TRACS Trail Assessment & Condition Surveys User Guide 2011

TRACS is an organized approach for collecting and updating field data on trail conditions and the work needed to meet standard.

by USDA Forest Service


TRACS User Guide 05 01 2011


TRACS is an organized approach for collecting and updating field data on trail conditions and the work needed to meet standard. A TRACS survey consists of three basic components:

  • Inventory: Accurate identification of basic information about the trail and constructed
    features along the trail, including key dimensional information, material type, and
    quantities.
  • Assessment: Objective evaluation of the current condition of the trail and
    constructed features, compared against Trail National Quality Standards and trailspecific expectations outlined in Trail Management Objectives (TMO).
  • Prescription: Systematic identification and assignment of tasks needed to meet
    standard and the TMO.

By methodically incorporating inventory, assessment, and trail prescription in each survey, TRACS surveyors leave the field with an accurate, useful, and consistently collected set of data
that can be used for a wide variety of purposes.

TRACS compliments the Infra Trails portion of the Forest Service’s corporate database by providing trail-specific field data needed for program management and planning. By incorporating a common set of terminology, business rules, data fields, and standard trail specifications and drawings, TRACS and Infra Trails help maximize efficiency and consistency in trails data management.

The completion of trail condition surveys is an on-going process agency-wide, with the goal of developing a complete trails inventory, and subsequently updating trails data on a recurring, sustainable schedule.

Published May 01, 2011

About the Author


To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

More articles by this author

More Articles in this Category

Equestrian Etiquette - Protecting Trees and Park Structures

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.

DCR Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual

The DCR’s Trails Program seeks to provide a safe, quality recreation experience for a diverse range of trail users while practicing sound stewardship of the Commonwealth’s natural and cultural resources. This “Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual” meets this responsibility by providing a consistent set of trail management policies, guidelines, procedures, and best practices in sustainable trail development.

Rail Trail Development: A Best Practices Report

This report focuses on the issues surrounding the proposed development of the Palouse to Cascades Rail-Trail.

Community Trail Development Guide

VDOT developed this guide to aid the process of grassroots trail planning, based on the knowledge of experienced planners, research of best practices around the nation as well as the State, and the understanding gained from trail development process in the Town of Middleburg.