Wheels and Legs: Reducing Nonmotorized Trails Conflicts

This webinar will provide perspectives and an assessment of the issue of conflicts and potential solutions when dealing with nonmotorized trails.

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Event Details

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December 09, 2021

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


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Webinar Sponsor

This webinar is free to the public thanks to a generous sponsorship from Rhino Marking & Protection Systems.


Webinar Outline

“Share-the trail" has been a mantra for decades. In many cases, particularly for urban trails and greenways, the shared use (multiple uses) concept has offered an efficient and affordable way to build and manage trails. However, with the explosive growth of trail visitation and the growth the types of uses, the question of conflicts among users, has arisen—particularly between mechanized (bikes) and foot (including people with mobility devices) traffic.

In addition to the more traditional modes of hiking and bicycling, we now have trail running, single-track biking, snow biking, e-biking, horseback riding, long distance trekking, people with mobility aides, long boarding, skating, pack animal trips, and other emerging modes not even dreamed up yet. And, with increasingly sophisticated technology, bikes can now access and negotiate many trails that were once the domain of foot and horse traffic only. We also now need to consider an expanding range of visitor experience objectives including: finding solace, family outings, group meet ups, fast riders, slow riders, riding challenge courses, races, getting fit, escaping, spiritual healing, and more. Each has its character and each has its unique user objectives.

Considering both “back country" and urban trails, what are some of the emerging potential conflicts types and trends and how do they affect the trail experience, safety and resource sustainability? Is it a problem? And, if so, how significant is it? Are we at a tipping point where we need to rethink shared use? What are the characteristics of the most common and disruptive conflicts? What are the perceptions of the different types of trail users? And, what are trail managers’ perspectives? Are there practical solutions?

This presentation will benefit all levels of expertise and roles from trail users, to planners and designers, to managers. The goal is to provide perspectives, an assessment of the issue of conflicts and potential solutions when dealing with nonmotorized trails.

Following the presentation, the panelist will respond to questions from webinar participants.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify and examine the growing array of trail use types and user trends and the user conflicts they potentially create.
  • Formulate a balanced perspective on the characteristics and extent of conflicts now and likely in the future.
  • Reveal and evaluate state-of-the-art in design and management solutions currently being implemented to reduce conflicts with illustrative visual examples and case studies.
  • Identify new potential solutions with illustrative visual examples and case studies.


This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).

Webinar Resources

City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks

Marin County



Webinar Partners


Dennis Benson, Recreation Program Manager, Deschutes National Forest, USDA Forest Service
Bend, Oregon

Dennis Benson has worked for the Forest Service for 34 years and is currently the Recreation Program Manager on the Deschutes National Forest in Bend, Oregon. Overall use on the Deschutes has more than doubled in the last five years. The combination of increased use and the continued development of technology has created significant challenges for public lands managers regardless of where they work. The explosion in sales of Ebikes and one wheels has created new challenges with long term partners like equestrian groups. As an agency we are interested in proactive approaches to managing these potential conflicts and are working on long term solutions to provide an enjoyable recreation experience while protecting fragile resources through the use of technology, management actions, and empowering out partners and volunteers in both long term and short term solutions. Dennis is an avid outdoor recreationist and has both a personal and professional perspective when it comes to recreation management.


Ryan Ojero, Southwest Regional Manager, Washington Trails Association
Vancouver, Washington

Ryan Ojerio has been involved in trails advocacy, planning, construction, and maintenance for the last 13 years while working for Washington Trails Association (WTA). Although a hiking focused non-profit, WTA has a history of successful collaboration with other trail user groups. Ryan's experience includes working as a bicycle mechanic through high school and college, teaching mountain biking at the University of Oregon Outdoor Pursuits Program and serving as a volunteer on the Oakridge-Westfir Community Trails Committee whose planning efforts helped establish the area as a world class mountain biking destination. Ryan's approach to trail based recreation is further influenced by his undergraduate studies in ecology and conservation biology as well as his master's degree work in community and regional planning. On a more personal level Ryan's experience growing up as a person of color in traditionally white outdoor "spaces", being a father to two young children and caring for aging parents also inform his views on recreation planning and management.


Deonne Vanderwoude, Human Dimensions Supervisor, City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks
Boulder, Colorado

Deonne VanderWoude is the Human Dimensions Supervisor for the City of Boulder’s (Colorado) Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Department, where she has worked for 17 years to integrate monitoring human systems with data-informed recreation management. OSMP is an urban proximate open space with close to 160 designated trail miles and annual visitation now exceeding 6 million visits. One-third of these trails are open to cyclists, and OSMP cyclically monitors many aspects of multi-use trail provision, including visitation levels, activity distributions, trail conditions, visitor experiences, and visitor conflicts. We strive to provide the best possible recreation experiences, while using collected data to create a shared understanding of visitation on the system, and to inform planning and design, visitor use management strategies, and daily operations. Deonne has degrees in Environmental Anthropology and Environmental Studies and enjoys the application of these fields to real-world situations, including data centric visitor use management.


Curt Kruger, President, Trail Partners Foundation
Auburn, California

Cofounder and President of Trail Partners Foundation, former Director of Marin Horse Council. 30 years field marketing positions with national corporations dealing with environmental products. MBA - UC Berkeley, BS Mechanical Engineering - Worcester Poly Inst. Married with two adult children and two grandchildren currently living near Auburn in California's Gold Country.


Robert (Bob) Searns, Owner, Robert Searns and Associates, Inc.
Denver, Colorado

Robert Searns has a four-decade history of visualizing, planning, and getting trails and greenway projects built. He was Project Director of Denver’s Platte River and Mary Carter Greenways—both national-award-wining projects. He helped plan the Grand Canyon National Park Greenway, played a key role on the Memphis Wolf River Greenway, and authored the Commerce City, CO Walk, Bike, Fit plan. He has written for Planning, Landscape Architecture, LA China, and American Trails Magazines and has served as Editor-in-Chief of Trails and Beyond Magazine. He chaired American Trails and was a founder of The World Trails Network as well as being a delegate to the America’s Great Outdoors White House conclave. His current book is Beyond Greenways: The Next Step For City Trails and Walking Routes, published in 2023 by Island Press. He resides, writes, hikes, and bikes near Denver, Colorado.


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Learning Credits and CEUs

American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

  • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
  • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES PDH) (most HSW approved)
  • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
  • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

Learning credits are free for attendees for American Trails webinars and the International Trails Symposium, as well as for other conferences, webinars, and workshops we offer credits for. Learn more here.


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6,414 views • posted 08/11/2021