filed under: conservation
Implications for sustainable trail design and management
This research investigates the influence of layout and design on the severity of trail degradation.
studies have been restricted by relatively small study areas which provide a limited range of environmental
conditions and therefore produce findings with limited applicability; this research improves on this limitation by
analyzing a representative sample of the Appalachian Trail with significant topographical, ecological, use-
related, and managerial diversity. Many trail science studies have also focused on a singular form of trail
degradation, whereas this study investigates all three core types of trail impact: trail soil loss, widening and
muddiness. Relational analyses with all three indicators provide a more cohesive understanding of trail impact
and reveal interrelationships between trail degradation processes. ANOVA testing of the mean values for these
trail impact indicators across categories of influential independent factors confirms and refines the relevance of
core trail design principles, specifically the sustainability advantages of trails with low grades and side-hill
alignments. Findings also reveal and clarify the importance of landform grade in determining the susceptibil-
ity of trails to degradation and the influence of routing decisions; these relationships have received relatively
little attention in the literature. The results also reveal several methodological considerations for trail alignment
metrics and trail impact indicators.
Published December 2019
This manual has been written to aid crew leaders working with trail work volunteers. It assumes the following priorities, in order of importance, for every volunteer trail work event: 1) Safety, 2) Enjoyment, 3) Quality product, 4) Productivity.
As a crew leader you represent the CTF. One of your main jobs is to convey the CTF’s thanks to the volunteers for their commitment to making and preserving The Colorado Trail as a national treasure.
Outdoor leadership skills can be developed and improved over time through a combination of self-study, formal training and experience. Leadership trainings are offered frequently by volunteers and staff of the AMC. The trainings range from a single day to a weekend. If you are looking for additional training, the AMC offers several courses each season through the Guided Outdoors program.
Trails research can help support trail management decision-making and funding by providing objective, quantitative information describing trail users, their numbers and demographics, preferences, and economic expenditures.