Concurrent Sessions: Science & Policy

From recreation and soils ecology to national policies, this track will explore key concepts to apply on the ground. 

Forest Service National Sustainable Trail Strategy
Matt Able, Trails and Dispersed Recreation Program Manager, Daniel Boone National Forest
Concurrent Session A, Monday, March 26, 10:05 am - 11:20 am
Concurrent Session G, Wednesday, March 28, 8:30 -9:15 am

Join this session to learn about the new Forest Service National Sustainable Trail Strategy and how it will impact partners and PTBA members. We will review of how the strategy came to be, how it outlines the future direction of trails and trail maintenance on National Forest lands, and what the strategy means for our partner organizations.  Session will include opportunity for question and answer.

Recreation Ecology: Current Research for Sustainable Trail and Camping Management
Jeff Marion, Recreation Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Virginia Tech Field Unit
Concurrent Session B, Monday, March 26, 2;30 - 3:45 pm
This session presents state-of-knowledge findings and management implications from recreation ecology research in laymen’s terms. We’ll explore the latest research on trail and campsite sustainability, specifically, how can managers design, construct, and maintain trails and campsites that will sustain heavy visitation while remaining in good condition with limited maintenance. We’ll examine the traditional tools (site design and management, regulation, education) and explore some innovative solutions like using computers to identify sustainable trail alignments and campsites and smartphone apps to navigate trails to

Basic Soil Mechanics for Trailbuilders
Alex Man, PhD, PEng, Geological Engineer/Trail Designer
Concurrent Session C:  Monday, March 26, 4:00 - 5:15 pm
Soil types vary widely all over the world - and even on a single trail!  Understanding the physical characteristics of soil and having the ability to categorize soil is VERY important to successful trailbuilding.  This session will provide trailbuilders with applicable knowledge of soil including soil description, grain size distribution and its measurement, clay plasticity, and compaction curves and the importance of water.

Applying Recreation Ecology Science to the Sustainable Management of National Scenic Trails
Jeremy Wimpey, Applied Trails Research, Johanna Arredondo and Fletcher Meadema, Virginia Tech Graduate students, and Jeff Marion, U.S. Geological Survey, VT Field Station
Concurrent Session D:  Tuesday, March 27, 8:30 - 9:45 am
This session presents current recreation ecology research on two large federally-funded studies examining common visitor resource impacts along the Appalachian and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails. We highlight new research findings related to trail and campsite conditions and describe core management implications for enhancing sustainability. Key findings reveal the merits of shifting visitor use to side-hill trails and campsites. Such positions are inherently sustainable because the topography spatially concentrates and constrains traffic to minimize the “footprint” of resource impact.