Symposium - Resources

The Symposium includes numerous educational sessions covering a broad range of trail issues including nationally and internationally prominent presenters. View presentations that were sent to us post-ITS.

posted Jan 3, 2018

Basic Elements of Trail Design and Trail Layout

by American Trails Staff

The goal of trail building is to create a long-term relationship between humans and nature.

  • tags: environment, sustainability
categories: Design

posted Jan 3, 2018

Sustainable Trails: Doing it Right the First Time

by John Favro with TrailsGuy, LLC Trails Consulting

When you construct or reroute a trail, you are putting a structure on the landscape that will be there, in good or bad condition, for 100 years or more in most places. So why not do it right?

  • tags: sustainability
categories: Design, Building and Maintenance

posted Jan 4, 2018

Optimizing Trail Grade: The Key to Creating Sought-After Trails

by Randy Martin with Trailscape

Designers and land managers should consider the benefits of lengthening trails to lower the average grade while at the same time including short sections that are much steeper.

  • tags: equestrian, mountain biking
categories: Design, Building and Maintenance

posted Jul 15, 2018

Improving Public Health through Public Parks and Trails

by Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Parks and trail corridors have been important for public health in the United States for more than 100 years.

  • tags: parks, healthcare
categories: Advocacy and Promotion, Benefits of Trails

posted Jul 15, 2018

Guidelines for the Design, Construction and Maintenance of Sustainable Trails

by Trails for All Ontarians Collaborative

The Ontario Trails Strategy describes our vision for trails in Ontario and recognizes the many benefits of trails for health and prosperity and highlights the importance of environmental protection.

  • tags: sustainability, maintenance
categories: Design, Building and Maintenance


posted Jul 15, 2018

Sustainability of Backcountry Trails

by National Park Service

A document providing the basis for the most sustainable backcountry trail for all trail types with the least impact to natural, historic, cultural and aesthetic resources.

  • tags: sustainability, wilderness, preservation
categories: Design, Building and Maintenance

posted Jan 19, 2018

Developing Sustainable Mountain Trail Corridors

by Hugh Duffy with National Park Service

This article introduces the criteria of maximum profile grade relative to the existing cross slope (fall line) as key to the development of natural surface trail projects that are sustainable. Key trail design concepts excerpted from trail documents are presented in this article.

  • tags: sustainability
categories: Design, Building and Maintenance

posted Jul 15, 2018

Guide to Sustainable Mountain Trails

by National Park Service

This Guide to Sustainable Mountain Trails: Assessment, Planning & Design Sketchbook, 2007 Edition, has its roots in the foundational policies and ethics of federal conservation and preservation land management agencies such as the United States Forest Service and the National Park Service, and in the spirit of nonprofit agency partnership support for land management agency stewardship initiatives.

  • tags: sustainability
categories: Design, Building and Maintenance

posted Jul 15, 2018

Massachusetts Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual

by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation

The health and happiness of people across Massachusetts depend on the accessibility and quality of our green infrastructure - our natural resources, recreational facilities, and great historic landscapes.

  • tags: funding
categories: Design

posted Jan 19, 2018

Trail Planning, Design & Development Guidelines

by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

This 300-page spiral-bound publication, several years in the making, provides a first-ever comprehensive "how-to" guidebook for developing all types of recreational trails.

  • tags: funding
categories: Funding, Planning and Management, Design, Building and Maintenance

posted Jul 15, 2018

Presentation on Minnesota DNR’s Trail Manual

by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Provides a snapshot of new MN DNR’s Trail Manual - Importance of quality - Importance of sustainability

  • tags: sustainability
categories: Design

posted Jul 15, 2018

Trail Design Guidelines for Portland, Oregon’s Park System

by Portland Park's and Recreation

Trails are an integral part of our park and recreation system. They are used by people of all ages and abilities to exercise, relax, socialize, view wildlife, and travel to destinations such as school and work.

  • tags: urban
categories: Funding, Planning and Management, Design

posted Jul 15, 2018

Wake County, North Carolina, Trail Design Guidelines

by Wake Country Parks and Rec

​The Consolidated Open Space Plan (COSP) guides the work of Wake County's Open Space Program. The Plan presents policy recommendations, program guidelines and suggested methods that should be used by the County and its partners to conserve remaining open space.

  • tags: funding
categories: Funding, Planning and Management

posted Jul 15, 2018

Guidelines for Trail Development within Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

by Montgomery County Commissioners

The purpose of this document is to provide desirable and minimum trail design standards to municipalities applying for county open space funds to develop trail connections. The municipality’s open space plan must indicate connections to existing or proposed county trails, and county parks and historic sites to be eligible for county trail funding.

  • tags: funding
categories: Design