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Trail and Recreation Site Conditions and Management
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) is a unique internationally recognized protected natural area encompassing more than 250,000 acres and a 2,190-mile footpath from Maine to Georgia.
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) is a unique internationally recognized protected natural area encompassing more than 250,000 acres and a 2,190-mile footpath from Maine to Georgia. A.T. management responsibilities are shared through a unique collaborative partnership between the National Park Service’s Appalachian Trail Park Office (ATPO), the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), federal, state, and local land managers, and 31 volunteer trail clubs. The diverse array of latitude, elevation, and moisture gradients traversed by the A.T. contributes to a rich biological assemblage of flora and fauna, while also accommodating opportunities for more than three million visitors/year. The A.T. attracts local, regional, national, and international visitors, supporting day hikes, weekend backpacking, and camping trips, section-hikes, and thru-hikes of the entire trail in a single year.
This research was funded by ATPO and administered by the ATC to accomplish the following core research objectives: 1) Provide quantitative, spatially-related, baseline documentation of the A.T. tread, informal trails, and recreation sites (overnight and day-use) to characterize the type, areal extent, and severity of visitation-related resource impacts to vegetation and soils, 2) Statistically analyze data to evaluate trail design and alignment attributes and recreation site biophysical attributes to develop sustainability models, ratings, and guidance, 3) Conduct analyses of tread and recreation site data to identify and describe the relative influence of key use-related, environmental, and managerial factors that can be manipulated through design and management actions to minimize resource and experiential impacts, and 4) Formulate Best Management Practices describing actions (educational/interpretive, regulatory, and site/facility management) that avoid or minimize resource and experiential impacts.
Published May 2020
This manual has been written to aid crew leaders working with trail work volunteers. It assumes the following priorities, in order of importance, for every volunteer trail work event: 1) Safety, 2) Enjoyment, 3) Quality product, 4) Productivity.
As a crew leader you represent the CTF. One of your main jobs is to convey the CTF’s thanks to the volunteers for their commitment to making and preserving The Colorado Trail as a national treasure.
Outdoor leadership skills can be developed and improved over time through a combination of self-study, formal training and experience. Leadership trainings are offered frequently by volunteers and staff of the AMC. The trainings range from a single day to a weekend. If you are looking for additional training, the AMC offers several courses each season through the Guided Outdoors program.
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.