The following is a list of various documents and links to other websites to be used as resources to assist trail organizations,
community and user groups, planning organizations, interested individuals and others in planning, designing, developing and
maintaining trails. Federal and state funded grant programs are available to aid in trail development
including the Recreational Trails Program.
OPRHP Trails Technical Documents
These documents were designed for use within New York State Parks to help guide the design, development and maintenance of trails but can be used as resources for trail projects outside of the Parks. These
documents may be updated periodically. Additional documents will be developed in the future as part of this series.
Design, Development and Maintenance
Proper trail design and development are essential to creating sustainable trails and trail systems. The following manuals with
links are provided as resource guides for trail design, development and maintenance:
- Trail Planning, Design, & Development Guidelines. State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources, 2007. Trails and Waterways Division.
- Trail Maintenance Manual, 7th Edition Revised. 2007. New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, Inc.
- Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook. 2007 Edition. Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture.
- Lightly on the Land: The SCA Trail-Building and Maintenance Manual. 2006. Robert C. Birkby, The Student Conservation Association.
- Trail Solutions: IMBA's Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack. 2004. International Mountain Bicycling Association.
- Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads and Campgrounds. December 2007. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service - Missoula Technology and Development Center.
- Guide for the development of Bicycle Facilities. 1999. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
- Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part II of II: Best Practices Design Guide. 2001. United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration
- Shared use Paths and Greenways. 2006. Massachusetts Highway Department.
- Trails for the Twenty-First Century, Second Edition, Planning, Design, and Management Manual for Multi-Use Trails. 2001. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
Over 650 miles of former railroad in urban, suburban and rural communities has been developed into rail trails within New York
State to date. An inventory conducted by OPRHP suggests that over 5,500 miles of historic rail corridor are no longer used for rail
road purposes. This presents a vast opportunity for developing rail trails to connect communities with environmental and
recreational resources and become valuable assets to communities. The following documents provide guidance and better
understanding of the process of converting rails to trails.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail
lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. Their website provides a wealth of information and
resources for conversion of rails to trails.