Introduction to Mechanized Trail Building

March 11, 12, 13, 8 am – 5 pm, Lunch provided all 3 days

Cost: $500

Site: 7th Mountain Resort (meeting place is Riverhouse Conference Center)

Lead Instructors: Steve Thomas- Terra Firma Trails LLC,  Bill Goulding-Sustainable Trails Ltd.

Max size -8 people (additional instructors will be added if needed to accommodate more students)


One skilled machine operator and the right machine can do the work of many hand laborers in a fraction of the time. In a dollars and cents world, machines save you time and money on any given trail project.

An un-trained machine operator can do a lot of damage in no time and this often requires significant time to "clean up the mess". These situations have given machine built trail a bad image and left trail users and land managers wondering if there is a "better way".

The "better way" is using machines for the project but making sure the operators are well trained and skilled and have a light touch. This 3-day workshop will focus on giving participants a good head start and introduction into the world of mechanized trail building. Join us for this hot topic workshop and learn how to use machines, but yield a high level of finish and an "always been there" look.

Instructors are some of the best in the business with not only good machine skills, but also good teaching and instructional skills. Teacher to student ratios will be kept low and there will be plenty of hands on machine time to hone your skills on a range of different machines.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Care and feeding of trail machines
  • Trailer loading and securing the load
  • Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) and general machine safety
  • Different types of machines and applications (dirt pushers vs. diggers)
  • Multiple attachments on versatile machines
  • Rough grading and grubbing vs. finished grading
  • Trail maintenance with machines
  • Road to trail conversions- making old road more effective recreational corridors
  • New trail construction
  • Extraction of a machine when you get in trouble
  • Finish work behind the machines

This is a working and very hands on workshop, please come prepared for such. Being prepared includes having the following:  good work clothing including rain gear, good boots, gloves, eye protection, hearing protection, and a hard hat. Lunch is provided each day but you will need to bring a pack for water, snacks and extra clothing.

We will set up different stations with various machines.