Learn the basics of developing and managing natural surface, share-used trail systems.The webinar is geared primarily towards beginning and intermediate level trailbuilders: including volunteers, agency staff, and professional trail crews.
10:30 am (Pacific Time)
** This event has passed **
Cost (RECORDING):$19 for members (Trail Professional level or higher)
Note:Closed Captioning is NOT available for this webinar.
The goals of sustainable trail design are to keep users and soil on the trail, while keeping water off the trail, and leaving a net positive environmental impact when creating new trails.
Learn the details of Tony's 10 Guidelines for Sustainable Trail Planning Design, Construction & Maintenance:
1. Average Trail Grades
2. Maximum Tread Grades
3. Relationship of the Trail to Sideslope
4. Managing Water through Rolling Contour Design
5. Understanding Soils and Climate
6. Getting into the Head of Users
7. Understanding Control Points
8. Balancing Nature & Human Impacts
9. Creating Synergistic Partnerships
10. Understanding weak links and the big picture!
What is Trail Sustainability?
"Sustainability of backcountry trail corridors is defined as the ability of the travel surface to support current and anticipated appropriate uses with minimal impact to the adjoining natural systems and cultural resources. Sustainable trails have negligible soil loss or movement and allow the naturally occurring plant systems to inhabit the area, while allowing for the occasional pruning and removal of plants necessary to build and maintain the trail. If well-designed, built, and maintained, a sustainable trail minimizes braiding, seasonal muddiness and erosion. It should not normally affect natural fauna adversely nor require re-routing and major maintenance over long periods of time."
– Hugh Duffy, National Park Service, Denver Service Center in Guide to Sustainable Mountain Trails: Trail Assessment, Planning & Design Sketchbook, 2007; originally published in the Colorado State Trails Newsletter in 1991 as Developing Sustainable Mountain Trail Corridors: An Overview.
Tony Boone, owner, Tony Boone Trails, LLC
In 25 years, Tony Boone has passionately led crews in sculpting over 800 kilometers of shared-use and purpose-built trails for mountain bicyclists of all ages and abilities around the world. His experience includes professional trail building companies, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations. His passion is creating sustainable, kinesthetically, and aesthetically diverse trails that mountain bikers love to ride.
He is highly skilled on the utilization and training of state-of-the-art trail technology like the Sutter 500 Trail Dozer, SWECO 480 Trail Dozer, miniature/micro excavators, loaders, tracked carriers, ATV rakes & harrows, hydraulic & gas powered drilling, and blasting with Magnum Blaster. Tony is a pioneer in the evolution and art of creating sustainable, machine-built trails for mountain bikers.
Tony’s accomplishments include: establishing the first mountain bike patrol in Colorado in 1989, training eight IMBA/Subaru Trail Care Crews (1997-2011), inspiring the IMBA Trail Solutions Program (2001), and assisting with both IMBA books (Trail Solutions: IMBA’s Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack and Managing Mountain Bikes: IMBA’s Guide to Providing Great Riding). He has been an active member of the Professional Trail Builders Association and American Trails since 1995. His primary focus since 2010 has been assisting IMBA develop their international markets and creating the next generation of kinesthetically diverse “flow-based” tracks.
Tony’s current experience with his own company, Tony Boone Trails, LLC based in Salida, CO, includes partnering with IMBA and Trek China in planning, designing, and constructing the first professionally built trail system for mountain bikers in Chengdu, China. He conducted numerous site visits for bike parks in Sichuan and Hebei provinces. Tony also partnered with IMBA AU and Sutter Equipment to import the first trail dozer to Australia and provide demonstrations of dozer-built flow trails in New South Wales, Victoria, and S. Australia. Other projects include planning, designing, and constructing purpose-built trails for riders in Hong Kong, Philippines, and the US (Colorado, Idaho & Alabama). Tony has also conducted IMBA Trailbuilding Schools and Master Trailbuilder Courses.
Tony Boone Trails, LLC
Read Tony's article: "Sharing our love of dirt: trail building in the Philippines"
Video on sustainable trail design for multi-use trails (by Tony Boone)
Books on trailbuilding: Trail Solutions: IMBA’s Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack and Managing Mountain Biking: IMBA’s Guide to Providing Sweet Riding
Hugh Duffy, National Park Service, Denver Service Center in Guide to Sustainable Mountain Trails: Trail Assessment, Planning & Design Sketchbook, 2007 [scroll down to 2007 documents]; originally published in the Colorado State Trails Newsletter in 1991 as Developing Sustainable Mountain Trail Corridors: An Overview
Standard Specifications for Construction and Maintenance of Trails
(USDA Forest Service)
Mountain Bicycle Trail Design Parameters / Trail Difficulty Ratings
IMBA & USFS VIDEOS (based on IMBA books)
Building Mountain Bike Trails - USDA Forest Service 2006
Punchline Trail in the Croy Creek Trail System
IMBA's Trail Solutions team, Coldwater Mountain in Anniston, AL
Q. We have a park with 20+ miles of multiple use trails; they cross in many places. Would you recommend signing every single intersection with a number and posted trail map? Is there a reference book or article that explains the best process for signing/numbering such a complex trail system?
Well another good question with no straight-forward answer. Sounds like the trail system may be using a combination of planned/designed trails and possible a few, or many user created social trails. If we are talking 30-40 trail intersections, we must consider the financial cost of implementing and maintaining a signage program, especially if vandalism has ever been an issue. And often if you sign one intersection your destined to sign all of them or visitors may still get confused. I would be open for more discussion specifically at your site, and perhaps we could come up with a reasonable and prudent solution. In the mean time here are a few references: There are chapters on signage in both IMBA books and the USFS Handbook.
Q. Challenges with managing users on multi use trails:
DAN ASKS: Tony, we have I know you touched briefly on this but in your opinion - should equestrians be on separate trails?
It depends on several factors. First, the intensity of use-- in backcountry areas with little use equestrians share motorized routes. In urban areas a separate tread along paved trails is common. In some cases trail systems are designed specifically for challenging mountain bike experiences, so those are not so good for horses. And where there are more equestrians, they may have their own trails and camping areas. In many areas, however, horses are part of the mix and there is a lot of experience with managing for multiple use. See the "Shared Use" topic at http://www.americantrails.org/resources/ManageMaintain/index.html#4
Q. ROBERT ASKS: What do you like for mechanical trail building?
Q. ALISON ASKS: In our hardwood forests, there are existing trails that have been created by deer. What are your thoughts on ethical/environmental impacts of widening and increasing the headroom of these deer trails for human use?
Animals follow the path of least resistance for their own destinations, but they're not very good trailbuilders for humans. Some people would be concerned about ticks. Better to build the right trail in the right location.
Q. COLIN ASKS: A topographically rich ravine area containing one or more high quality native plant communities could be seen as both positive and negative control points. Can you provide examples of where singletrack and/or shared use trails have been cited in high quality natural areas without significant material disturbance or impact?
See a lot of information on this in "Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind: a Handbook for Trail Planners" and more resources in the American Trails Environmental Issues area: http://www.AmericanTrails.org/resources/wildlife/index.html
Q. SHELLEY ASKS: What do you prefer for types of wood when building wood structures? What are your thoughts on pressure treated wood, especially in situations with contact with water?
Alison, I also think considering the cost (financial and environmental) of the wood will play into the picture almost always. For example it is often too costly to import certain wood species across the country, and some would perhaps, cringe at installing hardwood from an Amazon rainforest.http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/reregistration/cca/
UNANSWERED ATTENDEE QUESTIONS
Q. STEPHANIE ASKS: We have a park with 20+ miles of multiple use trails; they cross in many places. Would you recommend signing every single intersection with a number and posted trail map? Is there a reference book or article that explains the best process for signing/numbering such a complex trail system? Thank you.
Q. ROBERT ASKS: Do you use any water soluble aerosol marking paints? If so... recommendations?
Sorry Bob, I do not use marking paints very often, when I have used them, it is usually day glo orange “stay on the ground till you dig it up” type. In natural surface trail design we almost always use vinyl flagging and vinyl pin flags to demarcate trail alignments and structures. This type is water-soluble paint seems decent, but it still lasts 3-8 years on trees:
Q. MEGAN ASKS: If your trail is outsloped appropriately would you still need dips for drainage?
Theoretically, if your trail tread never compacted (i.e. rocky soils), or users never-ever used it in muddy conditions and you routinely (at least 1-2X a year) re-outsloped the trail tread if it needed it, THEN you would be able to get by with no grade reversals. However, designing trails with rolling contour will help insure that any water that gets into a compacted trail will exit quicker and more frequently than a trail without changes in grade.
Also keep in mind, and “get into the head of the user” realizing that a straight trail usually offers less aesthetic interest AND less kinaesthetic diversity for users. However, a straight trail may be appropriate for a “hiking only” nature trail, or ADA trail, or dual purpose-trail for recreation and transportation by locals. Or you may simply have a limited slice of land or easement and have to design a straight section of trail. Remember trails come in all flavors!
Q. If I don't have a clinometer can I just guess the grades?
Q. Do you prefer aerials or contour maps for trail planning and design?
Examples online: http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/investigations/es0307/es0307page02.cfm What an interesting website, also a dozen other cool map slides.
And about 133,000 more!
Q. On crusher fines trails, not everyone has limestone that compacts well. Are there some kinds of rock that just don't make good crusher fines surfaces?
Q. Of the other countries you have visited, which ones seem to be the most progressive when it comes to building sustainable trails?
There are a lot of interesting trails and new ideas around the world, but Australia and Canada are buildimg great trails.
Q. Can you tell me more about what you mean by a “Living Bridge?” And, where do you primarily find them?
INDIA – MEGHALAYA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1ffu9hlOEo
Q. Do you ever use volunteers to do rock work?
Many organizations do, for instance Wildlands Restoration Volunteers and Colorado Fourteeners Initiative in Colorado, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Student Conservation Association, and Red River Gorge Trail Crew.