Anatomy of Backcountry Management Costs

A 1986 study from the USFS on backcountry management costs.

by USDA Forest Service


Ne rp575


Operation and management costs for several dispersed overnight site locations and backcountry trails in the White Mountain National Forest were studied. Average annual costs ranged from $200 to $1,500 per mile for trails and from $0.35 to $4.29 per visitor for overnight sites. Average annual costs for trails and overnight sites increased with elevation and use levels, but on a per-visitor basis, high-use trails cost less to maintain than low-use trails at all elevations. Costs per visitor at overnight sites were less well defined. The method used in this study may be useful to backcountry recreation managers in their efforts to acquire a better understanding of all the costs of providing backcountry recreation opportunities.

Published January 01, 1986

More Articles in this Category

The San Francisco Bay Trail Project Gap Analysis Study

The Bay Trail Project is a nonprofit organization administered by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) that plans, promotes and advocates for the implementation of a continuous 500-mile bicycling and hiking path around San Francisco Bay. Two of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Bay Trail: “When will it be done?” and “How much will it cost?”

Developing Trail Systems Toolkit

Trails are more than simply lines on a map, a form of transportation or route to destinations. Trails are an experience. Engaging trails systems provide a sense of unique place, highlight natural topography and attract outdoor-based tourism. A vast and varied experience hooks trails users and leaves them wanting to return for more exploration. This tool kit offers suggestions for building destination-worthy trail systems.

Maintenance Practices and Costs of Rail-Trails

This study presents a more comprehensive understanding of rail-trail maintenance, as has been done for other rail-trail issues such as construction costs, economic impact and rails-with-trails. Such an approach enables the rail-trail community to focus its limited resources more effectively on addressing the most critical issues.