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Flashcards in Site and Trail Deck (26):

Site Management

Reduce impacts by:
-Directing use to durable sites
-Design and treatment of sites
Site management can affect:
-Amount, type, distribution of visitors
-Durability of the resource
-Restoration of damaged areas
-Site management will increase in intensity & importance in more developed areas.



Maintain a natural appearance, particularly in wildland areas
Do not avoid engineering
-To avoid "unnatural" resource damage
-No difference between engineered trails & engineered campsites & stock-use areas.
Site manipulation weighed against site impacts.


Cost to Visitor & Management

Evaluation of site & trail closures:
-Cost to visitors in terms of satisfaction
Construction of facilities or site modifications
-Irrigation facilities, composting toilets, corrals and hitchrails.
-Significant costs in construction or maintenance or both.
-Wasteful to make initial investment with insufficient funds to maintain improvements.


Locating Use on Resistant Sites - Campsites

Direct use to most durable sites
Durability is extremely site specific
Trampling studies - mountain grassland can receive 10X the use as a lodgepole pine forest.


Considerations for High Use Sites: Overstory trees and Understory

Locate campsites in stands of young, durable, long-lived trees.
Prolongs aesthetic
Aspen are easily damaged, hickories are very durable.
Understory of less concern, unlikely to survive.


Considerations for High Use Sites: Soil

Erosion must be minimal.
Loams are best - mix of particle sizes, mod. levels of organic matter, good drainage.
Thick organic horizons minimize exposure of mineral soils.
Deep soils, moderate drainage for septic systems.


Considerations for Light Use Sites

Resistance of ground cover.
-Grassland & meadows more resistant than forest undergrowth
-Xeric vegetation more resistant than mesic
Select sites without ground vegetation
-Bare rock
-Sand beaches
-Gravel bars
Erosion and tree damage should not be a problem


Locating Use on Resistant Sites - Trails

Selection of a durable route avoids engineering


Topography for trails

Avoid steep slopes
Trails run perpendicular to slope
Slight grades of 1% to 7% are best


Soil moisture for trails

Poorly drained soils - "Trail bogs"
Avoid areas of late snowmelt, high water table, where water drains to trail
Assess conditions prior to construction
Look for persistent snow, wetland vegetation, soil color (high organic content, poor aeration, etc.)


Soil erodability for trails

Sand soils drain well, but particles are easily displaced
Clay soils resist detachment, but drain poorly
Good drainage & soil attachment with loams


Site Manipulation

Influence spatial distribution of visitors
Increase durability of sites



Number, distribution, condition of roads & trails
Road closure
-Shifts balance to nonmotorized users
-Reduces total use.
-Less disturbance & crowding
-Impacts primarily to motorists
Reduce quality & maintenance of roads
-Less effective
-May achieve opposite effect - increased use of off road vehicles


Forest Service Road Policy

380,000 miles of Forest Service roads
1.7 million vehicles per day; 80% of traffic on 20% of the roads.
“the emphasis of this proposed policy is: maintenance of the existing road system; decommissioning of unnecessary classified and unclassified roads after extensive analysis and public involvement at the local level; and maintenance and reconstruction of needed roads as necessary.”



New or improved - increase use
Neglected trails - discourage use
Remove bridges, trail signs, etc. (inform users)
Development of trail facilities will encourage use.(ie. stock loading/unloading facility, parking, shelters)
Fewer facilities will discourage use.


Development of Facilities

Trails, huts & shelters, potable water, toilets, etc.
Change use patterns
-Building horse camp will attract horse use
-Hikers will avoid the area
Will have more impact on type of use, rather than total amount of use.


Concentration of Use

Most desirable in high use facilities.
Camping & picnicking areas
-Tables & grills concentrate food preparation
-Toilets, garbage bins concentrate human waste & litter
Wildlife Viewing
-All use areas


Trail design

Concentrates traffic flow
Shortest path; linear arrangement
Minimize switchbacks
Ease of travel


Site Hardening & Shielding: Trail Engineering

Trails are artificial
Engineering should not be avoided
Artificiality is the price for access.


Erosion, the #1 problem

Damage to wet or poorly drained areas
Out-sloping or crowning – sloping from center to sides


erosion solution 1

Drainage dips
short sections with grade opposite to trail grade
Prevent long continuous runs of water
Coarse material at the low point
Rock underdrain


erosion other solutions

Water bars (part of original trail construction)
Wood or stone
Oriented at an angle to slope and trail (usually 30o to 40o)
Divert water off the tread
Best placed at top of slope; prevents long downhill run.
Attention to where water is diverted
Frequent maintenance required to prevent bar from filling


Erosion steps solution

Oriented perpendicular to slope of trail
Slow water, hold soil in place
Culverts under trail keep water off trail.
Sediment Basins control deposition of debris
Bridges - avoiding damage at waterways.
Prevents churning and compaction of soils
Geocells – Cellular Confinement Systems
Building up trail bed
Wood corduroy or bedding in borders
Surfacing trails
Wood chips, gravel, paving on trails


final erosion solutions (2)

wetland paths


Camp Site Engineering

Surfacing areas of concentrated use
Increases durability of trails, camp & picnic areas.
Wood chips, gravel, paving
Minimizes compaction, improves drainage, avoids quagmires
Generally unacceptable in wilderness areas, (Is surfacing any less natural than barren, denuded, dusty or muddy areas?)


Camp Site Engineering: Shielding

Tent platforms, shelters
Tend to attract visitors
Impact is concentrated on protected areas
Great Smoky Mountain N. P.
Shelters receive 35% of backcountry use
Have 7% bare soil and 11% of intensive damage
Boat ramps - shield shorelines
Fire grates concentrate & confines impact
Toilets concentrates use
Pits, chemical toilet, composting toilet