves it to the developers to address or ignore it. The chrysominter was a good start. However footfall lets you generate lazy money. Chrysominter requires you to actively play to generate money.
Because of that people are going to continue to stick with the easiest path because that’s what humans do. To do a hunt, you’re going to be required to go through a gimmicky hall/road/slide/whatever or be blocked off the hunt. Thankfully it’s easy to get around but you already see these things happening. I’ve just quit going on particular hunts as a result, and that’s my choice. I’m happy with my choice. There are plenty of fun hunts to tag a long with.
But that just goes back to the point that if things are not balanced, people will only partake in one area instead of an equal amount of areas. So yes more money generating solutions would surely help but at the end of the day if the current footfall dynamic isn’t addressed in some fashion, not much will really change.