Minimizing Risk and Liability

Best Practices for Trail Stewards, Operators, Managers and Owners

This document is a best practices manual intended to give guidance and direction on minimizing risk and liability for persons with an interest in operating and maintaining trails. Specifically, it seeks to help trail operators, managers and owners, mitigate risk and reduce liability, that can arise from trail design, trail use and maintenance operations. The techniques discussed here are intended to be applied with prudence and due consideration of the particular circumstances of each trail.

by Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation Parks Division

Trails are an important economic asset to the recreation and tourism industry of Alberta. Trails preserve critical open space, and provide important transportation options and connections to different areas in Alberta. Trails and their associated activities attract both visitors and locals to recreate in Alberta. Their economic potential as highly desirable destinations, facilitate job growth in the tourism and construction industries. Entrepreneurial opportunities like restaurants, lodging, gift shops, and other local specialty stores often get built alongside popular trails. Small towns and municipalities are realizing the economic importance of trails and are utilizing the development of trails as a model for community economic revitalization and rural diversification. As trail usage and trail development increases, there is a need to equip trail operators, managers and owners with the necessary tools to manage and minimize the risk and liability associated with trail operations. Creating a safer environment for everyone improves the economically feasibility for trail groups to operate these trails over the long term.

About the Author

Alberta's parks inspire people to discover, value, protect and enjoy the natural world and the benefits it provides for current and future generations. This vision was set by Alberta’s Plan for Parks.

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