Off-Highway Vehicle Trail and Road Grading Equipment

by USDA Forest Service, Federal Highway Administration

Grooming Equipment for Cycle Trails


The Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) was asked to find a good way to maintain a 40-mile (64-k) motorcycle and all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) trail on the Francis Marion National Forest in coastal South Carolina. Heavy use leaves a washboard surface that progresses to mounds and gullies several feet across. These are called "whoop-de-doos," and trail users find them both unpleasant and unsafe.

The problem of whoop-de-doos is not unique to this trail in the sandy coastal plain of South Carolina. We began the project by asking off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail managers throughout the Forest Service how they were maintaining their OHV trails. Several National Forests had developed prototype lightweight graders that could be towed behind ATV's, effectively removing whoop-de-doos with routine maintenance. MTDC worked with two of these Forests to further improve and evaluate these prototypes, tested them in South Carolina, and looked to the open market for similar equipment.

This report focuses on three pieces of equipment tested in South Carolina: a modified trail rock rake suggested by Cam Lockwood on the Angeles National Forest, CA; a trail drag designed by Dick Dufourd and Kim Larsen for use on the Deschutes National Forest, OR; and an Ultra Light Terrain Grader manufactured by The Shop Industrial, Lively, Ontario, Canada.

View the guide

Published October 01, 1998

About the Authors

To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the US Department of Transportation, provides expertise, resources, and information to improve the nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The Federal-Aid Highway Program provides financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, other roads, bridges, and trails.

More articles by These authors

More Articles in this Category

National Scenic and Historic Trails Training Needs Assessment

Survey of skills and competencies to assist in developing a national training strategy for National Scenic and Historic Trails

Choosing the Right Tools for Trail Work

A wide variety of tools are available to layout, construct, and maintain trails. Local and individual preferences often dictate the kinds of tools which are chosen for various tasks.

Packable Rock Bar is a First

Trail Boss™ innovative new packable rock bar expands digging tools from dirt to rock

11 Key Trail Tools for Grubbing and Raking

These are the most commonly used grubbing and raking tools with tips on using them safely and effectively.