Trail (B)log

What does it cost to build a trail?

Trail Construction Cost Realities

by Margie Tatro, Reineke Construction (Albuquerque NM)

When a client asks us “What does it cost to build a trail?”, we say, “It depends.”  Then the dialogue begins regarding terrain, user groups, life cycle costs, amenities, soil types, and most importantly, who owns the risk for the project.   This dialogue elicits important information about the client’s vision, needs, requirements, constraints, and involvement in the project.  After this dialogue and a site visit, we furnish the client with a proposal including cost, schedule and performance elements for the client’s consideration.

A recent PTBA-sponsored Sustainable Trails Workshop in Portland, Oregon, held on May 20-21 provided the opportunity for participants to apply trail construction cost estimating principles to a real project within the City of Portland’s trail network.  The attendees considered cost categories of labor, materials, services, and overhead and examined the risks, assumptions and uncertainties associated with each cost category.  Several cautions or dangers such as generic “dollar per linear foot” quotes, “free” labor,  contractor safety records, equipment logistics, access, unknown field conditions, and weather were also discussed.

Cost estimates for the City of Portland trail construction project varied by more than 100% based on the participants’ assumptions, thus confirming the response to the question about what it costs to construct a trail — IT DEPENDS!  Land managers and trail developers are strongly encouraged to contact a qualified trail professional in their region for trail construction cost estimates. Click here to Find a Trail Contractor in your area.

Contact Us for more information.

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Pennsylvania Land and Water Conservation Conference


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“Universal Access Trails and Shared Use Paths” – New Release

Universal Access Trails and Shared Use Paths:  

Design, Management, Ethical, and Legal Considerations 


How can trail groups, local governments and land trusts responsibly plan, develop and operate trails that are accessible by all people, including those with limited mobility? What are best management practices? What is legally required? When is universal accessibility not appropriate?

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association has published a guide to address these questions. You can view or download it in PDF format via at


In summary, the 145-page manual:

  • Identifies which entities are legally bound by federal accessibility rules governing pedestrian trails and the ones being developed for shared use paths, and which entities should regard these rules as BMPs;
  • Provides an overview of accessibility laws, regulations, exceptions, and BMPs relating to trails, shared use paths, and other pedestrian routes;
  • Gives planning, design, and implementation guidance for developing trails and shared use paths that comply with accessibility standards and BMPs;
  • Shares practical ideas for developing policies and implementing practices in support of accessibility;
  • Reviews federal regulations governing Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices, which all entities must allow on their trails unless certain analysis finds otherwise, and suggests what organizations may do to manage these devices; and
  • Presents case studies highlighting successful trail projects that incorporate universal design.


This publication was authored for the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association by

Larry Knutson, of Penn Trails LLC and .Debra Wolf Goldstein, Esq. of Conservation Matters LLC.


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American Trails Webinar: Jan Hancock’s “Horses and Trails – How To Be Successful With Both!”

Hello everyone,

Check out this amazing webinar entitled “Horses and Trails – How To Be Successful With Both!” being given by Jan Hancock, Board member of American Trails on September 18! If you are interested in Equestrian Trails, don’t miss this one!

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2015 Sustainable Trails Conference joins with International Trail Symposium


The Sustainable Trails Conference will partner with the American Trails International Trails Symposium, in







Here are just a few of the great opportunities that the PTBA and American Trails are working on to make this THE conference for trails information, advocacy and hands-on training. The theme for the American Trails International Trails Symposium (ITS) this year is:

“Solutions for Success”
The PTBA is working on creating the following opportunities to address this theme and help provide a slate of solutions to address today’s trail building challenges.
♦  Sustainable Trails Workshops
A multitude of extended outdoor hands-on workshops will the be centerpiece of the PTBA’s partnership with American Trails. We will offer half-day to 2.5-day long workshops in local Portland parks. Topics may include, Accessible Trail Design and Construction, Trail Dozer Certification, Chainsaw Safety, Bridge Building, and many others.
♦  Legacy Trail
Partnering with American Trails and the City of Portland, we will use our outdoor workshops to create a finished trail project that we can leave behind as a legacy of the PTBA Sustainable Trails Workshops and the American Trails International Trails Symposium.
♦  PTBA Technical Track of Concurrent Sessions
  As a part of the International Trails Symposium, PTBA will develop a technical track of concurrent session (75 minutes) offered throughout the conference, on today’s most exciting topics in trail building. If you are engaged in putting trails in challenging environments and conditions, these will be must see sessions!

♦  PTBA’s Outdoor Trade Show and Demonstration Area
We are extremely excited to have found a wonderful, nearby site for our world famous Outdoor Trade Show and Demonstration Area. It is a 2 acre site within 100 meters of the doors of the Indoor Trade Show! This will provide amazing opportunities to try out the latest trail building tools, machines and other technologies.


Join your fellow trail builders and enthusiasts of all stripes in Portland, OR!


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Article on one of our newest members

Check out this great article on one of our newest members, Dirt Artisans! Very cool!kytrai1


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Call for Presentations – 2014 Sustainable Trails Conference

The PTBA Board of Directors is currently seeking high quality presentations for the 2014 Sustainable Trails Conference in West Virginia, from March 30 until April 5, 2014.

Stonewall Resort offers a very unique opportunity for outdoor, on-the-ground, digging-in-the-dirt, experiential learning opportunities.  We are seeking presentations in the following formats:

  • Concurrent Sessions – 75 minutes in length.  Primarily indoor, presentation style, with opportunities for brief outdoor forays
  • Mini-Workshops – 3 hours in length.  Opportunity for indoor presentation, followed up with outdoor, on-the-ground experiential work.  These work especially well visiting outdoor sites that are the result of our Pre-Conference Extended workshops.
  • Pre and Post Conference Extended Workshops – 1 to 3 days in length.  Extensive opportunity for outdoor, on-the-ground trail construction experience.

Click HERE for more information.

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Webinar: From the Driveway to the Trailhead – The Missing Link

Upcoming webinar “From the Driveway to the Trailhead – The Missing Link” – which is taking place Friday, August 30 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific. The presenter is American Trails Board member, Terry Whaley.

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Transportation Alternatives Program Webinar

August 28, 2013 — Webinar 4: Transportation Alternatives Program – Final Guidance and Qs & As

  • Online Webinar: 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST
  • “Final TAP Guidance and Qs & As” — Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) webinar series sponsored by the FHWA Office of Human Environment. Due to high demand, we added another webinar that will cover the same materials in the first webinar, Final TAP Guidance and Qs & As. Registration is required to participate in the webinar. The registration link is provided below. Space is limited; however each webinar will be recorded.
  • Info:


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Sustainable Trails For All Conference – Crotched Mountain, NH

Attached is an invitation to a conference that Peter S. Jensen & Associates is hosting in conjunction with Crotched Mountain Foundation entitled: “Sustainable Trails for All – With Trail Accessibility Guidelines.” The conference will be held on September 24 and 25, 2013 at Crotched Mountain Foundation in Greenfield, NH. Two years ago, Crotched Mountain opened two miles of sustainable, accessible trails that provide a model for others to follow. These trails will be a valuable resource for the conference.

With the upcoming release of the Federal Trail Accessibility Guidelines, trail builders, park administrators, land trusts, government officials and many others need to know how to build hiking trails that are sustainable and that provide access for everyone. This important conference will help you understand the guidelines and will provide an overview of the techniques and hands-on skills needed to build sustainable hiking trails that provide enjoyment for all. Whether you work with an existing trail or are contemplating a new trail, this conference is for you!

We would like to spread the word about this conference, so please share this invitation with your friends and colleagues who might be interested in attending. We are going to post this on the American Trails Web site and we are sharing this invitation with several land trusts, outdoor organizations and trail building organizations as well. Your help in spreading the word is greatly appreciated!

Please see the PDF for additional information and a registration form. We hope to see you in June.


Peter S. Jensen
Peter S. Jensen & Associates, LLC
P. O. Box 316, Great Barrington, MA 01230

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