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Wetland Trail Design and Construction

Wetland identification, working with wetlands regulation, and trail development in riparian areas.

This manual describes the common techniques for building a wetland trail.

by Federal Highway Administration

In this manual we have described the common techniques for building a wetland trail. We have also included information on some of the more unusual materials and tools.

Some of the techniques and tools we describe are suitable for wilderness situations where mechanized equipment cannot be used. Others are suitable for urban greenbelts where a wider range of techniques, material, and equipment can be used. Somewhere in between are the backcountry sites where machines are permitted, but access and logistics are challenges. Although this book is written for wetland trails, the techniques described can also be used for correcting other poorly drained low areas in existing trails.

The manual is written for those who are untrained and inexperienced in wetland trail construction, but those with experience may learn a few things, too.

View the Guide

Published September 2001

About the Author


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.

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