The Forest Service incorporates several standardized trail management concepts and tools in the administration and management of over 150,000 miles of National Forest System trails. These tools help ensure that each trail is designed, constructed, and maintained to provide the desired user experience and meet the management intent for the trail.
These trail management tools are closely aligned with and support implementation of the Forest Service’s National Trail Strategy.
Trail Fundamentals include five key concepts that are cornerstones of Forest Service trail management: Trail Type, Trail Class, Managed Use, Designed Use, and Trail Design Parameters. Trail Fundamentals are individually prescribed for each National Forest System Trail via Trail Management Objectives (TMOs), which document the intended purpose and management of each trail.
TRACS is the Forest Service’s required methodology for conducting trail inventory, condition assessment and prescriptions for National Forest System trails. TRACS provides standardized terminology, business rules and data fields which are integrated with the agency’s corporate database and used for planning, management, cost estimation, and reporting.
The Forest Service Standard Trail Plans and Specifications are intended for use in the design, construction, and maintenance of National Forest System trails and trail bridges. These plans and specifications are also available for use by other federal, state, and local agencies, communities, trail partners, volunteers, and other entities.