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Trail Fundamentals and Trail Management Objectives

Trail  Fundamentals and Trail Management Objectives cover

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 and Trail Management Objectives PDF (Updated publication September 2016)

This publication provides comprehensive guidance and instructions for applying Trail Fundamentals and Trail Management Objectives. This recently published version includes the original 2008 content, along with updated photos and formatting.

Trail Fundamentals Overview PDF (September 2016)

This document provides definitions and business rules for the five Trail Fundamentals: Trail Type, Trail Class, Managed Use, Designed Use and Design Parameters.

Trail Fundamentals PowerPoint PPT (04/24/2012)

This PowerPoint slideshow provides an overview of the five Trail Fundamentals. Refer to the PowerPoint Notes for an expanded explanation of each slide.

  • Instructor Notes: To view or print the Instructor Notes for this presentation, open the PowerPoint, single click on File single click on Print. Under “Print What?”, select Notes Pages, then print.

Reference Documents

The documents below are included in the Trail Fundamentals Reference Package (above).  They are also provided here as individual documents below to assist with local planning and implementation needs.

  • Trail Definitions PDF (April 2007)
    This document provides definitions of a trail, forest trail, National Forest System Trail, and the “umbrella” USFS/NPS/BLM/FWS interagency definition of a trail.
  • Trail Fundamentals Definitions PDF (10/16/2008)
    This document provides definitions for Trail Fundamentals and associated terminology including Trail Management Objectives, Trail Type, Trail Class, Managed Use, and Design Parameteres.
  • Trail Class Matrix PDF (September 2016)
    This document describes the five national Trail Classes applicable to all National Forest System Trails.
  • Trail Class Photo Examples PDF (September 2016)
    This document provides photo examples to assist in the identification of the Trail Class that is representative of the management intent for a particular trail.
  • National Design Parameters PDF (September 2016)
    This document provides nationally standardized technical specifications for trail construction and maintenance, based on Designed Use and Trail Class.
  • CASM: Condition Assessment Survey Matrix PDF (September 2016)
    CASM outlines minimum survey accuracy guidelines for trail condition surveys. It recommends the appropriate survey accuracy needed for each Trail Class. These guidelines also apply to the amount and accuracy of corresponding data entered into the Infra Trails Module.
  • TMO Form XLS (v5 10/01/2008)
    Use this blank copy of the TMO form to document trail-specific TMOs.
    [This Excel spreadsheet includes 3 tabs: TMO page 1, TMO page 2, TMO continuation sheet]

For More Information

If you have questions or comments, please contact Forest Service Trail Management at: fstrailmanagement@fs.fed.us.

US Forest Service
Last modified May 09, 2017

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