Approvals, Permits, and Compliance: Navigating the Regulatory Waters from Trail Plan Through Construction

American Trails

Approvals, Permits, and Compliance: Navigating the Regulatory Waters from Trail Plan Through Construction

Recorded Training

Webinar Project Planning and Design

This webinar will demonstrate ecotherapy ideas for attendees to implement in their own communities, on their own trails, and at different scales, and also show the importance of collaboration for community health.

Navigating the regulatory waters from trail plan through construction can be a daunting process. There are the questions of: “who approves what?”, “do we need a permit?”, “how do you get a permit, who is the applicant, and how long will it take? ”, “what are limits during construction?”, and “what documentation is required before, during, and after construction?” Unfortunately, the answers to these questions vary from place to place and even between jurisdictions in the same place. This webinar will not answer every question for every situation, but will walk through the typical processes, jurisdictions, timelines, and documentation needed to get a conceptual trail project through approval and implementation. From local ordinances, to state level land disturbance, and federal Corps of Engineers and NEPA, participants will be primed to ask the right questions, find the assistance they need, and get a project through the various regulatory spaces required to complete a trail project.


Presenters Phil Penny and Scott Linnenburger both had considerable professional experience in the environmental permitting and restoration sectors prior to running their own trail companies. They will share lessons learned the “long” way, how to frame trail projects to regulatory agencies that may not fully understand trails, and the realities that trails are land development projects which need to go through a set of permitting processes.


This webinar is part of a three-part webinar series hosted by the Professional TrailBuilders Association. Join us for all four webinars (or view the recordings):



Learning Objectives:


  • Understand the typical regulatory processes for trail projects
  • Identify the typical jurisdictions that regulate trail projects
  • Understand the typical types of permits and documentation required
  • Understand that the necessary permitting and documentation varies by geography and situation

Trail Core Competencies

Relevant Trail Types

    General. All trail types are relevant.

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