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Accessible trails: surfacing considerations and examples


"Firm and stable" are the two words for accessible trail surfaces. The "Draft Final Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas" addresses trails and other outdoor recreation routes under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). These proposed guidelines for what constitutes an accessible trail for ABA purposes requires the surface of accessible trails to be "firm and stable." While concrete and asphalt are the usual choices for accessible trails in urban and highly developed areas, they may not be suitable or affordable for trails in open space, parks, and the backcountry. Other materials can meet the "firm and stable" requirement: crusher fines (crushed rock or limestone screenings) is one commonly used material which compacts well and provides good drainage. See photos for discussion of good and not so good examples of trail surfacing alternatives.

arrow See Surfacing for Trails and Greenways in the American Trails Business Directory

Click on any photo to see it full size:

(photos by Stuart Macdonald, 2007-08)

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