8.7 Upgrade the Trail

Assess the Need for Upgrading

  • Use the Limits of Acceptable Change (L.A.C.) approach to manage existing trails. Consider management actions to improve the trail:

    - increase environmental carrying capacity and decrease the impact on natural or cultural heritage resources,

    - harden existing trails and campsites, rehabilitate disturbed areas,

    - expand the trail capacity to accommodate existing and near term projected use,

    - consider use management once trails and facilities are used to capacity.

    - upgrade the trail where required to accommodate existing and projected use,

    - in backcountry areas, reduce water contamination risks by upgrading capacity of toilets and installing grey water disposal where appropriate,

    - provide information on wildlife/human conflicts and avoid uses that adversely impact wildlife,

    - provide improved unobtrusive signs where necessary to educate users on sensitive sections of the trail or to avoid rehabilitation areas,

    - provide improved public information on resource protection, and by avoiding use and sites that adversely impact resources.
Maintain User Satisfaction
  • Plan for a maximum number of trail users consistent with acceptable predicted changes to the environment and recreational experience.

  • Assess the need to place limits on party size to reflect limits of acceptable change to the environment and recreation satisfaction.

  • Continue education on low impact camping and hiking methods.

  • Ensure visitors know what level of use to expect on the trail, and suggest ways to avoid high use, such as travelling in the off-season.

  • Consider use management when demand exceeds the desired management objectives.
Upgrade the Trail with Proven Techniques

Routine trail maintenance is outlined in the Trail Maintenance section. Trail upgrading includes tasks required to raise the standard of a trail or re-build worn out portions. These deal with the common problems of muddy and braided sites resulting from poor drainage, creek or depressed area crossings, trail sections on steep loose fluvial gravels or colluvium, trail sections over boulders and rough terrain, or steep slopes where drainage runs along the trail surface. Consider 7 main types of typical trail upgrading:

1. Fill deeply trenched trail areas to grade, keep existing preferred alignment rehabilitate braids as needed,

2. Widen the clearing or trail tread,

3. Raise the trail above grade with fill, where wet conditions persist,- rehabilitate braids at grade as required,

4. Suspend the trail above grade with boardwalk, where wet conditions persist,

5. Reroute the trail to better alignment with better drainage and grades.

6. Construct water bars and drainage ditches to alleviate trail erosion,

7. Construct bridges over creeks,

Prepare a trail upgrading and maintenance log as shown in the example from Chilkoot Trail:

Upgrading and Maintenance Log: Chilkoot Trail

.65-.80 Alluvial Fan, See photos 7319, 73132.

- Place additional flat rocks at spacing that is comfortable to walk on; this should help reduce braiding.
- Annual maintenance required due to water flow.
- Consider low profile signs here or at Stone Crib to encourage hikers to stay on trail.

.80-1.60 Moraines, See photo 73140.

- Repair minor poorly drained sites with local fill.
- Assess need for additional rock cairns.
- Close one of trail braids, see photo 73140.

1.60-1.90 Large fan and meadow, See photos 73159, 73162.

- Place additional flat rocks as required to make walking comfortable.
- Place additional large rocks at creek crossing(s) to avoid braiding resulting from hikers looking for a crossing point.


- Place additional rock cairns in this section.

2.65-4.50 Crater Lake-Morrow Lake, See photos 73208, 73249, 73257,

- Place additional flat rocks to define trail and reduce braiding; existing rock spacing is awkward to walk on.
- Place large rocks at braiding intersections to discourage use of alternate routes (Photo 73208)
- Place large rocks at small creek crossing to discourage hikers from seeking alternate crossing points. Crossing below Morrow Lake needs attention.
- Place additional rock cairns along section where trail follows creek course.
- Set large rocks as required to facilitate easier walking in rough creek course sections.