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
These Trail User Survey examples show how trails across the country are listening to their trail users to gather data for funding, maintenance, events, and more.
Recreation ecology is the scientific study of environmental impacts resulting from recreational activity in protected natural areas. The nature of a literature review is to summarize what has been studied, what has been learned, and what the experts have concluded.
Evaluating Effectiveness of Visitor Use Management