Getting Real with Preservative-Treated Wood for Trail Structures

Wood is sustainable and renewable. We can extend the life of wood far beyond the time it takes to grow a new tree.

by Butch Bernhardt, Senior Program Manager, Western Wood Preservers Institute

Wood has a natural warmth that we as humans connect with. Treating it to last doesn’t change that connection. Wood is strong and resilient, yet light, making it easy to carry to places where it will be used. It’s very workable with basic tools. Yes, some maintenance may be needed for wood. But the small amount of time and work needed to do that pays off in protecting its longevity. Every material will require maintenance at some point. Wood embodies the spirit of our trails and environment more than any other material. Not only do we have a proven record of safe, long-lasting use, there’s just something about wood that we connect with as humans. With treating, we add to that sustainability by making wood last for decades, reducing the amount we need to harvest. We can extend the life of wood far beyond the time it takes to grow a new tree. This is the essence of sustainability and no other material offers this benefit.

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