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Trail Maintenance Guidelines

County of Santa Clara Dept. of Parks and Recreation

This Trail Maintenance Manual was developed as a field guideline and procedure manual for Park staff responsible for the maintenance, construction, and operation of the Santa Clara County Parks trails’ system.

by Santa Clara County Parks


Parks trail maintenance guidlines


The topography, geology, climate, soils, and vegetation vary throughout the trail system of Santa Clara County Parks; therefore this manual may not be applied throughout the system. This manual is not intended to, nor capable of, supplanting trained, experienced and skilled park staff. It is intended to provide guidelines for Park staff charged with trail maintenance and construction responsibilities, and provide base knowledge of trail management and construction practices for the inexperienced trail worker. The guidelines within this manual address all types of trails including single-track, dual purpose, multi-use, paved trails, and service and fire roads. This manual complies with the Santa Clara County Parks, Countywide Trails Master Plan and uniform Interjurisdictional Trail Design, Use and Management Guidelines-1999.

The goals and objectives of this trail maintenance manual is to provide standards and guidelines for trail design, maintenance, construction and management so trails are sustainable over the long-term, require low maintenance, allow for safe public access, protect the natural and cultural resources and meet recreational needs of the park user. A common mistake made by many park professionals is becoming so focused on the construction and maintenance of trails that they often overlook the role trails play in overall park operations. Sections of this manual are dedicated to trail standards, maintenance priorities and activities, trail construction standards, and trail feature construction and maintenance to address not only the respective guidelines, but also address the role of trails in parks.

Published January 1999

About the Author


We provide a sustainable system of diverse regional parks, trails and natural areas that connects people with the natural environment, supports healthy lifestyles, offering outstanding visitor experiences that renew the human spirit, while balancing recreation opportunities with the protection of natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources.

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