Planning and Managing Environmentally Friendly Mountain Bike Trails

This guidebook can be used to assist in successfully planning, designing, and constructing mountain bike trail systems, while keeping in mind that user issues must be addressed at every stage of development.

As a relatively new recreational activity now enjoyed by tens of millions, it’s critical that mountain biking is well understood by land managers and policy makers in terms of its impact on the ecological and social environment. This document is meant to be an assistive tool. It complements existing strategies, such as the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Mountain Bicycling Strategic Action Plan (November 2002), adding to our lessons learned in the field.

Field research, such as the project described in this guidebook, can provide managers and policy makers with specific information, especially with respect to construction, maintenance, user education and messaging, that will allow sustainable mountain bike use on recreation trails.

This guidebook can be used to assist in successfully planning, designing, and constructing mountain bike trail systems, while keeping in mind that user issues must be addressed at every stage of development. It’s important to understand what constitutes a high quality mountain biking experience and what benefits motivate mountain bikers if we are building a sustainable mountain bike trail system. It also provides necessary information for deciding among recreation and trail uses for any given site. The Lake Tahoe Basin case study is just one example of how recreation managers are successfully incorporating a user-based approach into planning for sustainable trail management. Responsible planning calls for inclusion of outside ideas. At the very core of this research design was the use of outside expertise and labor to collect data for planning and designing trails.

Attached document published June 2006

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