Why Recreation Trails

hiker at Eagle Creek Trail, Oregon
lalunablue77-Flickr
Trails help people to get out to wilderness without having to do much planning. There is no need to chart your own course when you can follow the trail and see where it leads.

But keeping up our nation’s systems of hiking, skiing and other trails requires work and money. At Wilderness we work to ensure trails are well maintained and that visitors have great trail experiences.

Trails offer a variety of recreation opportunities

Trails are the way most people come to experience wilderness.

Not all trails are hiking trails. Trails come in different shapes and sizes:

  • Equestrian trails are for horseback riders and packing mules.
  • Mountain biking trails often have jumps and banked curves for cyclists.
  • Winter sports trails are designed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
  • Water trails on lakes and rivers cater to people using canoes, kayaks, rafts and stand up paddleboards.
  • Motorized trails are managed for off-road vehicle use.

Trails serve many purposes

In national forests alone, 50 million recreationists use trails each year. Trails on other federal lands, such as national parks, serve millions more.

Trails also help protect the surrounding wild lands by directing users toward established routes and away from pristine lands. This allows land managers to focus their maintenance efforts on the places that receive the highest use, which in turn helps agencies make the most of limited resources while protecting our lands.

Trails require work

It takes work and money to keep trails at their best. We work to keep trails open and we help land agencies make decisions that preserve high quality trail experiences. Our focus is on trails in national forests and on Bureau of Land Management lands.

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