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Accessible Trails

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Accessible Trails Workshop: Understanding Accessibility and Building Better Trails

Coordinated by American Trails, in cooperation with the National Trails Training Partnership

NTTP logoThe objectives of this one-day workshop are to teach participants:

current accessibility requirements and legal issues
introduction to the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP)
benefits of sustainable trail design
analysis and problem solving for accessibility


Sustainability has many facets, including environmental, social and economic sustainability. Sustainable trails are better for the environment because they minimize trail impacts on the surrounding environment. Trail users of all abilities benefit from and contribute to the social sustainability of the trail. A broader spectrum of trail users builds more public support for the trail and the benefits that it provides. Sustainable trail design ensures a high probability of compliance with the proposed recreation trail accessibility guidelines. Sustainable trails are also better from an economic perspective because of the decreased costs for maintenance and environmental protection.


9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. ~ Sustainable Trail Design

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. ~ Accessibility and Legal Issues

11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. ~ Break

11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ~ Introduction to Universal Trail Assessment Process

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. ~ Lunch

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ~ On-the-Trail Practical Session

3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. ~ Break

3:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ~ Solving Participant Problems

5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. ~ Q & A and Wrap-up


The following are brief descriptions of each of the workshop sessions:

Workshop Facilitator ~

Sustainable Trail Design ~

This classroom presentation will examine current best practices in terms of the environmental, social and economic sustainability of trails. The benefits to the environment, land managers, and trail users will be discussed.

Accessibility and Legal Issues ~

Updates on current proposals for recreation trail accessibility guidelines (Access Board and USDA Forest Service) will be presented. The match between "best practices" for sustainable trail design and these guidelines will also be discussed.

Universal Trail Assessment Process ~

This presentation will discuss the benefits of having objective measurements of the on-trail conditions for identifying and monitoring potential problems in terms of trail sustainability. Case studies will be used to illustrate the benefits of objective trail information for both users and land managers. In addition, the strategies developed by the American Trails Board to address the recommendations from the State Trail Administrators UTAP survey will be shared.

On-the-Trail Practical Session ~ All Instructors

This session will allow participants to walk a trail with an eye to applying the information learned during the morning sessions. Evidence of poor sustainability on the trail will be identified, assessment measurement techniques will be demonstrated, and potential causes and remedies discussed.

Solving Participant Problems ~ All Instructors

Workshop participants will be given the opportunity to submit photos, maps and other materials that document a particular area of concern on their own trails. The primary concern must be related to the implications of the trail conditions for compliance with the proposed recreation trail accessibility guidelines. This session will present the problems submitted by workshop participants for discussion by the whole group and project recommendations from the workshop instructors.


For information on hosting the Accessible Trails Workshop in your state or region, please contact Pam Gluck, Executive Director, American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797(530) 605-4395Fax: (530)


The National Trails Training Partnership -
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797(530) 605-4395Fax: (530)

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.



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