Supporting quality trailbuilding since 1976
Founded in 1976 as the Western Trailbuilders Association and renamed in 2004, the Professional Trailbuilders Association (PTBA) is North America’s largest private sector group of trail specialists, professional trail contractors, designers, and consultants.
All of PTBA’s activities support quality trail design, construction, and maintenance for all types of trails in all types of locations. In its early years, PTBA served to define and nurture a new industry—private trail contracting for the federal government, primarily the USDA Forest Service. This was quite successful, and PTBA enjoys respect and a good reputation from federal agencies.
Now, with the ongoing loss of federal trail expertise through retirement and ever-increasing trail and greenway work in state, county, municipal, and special district governments, non-profits, and private landowners, PTBA’s services have grown to include the activities listed in the box at left.
Member information lists members by name, location, and expertise, including trail training. You can also view photos of sample projects.
PTBA’s Primary Activities
- Promoting professional trail contracting and consulting as cost-effective ways to design, build, and maintain high-quality trails;
- Establishing the importance of sustainable trails realized through skillful trail design, construction, and maintenance;
- Helping trail contractors improve skills and abilities;
- Marketing the services of members to federal, state, and local governments, special districts, non-profit organizations, and private landowners;
- Providing networking opportunities between members and with the wider world;
- Serving as the organized voice of private trail contractors with governments and other organizations; and
- Hosting the annual, national-level Sustainable Trails Conference to further the above goals.
Wide range of skills for all types of trails
PTBA members have well over 200 years of collective experience in the specialized skills of trail design, construction, and maintenance. From most of the Pacific Crest Trail to urban bike paths, from remote wilderness trails to busy frontcountry OHV trails, from city parks to regional open space systems, and from golf courses to subdivisions, PTBA contractor members have built countless trails and trail facilities.
Trail design, design-build, consulting, and training in trail design, maintenance, and construction are also becoming more frequent activities for members.
Sustainable Trails Conference
PTBA’s annual Sustainable Trails Conference is the only national conference dedicated exclusively to trail design, construction, and maintenance. The Sustainable Trails Conference unites land managers, trail workers, and trail contractors nationwide for three days of informative sessions and a Trailbuilders Trade Show.
PTBA also maintains ever-growing information resources in this website. Info on trail contracting, trail book reviews, sources for trail equipment and supplies, links to other agencies and information, and even a list of trail workers seeking jobs and trail jobs available.
Partnerships and collaborations
PTBA is a founding partner of the National Trails Training Partnership and maintains close relations with American Trails.
PTBA members are limited to private-sector sole proprietorships, partnerships, or corporations generating income from trail design, trail construction, or related activities. To ensure that all members are professional-level trail contractors, new members must be sponsored by an existing member. Our membership is small because PTBA stands for quality over quantity—maintaining a high level of professionalism in our members helps continue PTBA’s excellent reputation.
Associate Members are contractors that have applied for PTBA membership by appearing in person at PTBA’s annual Business Meeting for a personal interview, but have been deemed by the membership to lack sufficient experience to become a full member. Associate Members become Full Members if and when they return to appear in person at a Business Meeting and can demonstrate addtional experience in the areas that were originally found lacking. They must return within the first three years of becoming Associate members in order to become full members. After 3 years the company must reapply for membership.