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published Sep 4, 2019
Taylor Goodrich with American Trails
Find out more about the National Recreation Trail program and the steps needed to apply.
published Aug 12, 2019
American Trails Staff
The Wildlife and Trail Planning Checklist is a sequence of wildlife-related questions and possible steps to consider in planning a trail.
published Sep 8, 2018
Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind
The checklist focuses specifically on wildlife issues of trail planning and is designed to mirror comprehensive planning processes.
Encouraging visitors to stay on the trail is the most important issue, and is made easier by providing attractive, well-designed trail systems. Managers should also identify populations of plants that have been designated as threatened, endangered, or sensitive.
A trail’s area of influence should be planned and managed as an integral part of the trail. This influence zone should provide recreationists with meaningful interactions with nature, without infringing on sensitive habitat.
Protecting large, undisturbed areas of wildlife habitat should be a priority. Deciding whether or not to build a trail that may contribute to fragmentation is a tradeoff that the local community or land manager will have to make.
Looking at resources from a regional or landscape-wide perspective helps identify where trails should go and which areas should be conserved for wildlife.
The construction of a trail is just one impact on the habitat it passes through. The activities of visitors and the response of wildlife are also components of the long-term trail impacts.
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Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington
Routed and painted wood sign; Arches National Monument, Moab, Utah
Sign helps users find trail beyond point of interest; Arches National Monument, Moab, Utah
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South Carolina Trails
Friends of Florida State Forests
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