Visitor and Trail Management Skills and Competencies

Specific skills used in management of trails and greenways: facility management; urban trail and bike/ped management; visitor management.

by American Trails Staff


Clear signage is an important technique in trail management and reducing user conflicts

Skills for Natural Surface Trail Management

  • Manage trails for a variety of uses and visitor experiences while meeting trail objectives
  • Monitoring activities and their impacts on natural, historic, and cultural resources
  • Managing off-highway vehicle routes and trails
  • Managing use of on-snow routes for skiers, snowmobilers, and other winter activities

Skills for Management of Trail-related Facilities

  • Identifying problem areas for drainage and water impacts
  • Tracking use and potential problems at parking areas and trailheads

Skills for Urban Trail and Bike/Ped Facility Management

  • Determining visitor satisfaction with materials and surfacing
  • Surveying trail users and adjacent land uses for satisfaction and impacts
  • Creating benchmarks and standards to assess trail use, condition, and potential problems

Skills for Visitor Management

  • Identifying conflicts among users and concerns with various trail activities
  • Using facilitation skills to lead meetings and resolve disputes
  • Analyzing the economic and social impacts of trails on local and regional scales
  • Developing policy and guidelines for events, commercial services, and permits
  • Distributing information on trail conditions, permit requirements, and trip planning
  • Developing Adopt-a-Trail programs for volunteers and clubs