The Primer provides discussion of broad wildlife topics, plus key concepts and rules of thumb to help with trail planning and management.
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.
What opportunities or constraints are there for both trails and wildlife in the broader landscape?
Understanding the varieties of species and the habitats they need is essential to planning appropriate trails.
Trails affect wildlife in a range of ways. Evaluate the tradeoffs between wildlife and trails by understanding impacts as well as benefits.
Trails can be effective ways to manage visitors. An understanding of how a trail will be managed must be part of the planning process.
Responsible equestrians should actively protect trees and other park structures when out on the trail. Equine expert Lora Goerlich gives her take on this topic.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with our partners, is charting a course for the future of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Team (PIT) was chartered to address this recommendation from Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 21st century strategic vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Our charge was to investigate how Refuge System planning will address large-scale conservation challenges such as climate change, while maintaining the integrity of management and conservation delivery within our boundaries.
The Wildlife and Trail Planning Checklist is a sequence of wildlife-related questions and possible steps to consider in planning a trail.