The Science of Sustainable Trail Design and Management

American Trails

The Science of Sustainable Trail Design and Management

Recorded Training

Webinar Trail Construction Trail Maintenance Project Preparation Project Planning and Design Program Administration and Leadership

This webinar will describe the three most common forms of trail impact, identify the most influential factors to develop and maintain sustainable trail networks, and discuss methods for rating trail sustainability.

Presented by:
Jeffrey Marion, Ph.D., Federal Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey

A “sustainable” trail or campsite can accommodate the intended type and amount of use over time without unacceptable levels of degradation or maintenance. This webinar will briefly describe the three most common forms of trail impact (trail soil loss, widening, and muddiness) and share findings from trail science studies conducted on the Appalachian Trail and other protected areas. These will focus on identifying the most influential factors that can be manipulated to develop and maintain sustainable trail networks, including trail grades, trail alignments (fall line vs side-hill), tread substrates, and tread drainage. Methods for rating trail sustainability will be presented, along with sustainable trail “Best Management Practices.”
Learning Objectives:
Understand the three most common forms of trail impact
Discover the most influential factors to develop and maintain sustainable trail networks
Learn methods for rating trail sustainability

Trail Core Competencies

  • • Construction Specifications
  • • Water Management/Drainage Features
  • • Maintenance Specifications
  • • Inventory & Assessment
  • • Drainage Features/Water Management
  • • Education and Public Outreach
  • • Inspections/Monitoring
  • • Partnership and Collaboration
  • • Policy/Directives/Law
  • • Visitor Use Management and Monitoring

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