Wildlife and Trails Checklist — Introduction

Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind

The Wildlife and Trail Planning Checklist is a sequence of wildlife-related questions and possible steps to consider in planning a trail.

by American Trails Staff


The checklist focuses specifically on wildlife issues of trail planning and is designed to mirror comprehensive planning processes. This should make it easier to integrate the information into the ways trails are already being planned. If you are beginning to plan a trail and want to find appropriate ways of including wildlife issues, the checklist will raise important questions through each step of the planning process.

Specific questions addressed

How well wildlife concerns are represented in a planning process depends on how well you understand:

  • the specific wildlife species and populations being affected,
  • their habitats, and
  • the proposed recreational activities affecting that population.

A generalized process

Every trail project is unique and not all of the detailed steps and questions in the checklist will be relevant to each project. Therefore it is important to adapt the checklist to your own situation. For example, in an urban setting it may not be possible to identify a range of options for a trail. The only possible alignments may be along drainages or other existing corridors not attractive to most kinds of development. Similarly, many trail projects improve existing roads or trails, rather than create new alignments. Developing wide-ranging alternatives may not make sense in such cases.

Wildlife and Trails Checklist

A. Getting the Whole Picture

B. Considering Alternative Alignments

C. Building and Managing Trails