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SKILLS and COMPETENCIES LIST for Trails Training

Categories of skills used in trails and greenways work, along with links to classes and resources for training. Also see National Scenic and Historic Trails Training Needs Assessment

This area categorizes and defines the wide range of skills used in trails and greenways work. The goal is to comprehensively identify the range of competencies and knowledge used by staff and volunteers engaged in every kind of trail work. Web pages for the 12 topics provides a catalogue of skills, plus links to resources, publications, and training providers.

This area is compiled and maintained by Stuart Macdonald from resources provided by members of the National Trails Training Partnership. Many of the specific skills were identified by the task force for the National Scenic and Historic Trails Training Needs Assessment.


See the categories below for the categories of skills needed for trails. Click on each catgegory name to reach the expanded page with details of jobs, competencies, and skills for each topic. You'll also find links to specific training opportunities, training providers, and other educational resources for both urban and backcountry trails.

photo of people cutting ribbon

Many kinds of skills and expertise are required
to reach the opening celebration for a new trail

1. Trail Design

Layout of trails; design for different trail activities; types of trails; see details...

2. Facility Construction

Trail building; contruction techniques; surfacing and materials; bridges and boardwalks; trailhead facilities; related structures; recreational facilities; see details...

3. Trail Maintenance

Care and maintenance of trails, greenways, and bikeways; repair of various trail elements; maintenance of trailheads and related facilities; see details...

4. Visitor and Trail Management

Managing trails for a variety of uses and visitor experiences while meeting trail objectives, monitoring activities and their impacts on natural, historic, and cultural resources; see details...

5. Laws, Regulations, and Policies

Interpreting regulations and legislation;applying federal laws on environmental, historic issues; providing accessible routes under the Americans with Disabilities Act; developing and enforcing trail regulations; responding to legal issues; see details...

6. Planning

Plannning individual trails and greenways; identifying routes and experiences for park systems; developing plans for regional and statewide systems; developing goals and objectives for trail projects; see details...

7. Program Administration and Funding

Budgeting; developing costs; managing grants and finding programs; managing staff and volunteers; managing projects; identifying funding sources; working with a variety of funding; writing grant proposals; see details...

8. Organizational Development

Development of organizations for trails and greenways work: creating and building a nonprofit organization; managing boards and staff; recruiting, training, and rewarding volunteers; managing finances and legal issues; see details...

9. Partnership and Collaboration

Creating and maintaining partnerships; interagency project management; structuring agreements among partners; nurturing cooperation among a variety of recreation and conservation interests; planning trail systems across jurisdictional lines; see details...

10. Resource Protection and Monitoring

Management of natural resources that host trails and greenways: monitoring impacts of visitors and natural processes; acquistion and protection of trail corridors; conservation and restoration of habitat and natural areas; see details...

11. Information Management

Database management; website development; trail and facility inventories; trail assessment and maintenance records; identifying and gathering needed information; see details...

12. Public Outreach, Marketing, and Interpretation

Signs and public information; communicating regulations and etiquette; marketing of trails and recreation opportunities; environmental education; interpretation of historic and cultural features; see details...



The National Trails Training Partnership

American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 • (530) 547-2060 • Fax: (530) 547-2035 •

The National Trails Training Partnership is an alliance of Federal agencies, training providers, nationwide supporters, and providers of products and services. Visit the online calendar of training opportunities, access hundreds of trail-related resources, read the news, learn how you can help, and see training resources in your state.

This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Highway Administration under Cooperative Agreement DTFH61-06-H-00023. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Federal Highway Administration.



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