Planning Trails With Wildlife in Mind - Wildlife and Trails Primer

The Primer provides discussion of broad wildlife topics, plus key concepts and rules of thumb to help with trail planning and management.

by American Trails Staff


This section of the handbook gives an overview of the major wildlife issues relevant to trail planners and provides examples and references for more in-depth study. If you have general questions about the interactions of wildlife and trails, the primer— which is organized around broad wildlife topics— is a good place to start.

Key concepts are presented as an introduction to each Primer topic. To make the concepts practical, Rules of Thumb are also given with each topic. The rules of thumb are intended as helpful advice for wildlife situations that are generally too complex for ironclad, universal principles.

A RULE OF THUMB IS:

1 : a method of procedure based on experience and common sense.
2 : a general principle regarded as roughly correct but not intended to be scientifically exact.

Topics

The Big Picture

What opportunities or constraints are there for both trails and wildlife in the broader landscape?

Natural Features

Understanding the varieties of species and the habitats they need is essential to planning appropriate trails.

Human-Wildlife Interactions

Trails affect wildlife in a range of ways. Evaluate the tradeoffs between wildlife and trails by understanding impacts as well as benefits.

Management Decisions

Trails can be effective ways to manage visitors. An understanding of how a trail will be managed must be part of the planning process.

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