The Devil is in the Details: Common Trail Design Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

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The goal of this webinar is to teach planners, landscape architects, engineers and trail committee volunteers a variety of best practices for trail design. Hard surfaced trails are not as easy to design as they seem. Details that can make trails safer, more user-friendly and more accessible are often overlooked. Cost overruns, project delays, permitting problems, construction “surprises” and maintenance headaches can often be avoided by employing better planning approaches & design techniques.

The presenter has distilled 20+ years of trail planning experience and added advice collected from a dozen trail designers and managers into a set of best practices on trail planning & design. You’ll view good and bad design examples on over 20 topics, such as: boardwalks, tunnels, trailheads, environmental planning, wetlands, accessibility details, wayfinding and more. Information will be presented in an easy-to understand, non-technical format with photos and drawings from around the U.S.

This webinar is designed for professionals who have a novice to intermediate level of trail planning or design experience. It focuses on new construction or rehabilitation of hard surface trails (asphalt, concrete, crushed stone, etc.) for bicycling, walking, ADA accessibility or multiple uses. However, many of the design techniques discussed also apply to natural surface trails.
Distance Learning
Course Equivalency
Site Planning
Sustainable Development & Design
Health, Safety and Welfare
Learning Outcomes
Key Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Avoid common trail development problems and delays by applying trail planning approaches and design techniques;

2. Distinguish between good and bad trail designs for several trail elements, including boardwalks, bridges, trailheads, wayfinding, road crossings, grading, alignment, culverts, etc.;

3. Apply tips and techniques during the planning, design, construction bidding and management stages of trails for a smoother development process, more user-friendly trail, and fewer maintenance headaches.

4. Access additional trail planning and design resources, to be provided on a resource list.
Holly Larson, Outdoor Recreation Planner, National Park Service
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Course Codes
American Trails

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