Keeping Trails Open

Family hiking
Trails are among the best ways to experience the outdoors, but they need maintenance to ensure they remain in good condition and are available for people to use.

It’s difficult to care for all of them, so The Wilderness Society is working with partner groups to ensure that public lands and waters remain accessible.


Land management agencies, like the Forest Service, are primarily responsible for trail maintenance. However, there are hundreds of thousands of miles of trails on federal land, and the agencies do not have enough money or staff to maintain every mile of every trail each year.

Unfortunately, budget forecasts for the next few years suggest this problem will only get worse.

What we're doing

The Wilderness Society is working to address this problem in four major ways. First, we are pushing Congress to provide enough funding to land management agencies to allow them to address overdue maintenance issues and keep trails in good condition.

We are also establishing the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards program in the Appalachian region. This program provides volunteers with the skills they need to perform trail maintenance work and empowers them to help land managers keep trails open.

By helping to grow the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, we are also advancing these goals on a larger scale. This is an organization that builds the capacity of local and regional volunteer organizations that perform trail maintenance, particularly in designated wilderness areas.

Finally, we partner with Wilderness Volunteers to increase the their capacity to help maintain trails and other recreation facilities on public wild lands so that these facilities continue to provide high quality outdoor experiences.

See also:

Forest restoration
Conservation funding

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