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New Horse Trails Book Available for Forest Service Employees

Recreation Tech Tip logo   United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Technology & Development Program
May 2008 2300 0823-2320-MTDC

Sunni Bradshaw, Project Assistant

Forest Service trail planners and resource managers will find useful information in "Recreational Horse Trails in Rural and Wildland Areas: Design, Construction, and Maintenance" (figure 1), by retired Clemson professor Gene W. Wood. The book lists three goals for trail design, construction, and maintenance:

Book Cover
Figure 1-This 256-page book covers many topics in the detail needed by Forest Service planners.
Photo of a tie stall.
Figure 2-The Clemson 4-Horse Tie Stall is one of the campground amenities described in detail in "Recreational Horse Trails for Rural and Wildland Areas: Design, Construction, and Maintenance."
  • The trail should be safe for users.
  • The trail should be ecologically sound.
  • The trail should be economically sustainable at trails, trailheads, and campgrounds (figure 2).

Case studies examine concepts that worked and those that didn't. According to the author, trail builders must know the basic concepts of ecology to ensure that recreational horse trails are compatible with natural ecosystems. The book, published in 2007 by Clemson University, emphasizes ways to design recreational horse trails that are compatible with soils, watersheds, and ecosystems. It covers trail planning, design, management, construction, maintenance, and monitoring, as well as the needs of horses at trails, trailheads, and campgrounds (figure 2). Case studies examine concepts that worked and those that didn't.

The case studies include:

  • Midwestern Ecosystems: Hoosier National Forest
  • High Prairie Plains Ecosystem
  • The Inland West: Gospel Hump-Wilderness, Nez Perce National Forest
  • The Southwest: Front Range Wildlands-Denver, Colorado Metro Area Interface
  • Southeastern Piedmont: The Clemson Experimental Forest Trail System

The book's 14 chapters include:

  • Trails Embedded in Ecosystems
  • Adaptive Management Concepts for Trail Systems
  • Trail Design
  • Documentary Materials for Planning and Management
  • Trail Tools, Materials, and Mechanized Equipment
  • Trail Construction and Maintenance
  • Trail Monitoring
  • Trailheads and Campgrounds

Availability

With funding from the Federal Highway Administration's Recreational Trails Program, the Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) purchased 400 copies of Wood's book for Forest Service employees. In February 2008, about 125 copies were distributed to Forest Service regional trail coordinators. The book can be purchased from Clemson University's Web site: http://www.clemson.edu/forestres/.

Forest Service offices can order one copy of the book on a first-come, first-served basis from:

USDA Forest Service
Missoula Technology and Development Center
5785 Hwy. 10 West
Missoula, MT 59808-9361
Phone: 406-329-3978
Fax: 406-329-3719
E-mail: wo_mtdc_pubs@fs.fed.us

For additional information about recreational horse trails and facilities contact Sunni Bradshaw at MTDC:

Phone: 406-829-6765
Fax: 406-329-3719
E-mail: srbradshaw@fs.fed.us

Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management employees can search a more complete collection of MTDC's documents, CDs, DVDs, and videos on their internal computer networks at: http://fsweb.mtdc.wo.fs.fed.us/search/.

Forest Service offices can order one copy of the book on a first-come, first-served basis from:

USDA Forest Service
Missoula Technology and Development Center
5785 Hwy. 10 West
Missoula, MT 59808-9361
Phone: 406-329-3978
Fax: 406-329-3719
E-mail: wo_mtdc_pubs@fs.fed.us
Electronic copies of MTDC's documents are available on the Internet at: http://www.fs.fed.us/eng/t-d.php

About the Author

Sunni Bradshaw is a visual information specialist and project assistant at MTDC. She is a graduate of the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and has a bachelor's degree in recreation program management from the University of Montana. Before joining MTDC, Sunni was a technical writer, photographer, and award-wining journalist. Her work - including articles, photography, layout, and design - has appeared in many local, regional, and national publications.


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