Recreational Trails

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A system of formal trails is a core and essential type of infrastructure in protected woodland and forest areas that facilitates visitor access and supports sustainable recreational opportunities and experiences. Recreational activities can include but are not restricted to: walking and trekking, bicycling, horse riding, camping and backpacking. Recreation - related impacts in protected natural areas are an increasing concern for land managers, who are generally, guided by mandates requiring the preservation of natural areas and provision of recreational space (Hammit and Cole 1998).
Mentioned in a study by Wimpey and Marion (2010) protected area managers often construct and maintain trails condoning the requisite ecological disturbance and concentrate visitor traffic onto durable substrates with the intention of preserving natural conditions in other adjacent areas. However, impacts associated with trail use can conflict with preservation orders, therefore challenging land managers to implement effective visitor and resource management strategies.
An earlier study by Marion et al (1993) stated; managers of the National Park Service (NPS) identified trail impacts as a significantly widespread challenging problem. The study presented findings of soil erosion being the most widespread impact, with 44% of land managers indicating it as a significant problem in most areas. Such challenges are likely to continue if trail-recreation uses continue to expand (Olive and Marion 2009).
In agreement, published by Natural England (2013); in edition 1 of the monitor of engagement with the natural environment; the national survey on people and the natural environment annual report 2012-2013; presented statistically significant year-on-year ch...

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...arrows trail traffic as opposed to open fields and meadows. The study by Marion (1994) confirmed three significant impacts on trail width: 1) wet soil was the most significant increase in trail width, 2) a strong positive correlation between trail width and gradient, indicating that steep sloping trails were significantly narrower, 3) mid-slope trails were significantly narrower.

Authorisation of construction and maintenance of trails often specifies the trail characteristics, it can recommend trail corridor clearing dimensions and trail width. We define the trail corridor width as the gap in vegetation, usually tree or boundary lined which supports the trail itself. Trail width is defined as the portion of the trail corridor that directly supports the recreational traffic. Tread width is defined as the centre (most heavily trafficked) as depicted in Fig. 1.

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