Research In Recreational Conflict

What it Teaches Us About Better Trail Design and Management

The purpose of this presentation is to provide an easy to understand and practical overview of past and current research related to trail conflict in a way that enables trail professionals to improve trail design and trail management.

by Roger Moore, Associate Professor, North Carolina State University, Brendan Adams, Graduate Student, North Carolina State University


The purpose of this presentation is to provide an easy to understand and practical overview of past and current research related to trail conflict in a way that enables trail professionals to improve trail design and trail management. This session will begin with a presentation that introduces a social science-based “behavioral approach” to help understand why trail users do what they do. It will then move into an overview of the research related to trail conflict with an emphasis on what things influence the types and levels of problems that can occur and what principles and practical guidance we can draw. Most importantly, the session will engage and involve those present in applying the principles and knowledge they have learned. We will do this by selecting several actual trail conflict situations the participants are facing in their home jurisdictions and working in small teams (hopefully including people in each team who participate in the trail activities in question) to develop integrated approaches to addressing those conflicts that could actually be implemented. Teams will report out on their proposed approaches and receive feedback from the full group.

View This Presentation Online


About the Authors

Roger Moore is an Associate Professor of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University where he teaches and conducts research on outdoor recreation behavior and management. His trail experiences began with a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in the 1970s, 12 years designing and managing trails for the Appalachian Mountain Club, and then directing their National Volunteer Project. He has served on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy board of directors and as Coordinator of their A.T. MEGA-Transect environmental monitoring program. His hobbies include experiencing trails in as many ways (and as often) as possible.

Brendan Adams is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Natural Resources through the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University. His research focuses on depreciative behavior in backcountry settings and Leave No Trace

compliance among users. He enjoys backpacking and hiking in his spare time, the further into the wilderness the better. Brendan plans to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail upon completion of his degree.

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