Trails 101: Trail Planning, Design, Construction and Maintenance Basics - Nov 16, 2017


Trails 101: Trail Planning, Design, Construction and Maintenance Basics - Nov 16, 2017


Instructor: Valerie Naylor Trails Specialist
Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2017
Time: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Room: Greenbriar Room, Stonewall Resort Conference Center
Cost: $120 / person (includes lunch)

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Trails 101: Trail Planning, Design, Construction and Maintenance Basics

This one day indoor and outdoor workshop includes a photo rich presentation, interactive classroom discussion and detailed handout for the first ½ day. The second ½ day will be spent outdoors exploring trail design, construction and maintenance on Stonewall Resort trails – please note, the focus will be on observation and discussion rather than demonstration or performance of work. Trail managers, planners, maintenance personnel, and volunteer trail stewards will gain a better understanding of the bigger “trail picture”, enabling them to have a positive impact on local trail development.

Instructor Bio:

Like many PTBA members, Valerie Naylor's trail building experience started with volunteer work. In 2005 this led to a Trails Coordinator position working for the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails. After a move to the mountains of North Carolina in 2007 Valerie joined the Trail Dynamics LLC team, and in 2011 she started Valerie Naylor, Trails Specialist. VNTS is a Professional Trail Builders Association member providing a variety of trail related assessment, planning, design, construction, maintenance, and education services.

Valerie brings a range of skills to the table including expert mini- excavator, dozer, and skid steer operation, a trail design and planning resume ranging from Florida to Maine to Colorado, and the perspective of an avid trail advocate, mountain biker, and former land manager. Trail education projects are an favorite part of Valerie's work, from mechanized trainings to trails 101 stakeholder outreach to volunteer hand work coordination to working with park staff to produce finished trail; these projects usually result in sweet new trail being developed along with newly competent future trail stewards with a strong sense of ownership.


Trail Planning - Theory

  • sustainable trail = able to be maintained at an acceptable level of impact with available resources
  • the three basic tenants:
  • risk management
  • resource protection
  • user enjoyment
  • risk management concerns
  • “risk management” is not the same as “safety”!
  • give users the info they need to make informed decision about trail choices
  • difficulty levels
  • use conflict
  • resource protection
  • public land is multi use
  • user enjoyment - what is the desired experience?
  • level of improvement
  • difficulty level
  • trail flavor - type of flow

Trail Design

  • trail design 101
  • get the water off the trail
  • keep the user on the trail
  • design potential is limited by existing conditions:
  • soil type
  • amount of rock
  • precipitation amount and type
  • topography
  • hydrology
  • use patterns
  • resources available for construction
  • resources available for maintenance

Trail Construction

  • natural surface construction methods
  • special challenges
  • avoid where possible - increased construction and maintenance costs
  • often necessary as a design compromise between user enjoyment (keep the user on the trail) and erosion control (get the water off the trail)
  • turns – changes in direction AND elevation
  • flat (under 10% sideslope) / wet areas
  • overly steep sections
  • open / unforested areas
  • water crossings
  • alternate lines and technical trail features (ttfs)
  • machine build vs hand build
  • pro build vs volunteer build vs hybrid project

Trail Maintenance

  • clearing vegetation & deadfall
  • restoring tread outslope - deberming
  • clearing drains
  • adding / improving drainage
  • knicks
  • rolling grade dips (RGDs)
  • waterbars
  • adding imported materials
  • heavy terraforming
  • road to trail conversion
  • reroute or reclaim old trail