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Wetland Trail Design and Construction: 2007 Edition

Semi-transparent drawing of a man and a woman walking while wearing backpacks. Introduction

Most experienced trail crews try to avoid wetlands because of the construction and maintenance problems they pose. Little has been published on wetland trail construction, and materials that are available are often outmoded or are too regionally focused. By pulling this information together from our experiences, we hope to answer questions you didn't even know you had.

In this manual we have described the common techniques for building a wetland trail. We have also included information on some of the more unusual materials and tools.

Some of the techniques and tools we describe are suitable for wilderness situations where mechanized equipment cannot be used. Others are suitable for urban greenbelts where a wider range of techniques, material, and equipment can be used. Somewhere in between are the back-country sites where machines are permitted, but access and logistics are challenges. Although this book is written for wetland trails, the techniques described can also be used for correcting other poorly drained low areas in existing trails.

The manual is written for those who are untrained and inexperienced in wetland trail construction, but those with experience may learn a few things, too.

The 2007 edition incorporates minor changes to this report, first published in 2001 (0123-2833-MTDC). The changes primarily involve wood preservative treatments and construction details. The list of references has been updated.