Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook

An updated edition of the "Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook" first released in 1996.

by Federal Highway Administration, USDA Forest Service


Why write another trail construction and maintenance guide? Good question. Since publication of the first edition of the "Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook" in 1996, several excellent books about trail construction and maintenance have been published by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and the Appalachian Mountain Club, among others. At the same time, this notebook has remained popular, especially because of its pocket size and its wide availability through a partnership between the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Highway Administration's Recreational Trails Program.

Based on helpful critiques of our earlier edition, we made numerous changes to reflect the latest thinking about constructing and maintaining trails. Much remains from the original edition.

True to our original intent, the Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) has again pulled together basic trail construction and maintenance information, presented it in an easy-to-understand fashion, and oriented it to the needs of the trail worker. To keep the notebook's size manageable, we did not cover tasks such as detailed planning, environmental analysis, or inventory and monitoring. We've tried to make sure the notebook is consistent with current Forest Service policies and direction, but it is a practical guide for trail work, not a policy document. We worked to keep the notebook small and readable so it would end up in the packs of trail crew workers instead of under a table leg.

View the Notebook

Published July 01, 2007

About the Authors


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the US Department of Transportation, provides expertise, resources, and information to improve the nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The Federal-Aid Highway Program provides financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, other roads, bridges, and trails.


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

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