3.5 Consider Environmental Protection
  • Assess the impacts of trail use on wildlife species, while considering the opportunities for wildlife viewing.

  • Avoid critical (and potentially dangerous) wildlife habitat areas, for example foraging areas, nesting sites, calving grounds, wintering areas, or denning sites. Consider seasonal movements and requirements of wildlife species. For example, bears and many other large mammals follow a seasonal round depending on food or cover available at different elevations.

  • Consider providing access to wildlife habitat or nest sites with a small spur trail, possibly in conjunction with a viewing station or blind located so as not to disturb the wildlife.

  • Avoid critical habitat of rare or fragile plant species. If there are fragile plant communities next to the trail, define the trail edges by using logs or rocks.

  • Avoid sensitive or fragile archaeological or historic sites.

  • Design trail widths to accommodate the expected number of users.

  • Widen trails at feature points, view sites or interpretive displays where use is expected to be more intense.

  • In low-lying wet areas, raise the trail tread with log stringers and wood chip fill or use boardwalks to cross standing water or wet organic soils. Avoid these wet area during trail flagging to minimize costly construction techniques.

  • Avoid trail routing that encourages users to take shortcuts where an easier route or interesting feature is visible. Use landforms or vegetation to block potential shortcut routes. Alter the shortcut route if it is superior to the original route.

  • Close shortcuts by obstructing access using rocks, branches, fallen trees or new plantings. Provide signs, for example advising users not to stray off the trails.

  • Use signs to explain why shortcuts should not be taken and request user cooperation.

  • Minimize the use of switchbacks in trail construction because users often tend to shortcut in these sections.