In Michigan, the number and length of non-motorized trails are rapidly expanding, as both the public and community decision-makers discover the benefits trails provide to their quality of life, health and wellness, and property values. While there is financial assistance for the construction of trails available from private resources as well as state and national grants, there are limited resources for trail maintenance. Communities must carefully allocate maintenance resources to ensure sustainability of trail systems, provide a safe trail environment, and meet users’ expectations.
PURPOSE AND NATURE OF THIS MANUAL
The purpose of this Trail Maintenance Manual (Manual) is to assist park, recreation, and trail managers in developing a plan and budget for ongoing trail maintenance. It includes resources and samples to assist in the allocation of personnel and financial resources and determining trail maintenance efforts. It is not a recipe book providing step-by-step instructions on how to maintain your trail(s), as every community’s expectations and resources differ. It is, however, a manual that guides readers through the process of creating a trail maintenance program for hard surface trails. Hard surface trails include those paved with concrete, asphalt, or crushed limestone. Developing a trail maintenance plan and budget can be time-consuming and demanding, but the results should reduce overall personnel time spent on trail maintenance, while ensuring trail safety and user satisfaction.
This Manual does not address the development and construction of trails. There are high quality manuals and training resources available for construction of every type of trail (including paved, equestrian, hiking, motorized, etc.). A variety of existing resources are identified in Chapter 7 of this manual to help trail managers and maintenance personnel locate the appropriate assistance.
This is not a static document. As new information is developed or made available, mParks will provide updates to the Manual. If there are additional items that should be included in this document, please do not hesitate to contact mParks, so that we can make this manual the most complete and valuable reference document for your department.