filed under: conservation
Guidelines for Sustainable, Non-motorized Trails
A compilation of best practices and guidelines for the planning, design, construction, and management of your trail employing sustainable design.
by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation & Conservation Partnerships Division, State Trails Administrator
In this document, you will find a compilation of best practices and guidelines for the planning, design, construction, and management of your trail. Equally important, we present techniques for developing trails that create desirable and enjoyable experiences for your trail users. At the same time, these techniques employ sustainable design elements and construction practices that allow the trail to make use of natural systems so that the trail remains both physically and environmentally sustainable, which in turn leads to minimal maintenance and operational costs, making the trail economically sustainable over the long run.
Every trail project has its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. A trail project needs specific evaluation of the site (which extends to the surrounding area beyond the trails physical corridor), trail alignment, potential resource impact(s), potential environmental opportunities, and existing physical and environmental constraints, in order to determine the design parameters of the trail. These unique challenges and opportunities may require that you stray from or refine these guidelines to take advantage of a particular opportunity, overcome a particular challenge or ensure the health and safety of your trail user.
The safety and well-being of visitors to your trail must always remain your primary concern. This guide does not provide a substitute for the professional expertise needed to make informed decisions regarding design, planning, construction, management, operation, and maintenance specific to your trail.
This comprehensive reference does, however, provide trail advocates, agencies, organizations, local officials, regional officials, and decision-makers with the basic knowledge needed to undertake a trail project with the assistance of professionals.
Published September 2013
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.
Let’s talk about grubbing and raking tools! You might have heard the term grubbing before, but if you’re new to trail building, it may be unfamiliar. Grubbing is when you are removing earth and topsoil. Basically digging into the first while removing vegetation in the process. Trail builders may also call this process hogging.