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For years we have been seeking to improve trail surfaces. The goal is to provide an unobtrusive surface that blends with and is friendly to the environment; and provides a quality trail experience for people with and without disabilities.


National Trails Surface Study seeks survey participants


Deadline for participation is June 30th 2012

diagram of trail

Achieving a firm and stable surface is a
challenge for accessibility

In a collaborative effort between the U.S. Access Board, the National Center on Accessibility (NCA), and Oklahoma State University, NCA is seeking to provide qualified professionals, resource specialists and operations staff of parks in the United States with descriptive and or/comparative information about the status of construction practices of pedestrian/hiker, natural surface trails in the United States. This study will provide better insight into the products used on trail surfaces, the firmness and stability of those surfaces, and the frequency of maintenance/repair activities performed.

Participation in this phase of the study requires completing an administered online survey that will take about ten minutes to complete. The survey provides the means of gathering the information from professionals affiliated with trails’ management. Upon confirming your interest in participating in the study, you will be forwarded a link to the survey. The larger the participation rate, the larger the database of knowledge— so your involvement is greatly appreciated, and your time is greatly valued!

The National Trails Surface Study is being conducted by the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University. Those interested in participating in the study or who would like additional information, please submit the following information: your name, contact phone number, email, and the organization your trail is located within, to the Trail Study Coordinator:

Nikki M. Montembeault , Accessibility Specialist
National Center on Accessibility
(812) 856-3680 -



In 2005 NCA proposed a longitudinal (3-5 years) study on various trail surface applications to include diverse geographic zones. The goal was to allow for controlled testing and monitoring, and enable research protocols to be followed. Research questions that were identified included:

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