filed under: conservation
This research assessed the condition and sustainability of the trail system at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, a National Park Service unit that partners with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the management of this unit.
The Preserve was created through a 10,862-acre TNC land purchase in 2005 which included a “legacy” system of primitive unsurfaced ranching roads. The objectives of this study included assessing the sustainability of the trail system (including trail grades and alignments relative to the topography), its current resource conditions, an inventory of trail system features (stream crossings, gates, signs, culverts), and suggestions to improve trail system sustainability and ability to accommodate increasing use and additional uses such as horses and mountain bikes.
Fieldwork was performed in May 2022, with three field staff driving or walking all system trails to collect georeferenced data and photographs. The field assessment manual (Appendix 1) describes data collection protocols, and all collected data were recorded using a cell phone app (Fulcrum), with data transferred to Excel and ArcGIS Pro for analyses. Additional GIS analyses were conducted using accurate LiDAR Digital Elevation Model (1x1m resolution) topography data to analyze trail grades and landform alignment angles for the entire trail system in 10 ft cells. All georeferenced project data in GIS formats with metadata are a product of this research, in addition to this final report.
Published June 2022
Trails research can help support trail management decision-making and funding by providing objective, quantitative information describing trail users, their numbers and demographics, preferences, and economic expenditures.
Off-road vehicles can have a substantial impact on the experience of other non-motorized visitors on trails that are shared or even on adjacent forest or park settings.
This research investigated the influence of several use-related, environmental, and managerial factors on soil loss on recreational trails and roads at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, a unit of the U.S. National Park Service.
The sustainable management of ATV use is an expensive proposition requiring careful design, construction, and maintenance of ATV trails.