An Introductory Guide to Trail Planning and Development
A guide for anyone who wants to better understand trails planning, decision making, and trail project development. If you’re a trail enthusiast with big ideas, a trail advocate, a stewardship volunteer, or public agency staff person interfacing with local partners, this guide is for you.
The importance of trails cannot always be measured; their value is deep, varied, and individual. Trails allow us to experience places we hold dear or yearn to explore. The diversity of experiences we come to trails for is vast. Some take to trails to seek solace, comfort, peace, rest, or renewal. Others may find community, adventure, excitement, exploration, or discovery. But whether your trail experience is about going fast, slowing down, pushing personal limits, returning to something familiar, traveling to a destination, or taking an opportunity to meander, with so many different reasons to experience trails, we must ensure that our trails also reflect the diversity of human needs of the people who use them. When our network of trails is successful, it connects the full spectrum of community members to the places they want to be and to their preferred modes of recreation, while also protecting the surrounding ecosystems that make each place so uniquely important.
Despite the deep and varied value of trails to the public, there is not always an established trail plan or mandate to a specific agency to develop and maintain these public assets. Trails often compete for limited resources within public agencies who must consider other land and resource management needs and priorities. In urban and suburban areas, trails can fall into poorly defined territory between transportation agency priorities and parks division assets. For trails that cross the jurisdictions of multiple land owners or management authorities, effective trail management requires successful collaboration.
These realities mean that trail development and stewardship partnerships between management agencies, and between land managers and members of the public who care about trails, are critical. Trails enthusiasts are necessary partners in developing and maintaining a sustainable trails network that ensures access to the outdoors for all.
posted Sep 26, 2023
Adults living within a half mile of a park visit parks and exercise more often, but according to the 2014 State Indicator Report on Physical Activity, less than 38 percent of the U.S. population lives within a half mile of a park.
posted Sep 18, 2023
These guidelines are designed to assist resource managers in conducting management activities that enhance the quality of natural plant communities, wildlife habitat, regional landscape integrity and visual quality, particularly as related to planning, development, and maintenance of trails, water trails, and water access sites.
posted Aug 28, 2023
Q&A from the 2021 webinar Trail Construction Costs, Risks, and Tips for Success
posted Aug 28, 2023
The Naugatuck River Greenway (NRG) is an officially designated Connecticut State Greenway, consisting of the open and green spaces along the Naugatuck River. Greenways are corridors of open space that may protect natural resources or provide recreational opportunities, and typically follow a natural feature like a river or manmade features like a canal or disused rail bed.